NCPG President's Corner
The Journal of Gift Planning®, Vol. 6, No. 3, 3rd Quarter 2002

BY JONATHAN D. ACKERMAN

LEAVE A LEGACY™ update. As gift planning professionals, we know that on one end of the planning spectrum is a charitable designation in a will or trust. On the other end is an array of sophisticated planning vehicles with fancy acronyms and varying degrees of complexity that take into account the charitable, financial, tax and estate planning desires of a potential donor. On both ends of the spectrum, the goal is to fulfill a variety of the donor's needs, especially the philanthropic need.

In practice, it is much more common for a donor to create a charitable bequest than to implement a sophisticated plan. However, it is believed that less than 6% of all Americans leave a charitable legacy in their wills, and it is a fact that only 17% of all estate tax returns filed in 1998 reflected a charitable bequest.

Leaving a charitable legacy became a significant activity and message of NCPG through the creation of its LEAVE A LEGACY™ program in 1996. Originated by the efforts of Nancy Strapp and Diana Newman, among others, and the Central Ohio Planned Giving Council, NCPG's LEAVE A LEGACY™ campaign has spread to over 150 communities across the U.S. and Canada. NCPG has also received inquiries from Australia, England and South Africa.

In August 2001, LEAVE A LEGACY™ was a major topic of the NCPG Board of Directors' strategic planning process. The board affirmed that, as a public outreach program, LEAVE A LEGACY™ supports NCPG's mission to increase the quality and quantity of planned gifts, and that a plan should be developed to meet three interrelated goals.

  1. Sustain LEAVE A LEGACY™ from both a local and national perspective.
  2. Build a brand identity for LEAVE A LEGACY™ that attracts increased public attention.
  3. Design a program that will appeal to individual, corporate and foundation partners and funders.
Under the leadership of committee chair Kathryn Miree, a taskforce reviewed input from scores of local LEAVE A LEGACY™ programs, and worked with legal and nonprofit consultants to develop a plan that would prevent fragmentation of local programs, maximize national exposure and position LEAVE A LEGACY™ for growth in exciting new ways. This plan, approved by the NCPG Board of Directors in late April with initial funding, calls for strengthening national activities and increasing the support of LEAVE A LEGACY™ for our local councils.

NCPG will present this plan at the upcoming LEAVE A LEGACY™ Workshop and the Assembly of Delegates in Indianapolis, and give attendees an opportunity to discuss its implementation.

NCPG takes a proactive role in support of the CARE Act. It's a good bet that the demands on the charitable sector will only increase over the years, and that government will consistently look to us for solutions to many of society's most vexing issues. The charitable sector needs to grow with that demand and implement its charitable mission effectively. One way to assure such growth is for Congress to enact legislation that promotes charitable giving.

On May 2, 2002, government and charity came together to support the CARE Act. What was especially exciting about the CARE Act Rally was that representatives from local planned giving councils from across the country were in attendance, and that the extraordinary efforts of NCPG in organizing the event and supporting the CARE Act were specifically recognized at the podium by Senators Lieberman and Santorum. NCPG continues its efforts to educate legislators regarding the importance of enacting the charitable IRA rollover, as well as other legislative initiatives that promote charitable giving.

Creating and implementing a new plan for LEAVE A LEGACY™'s widespread public message and supporting government in its efforts to promote charitable giving are just two of NCPG's many current activities. Please see our newly restructured web site at www.ncpg.org to learn more.

Jonathan Ackerman, 2002 President of NCPG (now known as Partnership for Philanthropic Planning), represents donors and tax-exempt organizations on a national basis. His advice is often sought by charities in their creation and operation, especially with respect to contributions and other funding opportunities, as well as by families (and their advisors) who desire to integrate philanthropy into their estate plans.