Westmont Magazine Planning a Financially Fit Future

Bob Freelove and Kati Buehler of the Office of Gift Planning

Bob Freelove sees himself as a personal trainer designing fitness plans that help people get their estates in shape financially. The new director of gift planning, he has accumulated years of experience working with donors who desire to leave a distinctive legacy. “I strive to simplify what often seems overwhelming by listening carefully to what they want and offering only the most appropriate solutions,” he says. “When people see how their families benefit while supporting charities that reflect their personal values, they have peace of mind about their financial affairs.”

Bob and his new associate director, Kati Buehler, come well equipped to advise Westmont donors. Both have strong backgrounds in financial planning, and Bob spent three years working with President Gayle Beebe as the executive director of the Spring Arbor University Foundation. “Gayle’s a dynamic leader, and I wanted to be a part of his team at Westmont,” Bob says. “His vision for preparing graduates who can change the world for Christ appeals to my pioneering nature.”

To illustrate how donors can support this mission and improve their financial health at the same time, Bob tells the story of an elderly couple saddled with a rental property 800 miles from their home. They enjoyed the monthly income but no longer wanted to deal with tenants so far away. Selling the property posed a significant tax problem, so Bob suggested they give it to the university and avoid paying capital gains on the appreciation of $186,000. When they happily agreed, Spring Arbor sold the property and placed the proceeds in a charitable gift annuity that paid them $121 more per month than they had received in rent. They also enjoyed a sizable charitable deduction over four years.

“What pleased them most was devoting the proceeds remaining after their deaths to establishing an endowed scholarship for students preparing for full-time ministry,” Bob says.

Before accepting the position at Spring Arbor, Bob spent 28 years in the financial services business. He worked as a marketing and practice management consultant, specializing in assisting financial service professionals who advise seniors. Previously, he did training, marketing and management consulting for some of the nation’s leading financial services organizations.

Kati also brings experience, knowledge and passion to Westmont. During the last decade, she has been a financial adviser, a certified financial planner and a specialist in donor relations for a non-profit organization in Santa Barbara. “My professional experiences have provided the opportunity to work with many different people in planning and executing investments to meet retirement and estate goals,” she says.

Born in Ecuador, Kati speaks Spanish fluently. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and earned a master’s degree at CSU Sacramento. Her varied career includes seven years as a manager and advocate in industry affairs in Sacramento. She has also been involved in the various Presbyterian churches her husband, Peter, has served as a pastor.

“Working on the gift planning team is so rewarding,” Kati says. “We can help alumni and friends of Westmont find ways to give generously to the college while receiving an annual income or providing funds for other loved ones. With the various charitable giving options now available, people can be more generous than they ever thought was possible. How exciting it is to encourage giving by God’s people!”