11 Nov Make a Lasting Gift
By Bob Stephens
In recent years I’ve become more responsive to pleas for help, financial or otherwise. Perhaps, one reason for my more receptive heart is having passed the “three score and ten” threshold, or maybe it’s having the passage in Matthew 25 replaying in my mind countless times. I’m blessed to live in a comfortable house (howbeit a villa), with ample food, reasonably good health, and basking in the grace and mercy of a loving heavenly Father.
You no doubt recall the parable Jesus shared in Matthew 25 concerning helping the less fortunate with the basic necessities of life. “…Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling you the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.’” MSG. I must say that parable haunts me. I would never turn my back on Jesus, my Savior. I would provide whatever was needed. But now, it’s like I see him whenever a genuine need for the necessities of life arises.
One of the greatest opportunities for us to provide for the very survival of the “overlooked or ignored”, or “one of the least of the these” KJV, is through Mission UpReach. My wife and I have supported MUR since its inception through regular giving and more recently, a planned gift.
Each of you give regularly to Mission UpReach and look forward to reading the impact that your donations are having on this life-saving and life-shaping ministry. However, I want to share with you, from personal experience, some suggestions on other ways to make an even greater difference. Planned giving opportunities provide numerous ways to compound and grow our support to this most rewarding mission.
I’ve seen first-hand the impact of planned gifts. During my 29-year tenure at a Christian affiliated university, which concluded in serving as president (basically a fancy title for a fund raiser), we were recipients of countless planned gifts. These gifts came in many forms, which I’ll describe later in this article. But each had one thing in common: they made a significant difference in the lives of our students.
I left the university in 2005 and accepted the presidency of one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in my home state. This foundation was established by an estate gift from a family who wanted their legacy of giving and impacting the lives of others to extend beyond their lifetime. I’m sold on planned giving because I have seen first-hand what it can accomplish.
Planned giving comes in many different forms and can provide tax write offs, the avoidance of capital gain taxes on appreciated assets, and potential income to the donor. In our situation, we avoided capital gains on appreciated stock and received a nice charitable deduction toward our income tax while at the same time benefitting Mission UpReach. It was a true “win – win”. Following are some of the more popular planned giving instruments in which you might consider partnering with Mission UpReach.
BEQUEST – A bequest is a gift made by naming Mission UpReach in your will. You can provide a child’s portion or name a specific amount that would be distributed after your death.
LIFE INSURANCE – Simply purchase a life insurance policy naming Mission UpReach as the beneficiary.
CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY – This instrument can provide you income for life with the possibility of eliminating capital gains tax when you donate appreciated assets, such as stock. With a charitable gift annuity, you have the potential to take a partial income tax deduction when you fund the annuity. Part of your gift will be used by Mission UpReach immediately and part of the gift is set aside in a reserve account to be invested to support your future income payments.
CHARITABLE REMAINDER TRUST – The CRT is similar to the CGA in benefits to the donor with the difference being you receive income for life or a certain period but, at the conclusion, the remainder of the trust would be distributed to Mission UpReach.
DONOR ADVISED FUND – A donor-advised fund is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a public charity (such as a community foundation) created to manage charitable donations on your behalf. To participate in a donor-advised fund, you open an account in the fund and deposit cash, securities, or other financial assets. This is another way to avoid capital gains on appreciated assets and potentially receive a charitable tax deduction. You surrender ownership of anything you put in the fund, but make decisions concerning gifts to your preferred charities, in our situation, Mission UpReach. At your death the remaining funds go to your prior specified charity.
These are just some of the more popular planned giving options that can be used to benefit you and Mission UpReach. For your specific situation, seek advice from a qualified attorney or your financial advisor.
There are so many ways that you can, and have, supported Mission UpReach in its life-altering work among the most vulnerable in Honduras. We know that God will bless all our efforts as we partner together to make a difference one life at a time. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt. 6:21 NIV
Dr. Robert Stephens, Retired President of the Bernard McDonough Foundation and Ohio Valley University
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