03/28/2014

One man’s legacy keeps many smiling

Tags: Legacy, Blog, Giving

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Article Reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

By Carol Wolf
Special to the CJN

A native Texan, Stanley Blum and his beloved wife, Betty (z”l), moved to Cleveland in 1970 where he became senior vice president at Uncle Bill’s. After “retiring,” Stanley remained in Cleveland, and with a partner, spent the next 17 years creating and marketing 14 unique inventions.

The Blums enjoyed a satisfying life in Cleveland as part of our Jewish community. Like many of us, they responded to the letters they received from worthy charities, supporting Jewish causes locally and in Israel. After Betty passed away in 2012, Stanley began to think seriously about what their legacy would be and how they would leave their mark in the Jewish community beyond both of their lifetimes.

Stanley continues to support many charities with annual gifts, but learned through consultation with his attorney and the development professionals at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland that he could make larger, more impactful gifts to the charities closest to him with retirement assets. In addition to the nachas (pleasure) he gets from leaving a legacy, this designation will save his heirs from income tax obligations.

During this thoughtful process, Stanley was able to articulate his wish “to support programs or projects that are above and beyond the capabilities of the agency’s budget.” He said, “I have discussed my plans with my children and they are thrilled with the deep satisfaction I’m feeling from helping our community beyond my lifetime”.

On any given day during the Campaign for Jewish Needs, you might find Stanley at the Federation making calls. On other days, he may be found volunteering at a food bank or at his synagogue. In the spirit of tikkun olam (repairing the world), Stanley thoughtful estate plan will ensure his presence beyond his own years.

Using retirement assets to fund a charitable gift makes sense. It does not require an attorney to change or add a beneficiary. Most likely, your spouse and children are the beneficiaries of your individual retirement account or 401K. Think of your favorite charitable organizations as your children – whom you want to help thrive for years to come. A specific amount or any percentage of your retirement assets can be designated for a charity.

Unfortunately, most donors do not inform charities of their intentions, which deprive the charity the opportunity to show appreciation or recognize the donor’s generosity. By informing his beloved charities of his intended bequests, Stanley is allowing us to thank him now and ensure that his wishes are noted.

Creating your Jewish legacy is a thoughtful process. Federation staff works with each donor individually and confidentially to create a plan that is meaningful and impactful. Stanley and donors like him give l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation) a special meaning. We hope that the beneficiaries of Stanley’s generosity will not receive the gifts for many years, but when we do, we’ll think of Stanley and smile with gratitude.

This article originally appeared in the Cleveland Jewish News


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