You're Never Too Young to Create Your Legacy

Tags: Federation, PR, legacy

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Article reprinted with permission from the Cleveland Jewish News.

Rachel Lappen | SPECIAL TO THE CJN

Many charities in our community send out beautiful legacy magazines every year. I receive quite a few and love reading all the inspiring stories of those who share why they are leaving a lasting imprint on the organizations that have been important to them. Have you ever read any of these stories and thought, “I wish I could do something like that but I’m not at a stage in my life where I have the resources to make that commitment. I don’t even know how to make a legacy gift.”

Well, think again.

You don’t need a crystal ball to make a legacy commitment. If you care about how your support for a beloved organization can extend beyond your life, you can indeed act now to do just that.

Last year, our community launched the LIFE & LEGACY program sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. To date, our Jewish community has nearly 300 new Legacy commitments supporting day schools, Hillel programs, synagogues, Federation, and many others. Along the way, we have heard some incredible stories about the new commitments that have been made, particularly by young families. In fact, close to 20% of the new Legacy gifts are from donors under the age of 50.

A legacy gift can come from many different sources beyond a cash bequest. An organization can be named a beneficiary of an insurance policy, a donor-advised fund, a trust, retirement account and so much more. You can even receive lifetime income by creating a charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity while naming a charitable organization as the future beneficiary. (Note: CGA and CRT options are best for older donors.) If you are interested in learning about the range of options, you could start by speaking with a development professional at the organization of your choice. Of course, to know what plan might be best for your personal situation, always consult your financial adviser or attorney.

On July 9, we will have a large community celebration to thank all the donors who made new legacy commitments through the LIFE & LEGACY program in its first year. Individuals and families who attend will span all age groups and all gift amounts, but what is most important is knowing that so many people have made the commitment now to help secure our community’s future. I look forward to reading more about many of them in future legacy magazines.

Rachel Lappen is the chief development officer for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in Beachwood.

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