You are successful if you are able to give others a sense of well-being.Bruce McManus
Bruce McManus, the PCF INSPIRE Award Champion for 2020, started his professional life as a petroleum engineer in Caracas, Venezuela. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way he expected. With his high school sweetheart and wife, Audrey, expecting their second child, Bruce had to come up with a plan … and fast.
Bruce asked his father, an attorney in Belleair Bluffs, if he could join the practice if he went to law school. Bruce’s father liked the idea, and in 1965, Bruce started his career as an attorney. His decision to change careers impacted more than his professional and family life; it helped change Largo’s landscape.
Fostering a Great Place to Live and Work
“Early on, I recognized that the mayor, the city council, the Largo Chamber of Commerce, the Largo Parks and Recreation Department, and many businesspeople were ready and willing to make Largo a great place to live and work,” said Bruce.
For example, a man named Bob Cotter led Largo’s award-winning high school band called the Band of Gold, where Bruce’s three children learned to play music. Bob taught more than music; he taught the kids to be punctual, dress appropriately, and build friendships. Bruce was so inspired by what Bob Cotter did for the community that he decided to find a way to help support Bob’s work.
The Impact of Asking Giving People
It started with a simple question. When sitting with a client preparing an estate plan, Bruce began asking:
“Have you thought about leaving something to charity?”
Initially, he was hesitant to ask the question. However, Bruce soon found whenever he helped prepare a client’s estate plan, he had the opportunity to make a significant difference for the community. Bruce’s simple inquiry facilitated the building of Largo’s most popular attractions:
- The Performing Arts Center in Largo’s Central Park made possible through the Marian Tonne fund held at the Pinellas Community Foundation.
- The beautiful Largo Library and the Clock Tower (that has since been removed) in Central Park were included in Priscilla Rugg’s planned giving.
- UF Extension Center’s Sustainability Program located at Florida Botanical Garden (adjacent to Heritage Village) was initiated through the Bushnell charitable bequest to the University of Florida Charitable Foundation.
- The rebuilding of City Hall in Belleair Bluffs was initiated with incentive funds from the Dorothy Howard estate.
A Family Business
Working with his father, Bruce learned the benefit he brought to the family’s practice. Today, this work is reinforced by the support he receives from his children and grandchildren. Through introductions into the practice at different times, McManus & McManus, P.A. grew to include Bruce’s daughters, Laurie and Mary, and granddaughter, Danielle.
Bruce’s influence and something he taught to his family can be seen in the simple question, “Have you thought about leaving something to charity