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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Planned giving on the rise

More Americans are taking advantage of planned giving, says a survey from the American Council on Gift Annuities. Planned giving, a way to ensure a charity receives a donation when you die, offers added benefits: Donors can get a tax deduction, receive interest and avoid some capital gains taxes.

The increase in such gifts comes as nonprofit organizations--other than religious institutions and colleges--develop their own planned giving opportunities. It also helps that many donors, some with lower incomes, are seeing their stock portfolios grow.

The ELCA Foundation says more of its charitable gift annuities are made up of stock and securities. The number rose from 16 percent to 26 percent during 1994 to 1999. The annual number of these annuities increased from 310 gifts with an average size of $18,991 to 401 gifts with an average size of $27,729.

Charitable gift annuities are popular, says Kristin Carlson Vogen, the Foundation's associate director for planned giving, because "donors like receiving a fixed dollar amount every year for the rest of their lives while benefiting the charity or, in our case, the ministries they love." Many give cash or a low-income producing stock and receive an increase in the interest they receive--up to 12 percent.

"We're trying to educate people that there are gifts they can make beyond annual gifts, even gifts where they can receive payments back on what they've given," she says. "For some people planned giving makes economic sense--more importantly, it's ministry."


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