The Giving Season Is a Great Time to Establish Your Charitable Legacy

Posted December 2020

December is known as the “giving season,” the month when many families exchange gifts and when many charities receive as many gifts as the rest of the year combined. It is a time when many of us who are a bit older turn to thoughts about our legacy, including our charitable legacy, and actually take action on beginning to establish that legacy.

One way to think about our legacy is to think about the virtues that we are passing on to our loved ones and the people around us: We want to be known, for instance, as generous, friendly, honest, loyal, and having a delightful sense of humor.

But your legacy is broader than virtues. It also includes the wealth you leave to others. That is why a bequest to a charity is referred to as a legacy—especially if it is to create something lasting, such as an endowment, a building, or a program.

In the broadest sense, a legacy is whatever you leave behind. With reference to accomplishments, it might be the inventions of Edison, the literary works of Shakespeare, or a company that you may have founded. With reference to character, it might be the kindness of Mr. Rogers or the sacrificial love of Mother Theresa.

With reference to money, your legacy may have a tremendous positive effect. For instance, you may fund a scholarship that does not merely help particular students complete their degrees but also helps all who will later be served by those students throughout their careers. Your gift for medical research not only funds the investigations of certain scientists but also helps those who may be cured through those scientific discoveries. A legacy gift is like throwing a stone into a pond: the ripples fan out in all directions.

As you reflect during this giving season on the kinds of legacies you will leave, take pride in your achievements, take satisfaction in the positive ways you are influencing family and friends, and receive our thanks for your gifts that will make a lasting difference to our organization and other charities.

If you have been thinking of creating a legacy at our organization, possibly by establishing a permanent named fund, we would be pleased to meet with you and discuss ways to do this that would be financially feasible for you—and also immensely satisfying.

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