Westmont Magazine 'Tis the Season...
by Iva Hillegas Schatz, Director of Planned Giving
Each year is going to be different, we say. We’re not going to let the hope of advent and the celebration of the birth of Christ get lost in the busyness of “the season.”
As we all know, it’s not always easy to keep our hearts and our heads focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Giving rather than receiving gets easier as we get older, especially when we can’t think of anything we really need. But let’s face it, this is a very demanding time of year.
One challenge is what to give and whom to give it to. I’m not referring to our family members and close friends, but rather to the causes we believe in. There is no lack of worthy charities asking for our support. Our mailboxes will soon be overflowing with creative solicitations—some with an emotional appeal, others with a more dollars-and-cents approach to why we should support their cause.
What is a thoughtful, caring Christian to do?
Let me share three real scenarios from our Westmont family that may help the rest of us in our search for peace and joy before year end.
1. Who will get my support this year? One alum suggests that you decide this before you start opening envelopes, being moved by the first paragraph, and then feeling guilty if you toss the appeal in the wastebasket. Once you have determined “to whom” and “how much” you want to give, you can either be proactive and send in your gift or wait for their appeal letter to arrive. Many charities, including Westmont, provide the opportunity to give using your credit card. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an alternative to writing a check.
2. Should I give cash or long-term, appreciated securities? Last year several members of our Westmont family decided to donate shares of stock instead of cash. By giving from their assets instead of their current income, they were able to avoid some capital gains taxes and make a more effective gift. Again, it’s not for everyone, but for some of us it may be the prudent way to give.
3. Can I set up a legacy gift for Westmont before the end of the year? How about one that provides a life income for me? Yes, and yes. You can do this at anytime, but we have been able to assist donors who wish to make arrangements and transfer cash or other assets before the end of the year for tax reasons. The simplest life-income gift to arrange is a gift annuity. It is a one-page agreement, and we can even supply you with information about rates and annuity payments over the phone. If you’re over 50, this may fit your needs now and ultimately help Westmont.
As we approach the wonderful yet busy season ahead, we wish you added peace and joy as you listen to both your heart and your head in the planning of your charitable giving—and don’t forget to include your professional advisers in the process.
If you wish to make a gift to Westmont using appreciated assets, you can contact Mary Dombek, director of donor services, at (805) 565-6056 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on a gift that provides a life income, you can reach Iva Schatz, director of planned giving, at 805/565-6034 or by e-mail at email@example.com.