The beauty of planned giving

Originally published in the Columbus Telegram

The practice of planned giving is very much in the spirit of Nebraska’s agricultural roots. Both involve planting seeds now with the expectation of a harvest later. Perhaps that’s why planned giving has become such a key part of building endowments across the Nebraska Community Foundation network.

“Planned giving” refers to the practice of arranging a gift now that will be realized at a future date. Now that NCF has been at work for more than 25 years in Nebraska, we’re beginning to see those planned gifts come to fruition and in doing so, change the future of their places. In fact, several NCF affiliated funds received six-figure gifts last year and many of those were planned gifts.

In addition to gifts spread around the state, NCF is also seeing a variety of donors make a planned gift. In fact, we recently told the story of one local couple who break the mold of the stereotypical donor of a planned gift. Austin and Kelsey Coufal recently joined NCF’s “Hometown Legacy Society,” recognizing those who make a planned gift to their local NCF affiliated fund.

Austin told NCF, “Anyone can be a philanthropist. The amount of money does not determine who is a philanthropist. A philanthropist is anybody who cares about a cause and wants to give—whether now or into the future.”

Austin joined the Howells Community Fund’s Fund Advisory Committee in 2018. In a short time, he has become an important voice in the group and has found a cause he believes in.

“If there’s any organization out there I believe in, it’s this one,” he said. “We don’t help out just one cause. This helps out everything in the community.”

During the process of setting up their wills and trusts, the Coufals were inspired by their work with the fund to make a bequest in their will to benefit Howells Community Fund. The young couple doesn’t yet have the donating capacity of more established residents, but a planned gift is an avenue to ensure they still leave a lasting impact.

“We’re young, and we don’t have a lot of money to give,” Coufal said. “This is our way of always giving back to the community and knowing that this community is going to be taken care of in the future.”

Joining Coufals in the Hometown Legacy Society locally in the past 18 months were Kurt and Jerene Kruse from Albion and Billie Wisnieski of Howells. And there are others who’ve made plans for a similar gift that hasn’t yet been recognized. Suffice it to say, the momentum is growing as Nebraskans discover the advantages of planned giving for their own financial planning married with their desire to support their hometowns.

Planned gifts can be straight-forward, like naming your favorite charity as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy. They can also be quite complex, depending on the donor’s financial situation or what they want to support. There are a wide variety of vehicles to accomplish the gift, during the donor’s life or at death, and the overall financial planning required to choose the best methods, timing, etc., means that a visit to your financial professional is in order.

Regardless of the tools you choose, a planned gift gives you the confidence of knowing your wishes will be carried out and you will be able to support the causes that are dear to you. In the big picture, these gifts mean you are leaving a legacy for generations in your hometown. I find that inspiring!

If you’d like to learn more, NCF has world-class experts in the field of planned giving ready to help. Contact me or your local NCF coordinator to have a conversation and see what might inspire you.