Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Many people enjoy giving, whether of their time or resources. Giving fosters a greater sense of community, connection, service, and philanthropy – plus it is an amazing feeling! Philadelphia Yearly Meeting believes anyone can give regardless of age, race, or income.
Philanthropy is a very individual choice when deciding what to give, who to give to, and when to give; so it makes sense for individuals curious about supporting PYM with a legacy gift to plan their giving.
We sat down with PYM’s new Director of Development, Merri Brown and Director of Philanthropic Services at Friend’s Fiduciary, Mimi Blackwell, to demystify Planned Giving.
What is Planned Giving?
Merri believes most people vaguely know what Planned Giving is but sometimes they wonder whether a bequest and a legacy are the same thing. Planned Giving is the process of donating planned gifts. A planned gift is a contribution that is arranged in the present and allocated at a future date. Commonly donated through a will or trust, planned gifts are most often granted once the donor has passed away.
Why is Planned Giving so Important?
The name in and of itself may feel compartmentalized and formulaic but it can be creative too. Many people think more about Planned Giving toward the end of their lives, but it’s important for Members of the Religious Society of Friends and individuals in general to start considering how and what type of legacy they want to leave behind much earlier. “Planned Giving is something PYM donors hear and know about and of course, it may have tax advantages but more importantly, it allows people to honor loved ones and beloved organizations” offered Merri Brown.
Planned Giving allows individuals to authentically support the organizations they value so much, in this case, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. “People who really want to give, plan”, noted Mimi Blackwell. “When you give a gift, I find it is as much fun to give as it is to get and thinking about that gift and making it meaningful, to me, that’s where I think Quakers really hit it out of the park,” she continued. A 2022 Cleveland Clinic study determined there are major health benefits to giving, helping others, and philanthropy. In addition to releasing ‘feel good chemicals’, giving has been documented to lower blood pressure, increase lifespan, and reduce stress.
Is Planned Giving only for Seniors?
Although the average age of the US Charitable donor is 64 (the Baby Boomer generation) which (according to Define Financial’s 2023 survey of charitable giving) gives more of their income, statistically, 59% of Gen X are regular donors, while 84% of millennials give to charities and nonprofits. “Sometimes, we get a little too focused on the fact that we’re aging and I’ll be honest, there are gifts that are more suited to a person who’s over 65 but there are also great gifts that young people can make as well when they value an organization like PYM,” said Blackwell. Overall, the data demonstrates people from various walks of life enjoy and want to give.
How can Quakers and PYM Supporters Plan to Give and Leave a Legacy in Perpetuity?
Mimi likens Planned Giving to knowing what’s in your tool belt. “A simple, but I feel, the most meaningful way to give, is to include PYM in your will.” She advises Friends to have honest and open conversations with their family so that they are aware of intentions and reach out to get tax and financial advice to find the best way to give for your particular circumstances. “You should really know everything before you make the decision to do it. And that also means having a discussion with my colleague, Merri about what PYM needs and what would benefit PYM the most.”
Merri shares that listening and looking for shared values and interests can help people decide how they want to give. “Quakers have hundreds of years of history of being good stewards of the earth and good stewards of money and then spreading it around the world to do good things.” The gifts of time and talent can culminate with the gift of treasure. Gifting treasure is the ultimate support, having been intimately acquainted with the good work an organization like PYM is doing. Consulting with a tax attorney and financial advisor is recommended when contemplating a Planned Gift.
I Would Like to Become a Planned Giver; do you Have to be a Quaker to Give to PYM?
Quaker values are not unique to just Quakers, but rather shared by many. An example of this is a trust established in 1939 for “carrying out…program[s] of planned parenthood (birth control).” by Natalie Clifford Barney, born in 1876 to a wealthy family in Ohio and whose her circle of literary and artistic influence was transatlantic and spanned nearly a century. Ms. Barney, an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, was not a member of the Religious Society of Friends and it is believed that the bequest was made to honor her physician, who was a Quaker and involved in early planned parenthood activities. The Natalie Clifford Barney Fund continues to support programs identified by the donor; it is held by Friends Fiduciary and distributed by PYM’s Quaker Buildings & Programs.
Looking back at Quaker philanthropy, PYM is a great example of how individuals have supported initiatives or programs over centuries with Planned Gift Giving. Ultimately, philanthropy begins within and Planned Giving allows people to meaningfully make their treasure impactful long after they are deceased (and what better way to leave a lasting legacy).