Reading Into the Future: A Legacy Gift Conversation with Dave and Barb Malson

Reading is not just a diversion, but a true passion for Dave and Barb Malson. A favorite book of Dave’s is The Firm by John Grisham. In it the protagonist, Mitch McDeere, joins a large law firm in order to provide a financially stable life for his family. When he discovers that his employer is not honorable, he forces himself to make a choice – the money or his morals. He leaves behind the big paycheck and perks to take a position in a small firm – one that doesn’t conflict with his values.


As the former proprietor of his own firm, it’s no doubt Dave sees himself in Grisham’s character. And with good reason.


Faith in God, honesty and loyalty are the values Dave holds dear and are echoed by his wife of 35 years, Barb. Natives of Rush County, Dave from Rushville and Barb from Milroy, they have worked hard both in and for their community.


After finishing undergraduate studies at Indiana University, Dave completed his law degree at the IU School of Law in Indianapolis. During law school and the early years of his law practice, he served for 7 ½ years in the Air Force Reserve. Barb graduated from Indiana Business College. Between them, they worked 90 years in the legal field.


Both are retired but only in the sense that they no longer receive paychecks. Their volunteer work keeps them quite busy. In addition to serving on the RCCF board of directors, Dave has been on the boards of the Public Defender, Boys & Girls Club and Rushville Parks. Barb is active with a local PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) chapter. Both are involved with literacy efforts and prior to the pandemic, read with 3rd graders at the elementary schools weekly. They’re looking forward to the day when they can safely return.


Their love of reading and kids led them to establish the David and Barbara Malson Kindergarten Book Pass Through Fund at RCCF. This fund gifts $10 worth of individually-selected books to each kindergarten student at the end of the year. These books belong to the children, inscribed with their names and the Malson’s, to keep forever. The day the books are given out is filled with wide eyes, “thanks yous” and many smiles. Next to the engagement ring he gave to Barb, Dave counts these as the best gifts he’s ever given.


They have also established the David and Barbara Malson Indiana University Scholarship Fund at RCCF. Dave explained, “We want to assist young people to educate themselves after high school. They need that training to be successful.” Each year a $1000 scholarship is awarded to two Rush County students, an incoming freshman and a senior, at IU. These awards are given to the students who have the most financial need. Dave admits, “They might not be able to do it on their own. This will give them an extra boost.”


It’s clear that for Dave the college experience is just as important as the education. His eyes light up nearly as much when he speaks about Bloomington as they do when he talks about Barb. As diehard fans of IU football and basketball and season ticket holders, they visit often. If you’re curious about the best restaurants and lodging in Bloomington, they are more than happy to oblige.


From kindergarten through college, the Malsons make sure that Rush County youth have access to the support they need to succeed in life. They’ve extended that commitment to after their lives, too. Dave and Barb have included RCCF in their estate plans. By making simple provisions in their wills, their charitable dreams will live on through their legacy gift to RCCF.


We could’ve done our giving through IU but felt RCCF had an established and well-organized plan for estate gifts,” Dave said. “They are very responsive in investment strategies. Plus, Rush County is a nice place to live and and has been good to us.”


Legacy gift options are as varied the books on the Malson’s shelves. We can help you take care of your loved ones and your community, too. Learn more or set up a meeting with us by visiting our legacy giving page.


Wondering which title tops Barb’s list of favorite books? Under the Tuscan Sun, she shared with a smile. “It’s about all of the things I love – travel, gardening, food, architecture and romance.”


Memories, education and experiences are what mean most to the Malsons. Their generosity provides others the chances to find joy and value in these opportunities, too.


Think about what in our community matters most to you and consider making a legacy gift to ensure it lasts.

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