Planned Gifts

Ensure the future of people with disabilities by making a planned gift to OPTIONS and helping provide them with the best quality of life for years to come.

OPTIONS Legacy Society

OPTIONS Legacy Society is a Planned Giving Program to ensure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the best quality of life in the future.

By making a planned gift to OPTIONS, you will become a member of the OPTIONS Legacy Society.

Donations by will have been widely used for centuries to distribute to charities some or all of a donor’s remaining assets upon his or her death.

Donors sometimes hesitate to make a substantial donation of cash, land, or other property during their lives because they are concerned they might unintentionally deplete assets that they will need later in their lives.

A gift by will—a will being something that they can change at any time—avoids this concern.

What is Planned Giving?

Planned Giving is a critical tool for OPTIONS to maintain the long term sustainability of premier care for people with disabilities. Planned gifts include:

These gifts lead to exponential growth and much needed financial support both large and small to support people with disabilities.

How do I make a Planned Gift?

The first step when considering a Planned Gift to benefit OPTIONS is to look at the many possibilities that are available. Each gift is important to the future of OPTIONS and will be deeply appreciated.


Cash.The most common type of gift. It is fast, simple, tax-deductible.
Assets. Gifts made in the form of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.
Real Estate. Gifts of a house, land, a building, rental property, etc.


OPTIONS is made beneficiary of a new or “paid-up” policy.


Make OPTIONS a remainder beneficiary.


Name OPTIONS as the beneficiary of an IRA or 401(K)
To learn more about Planned Giving please join us for an OPTIONS Planned Giving Presentation or by contacting Casey Rudolph at 985.345.6269 x 119 or

If You Have A Loved One with Disabilities

Retirement plans have their own planning considerations which may be different if your beneficiary is an adult child with disabilities.

Adults with disabilities who are named as beneficiaries of retirement plans or IRAs may become ineligible for government assistance programs, including SSI and Medicaid, after their parents’ deaths.

If your primary assets are in retirement plans and you will need to use all or some of these assets to support your loved one after your lifetime, it’s important to work with your attorney to determine the best and correct way to transfer these assets.

Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust, sometimes called a supplemental needs trust, holds assets for a beneficiary with disabilities in order to supplement the beneficiary’s income without impacting eligibility to receive other benefits.

Depending on the type of Special Needs Trust, you may be able to name OPTIONS as a remainder beneficiary of the trust.

OPTIONS would only receive funds remaining, if any, after the individual beneficiary’s lifetime. Please discuss this with your attorney to determine if this may be right for you.

Have you already made a

Planned Gift to OPTIONS?

Please let us know if you’ve included a gift for OPTIONS in your will, trust, or by beneficiary designation. Providing us with documentation is the best way to ensure that your gift is used in the way you intend.

Please send confirmation to Casey Rudolph at:

Shannon Trautman

Shannon Trautman

Shannon Trautman: Shannon joined the OPTIONS team in 2019.  She holds a degree in Music Therapy from Loyola University and a Master’s degree in Education Counseling from Southeastern Louisiana University.  She has worked with people with intellectual disabilities since she was in high school in the ’70s!  Shannon loves to help our participants share the gifts they have that add value to others.

Andrea Gousman

Andrea Gousman

Andrea Gousman: Andrea is a graduate from Tulane University where she received a Bachelors of Art in Social Sciences. She has been a part of the OPTIONS team since 2011. She began her career in case management in 2007. Andrea enjoys working with families to help them navigate the complexities of provider and waiver services. Her goal is to ensure every participant is able to receive the premier services that they deserve and desire.

Jamie Guidry

Jamie Guidry

Jamie Guidry: Jamie joined OPTIONS in 2019. She holds a degree in Accounting from Southeastern. She has worked in the non-profit industry serving the elderly and disabled for over seventeen years. Jamie’s focus is to continue to serve this community and assure that these citizens are provided the best services available by striving to improve the financial health of our agency.

Jennifer Carona

Jennifer Carona

Jennifer Carona: Jennifer joined the OPTIONS team in 2021. She is a native of Independence, Louisiana. Jennifer received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2004 and a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner in 2020 from Herzing University. She is a Licensed Registered Nurse, Licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Jennifer’s focus is to ensure that OPTIONS participants receive high quality healthcare so that they may live and flourish in their community to the best of their abilities.

Sharon Jacob

Sharon Jacob

Sharon Jacob: Sharon Jacob is a graduate of Coastal College where she studied Business Management in 1990.  She is a native of Hammond, LA. with over 30 years of experience in Business Management.  She has served in her role as the Director of Transportation since 2013. Sharon loves that OPTIONS has granted her the opportunity to do what she loves, transport and support people with disabilities, so they can live their dreams in our community. 

Steve Leon 2

Steve Leon

Steve Leon: Steve joined the OPTIONS team in 2010. He is from Metairie and moved to Hammond in 1974 to attend Southeastern Louisiana University. He graduated with a Master’s degree in 1979 and worked for Southeastern for over 30 years as an administrator in Student and Business services before coming to OPTIONS.  Steve is also a City Councilman for Hammond, La.  Steve has been very active in the community throughout his career. His primary focus at OPTIONS is property management, operations, logistics and whatever else needs to be done!

Michelle Carruthers

Michelle Carruthers

Michelle Carruthers: Michelle received her BA in Psychology from UNC Greensboro and her M.Ed. in Counseling from Southeastern Louisiana University.  For over a decade, Michelle has provided services to individuals with disabilities and their families. She joined the OPTIONS team in 2021 and continues her passion for empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is committed to helping OPTIONS participants lead fulfilling lives and accomplish their goals, whether it’s participating in their community, living independently, or finding meaningful work.

Dione Branch

Dione Branch

Dione Branch:Joining in 2020, Dione found OPTIONS’s dynamic culture to be a welcoming and supportive environment. As a credentialed SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), she actively engages at both the national level with SHRM and locally with NSHRM. An alumna of the University of New Orleans, Dione holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management specializing in Human Resources and an MBA with a focus on Healthcare Management. Within our HR department, our core commitment is to ensure that every employee receives the same level of support as the individuals we serve, fostering a culture of unity and shared purpose.

Alexis Sterling

Alexis Sterling

Alexis Sterling: Alexis is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University. She holds a degree in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Family Studies. Alexis began working at OPTIONS in 2016 and she enjoys coordinating fun activities for the participants year round. She shares her passion for OPTIONS by inspiring community members to get involved, volunteer, and make a difference in their community.

Casey Rudolph

Casey Rudolph

Casey Rudolph: Casey is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University where she studied Psychology. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, a graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s Development Fellowship Class of 2022, and is a member of Leadership Tangipahoa’s Class of 2024.  Casey began working with people with disabilities in 2014 and joined the OPTIONS family in 2020. She loves highlighting the stories of OPTIONS participants, fundraising to ensure the sustainability of our organization, and inspiring others to support our mission.

Sylvia Easter 2020

Sylvia Bush

Sylvia Bush: For over 40 years, Sylvia has been advocating and helping create quality community services for people with disabilities.  She served as OPTIONS President and CEO from 1979 until 2021. She was appointed President Emeritus by the Board of Directors in 2022. She continues to demonstrate her heart of service and her steadfast commitment by volunteering at OPTIONS on a weekly basis. 

Carrie Mercke

Carrie Mercke

Carrie Mercke: Carrie joined the OPTIONS team in 2009.  She is a Ponchatoula native, and holds a degree in Psychology from Southeastern and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Louisville.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor.  Carrie’s focus is to build upon the legacy of our founding families through advocating for a more inclusive community for people with disabilities. 

Download our employee handbook 2020