As a new year begins, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation invites you to plan for your future and for your legacy.
Some of you had the opportunity to be honored at our December Holiday Breakfast where we highlighted the contributions of the members of our Society for Redefining Vision and our Lighthouse Legacy Society. As President of Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation Board, I am always pleased to be part of events like this where I can gather with our donors to talk about the work their support makes possible. Charitable giving is a critical component of the Lighthouse’s ability to create jobs, independence, and empowerment for individuals who are blind, Deaf-Blind, or blind with other disabilities.
Some of you might be making that work possible through generous annual donations. Members of our Legacy Society are also making a commitment to ensure that the Lighthouse can serve its mission in the future. The Legacy Society is made up of individuals who have named the Lighthouse as a beneficiary in their estate plans, most often by including the organization in their will.
A contribution in a will, called a Bequest, is one of the simplest ways to make a gift for the future. Simply establishing a will in the first place is a responsible step. According to a May 2012 poll by the American Association of Retired People (AARP), 41 percent of people in the U.S. born between 1946 and 1964 do not have wills — and for people 34 and under, the percentage of people who don’t have wills jumps to 71 percent. Having a will provides clear directions on the allocation of your assets to your family and heirs. Furthermore, naming an organization like the Lighthouse in your will can also provide tax advantages while making sure a portion of your assets benefit a charitable mission you believe in.
Another type of planned gift is a Charitable Gift Annuity. A gift annuity is a contract under which a nonprofit organization, in return for a transfer of cash or other property, agrees to pay a stream of income to the annuitant at an interest rate that is determined by the annuitant’s age. Not all organizations are set up to administer annuities and the rate of return to the annuitant can be very attractive in today’s financial markets. The Lighthouse manages annuities in partnership with The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.
There are other tools that can be used, such as various Charitable Trusts (Remainder Trusts and Lead Trusts) which can also be beneficial, depending on your financial situation.
The newest members of our Legacy Society are Dave and Andria Garten. Dave is Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation Vice President and is Chair of our Major Gifts and Planned Giving Committee. Dave is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer with Northern Trust. The planned giving tools described above are part what he encounters regularly in his professional work. He will be offering a free overview of planned giving in February with a special emphasis on Charitable Gift Annuities, which you are invited to attend. Details are below on Planning Your Financial Future in Uncertain Times. If you are a current donor to the Lighthouse — or even if you have already named the Lighthouse in your will — I encourage you to attend in order to learn about the Charitable Gift Annuity option.
In the AARP poll I referenced, the top reasons people mentioned for not having a will were “procrastination” and the feeling that a will is “unnecessary.” If you’ve been putting off establishing a planned giving option, hopefully reading this letter is the first step to prompt you to action. I hope this has also led you to see why such tools are necessary. Having an estate plan in place now makes a lot of sense for everyone, and by including a charitable gift in your plan, you can make a meaningful impact with your personal legacy.
Planning Your Financial Future in Uncertain Times
By David Garten CFP®, Sr. Vice President & Sr. Trust Officer, Northern Trust and Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation Vice President
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
10:30 a.m. to Noon (optional tour of Seattle Lighthouse)
Noon to 1:30 p.m. (Lunch and Presentation)
To RSVP, visit www.redefiningvision.org, or contact Kirk Laughlin from our Development team at 206-436-2253 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you can join us in February. Thank you for your support of the Lighthouse and our mission.
Board President, Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind Foundation