August 2021

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Letter from the President

Summer is Winding up, Fall Events are on the Horizon

Dear Friends,

It is my hope that your summer has been enjoyable. If you have been out of the office - perhaps on vacation, and you’ve had time to relax, that is wonderful. The Chesapeake Planned Giving Council (CPGC) appreciates the importance of taking a break and recharging. With that in mind, I intend to keep this message short and to the point, so you can get back to enjoying the remainder of your summer. As we get back into our schedules at work and at school, let’s keep these three events on the radar:

Chesapeake Planned Giving Council (CPGC)

Our Fall program will be virtual – on September 15th, 2021. The program will be educational and provide information relevant to the planned giving community (and allied professionals whose work involves addressing the needs of clients and donors). Please visit our website for details which will be posted soon - https://www.chesapeakeplannedgiving.org/events

National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) Conference: Choose Your Experience

CGP is excited to introduce a new, flexible approach to CGP Conference, featuring unique in-person and virtual experiences. This year you can choose the experience that works best for you:

In-person Experience
Oct. 4-6, Rosen Centre Hotel
We’re getting back to the event you know and love. Educational sessions, networking, speakers and exhibitors all in-person in Orlando. Plus, registering for our in-person experience grants you access to the virtual offerings.

Virtual Experience
Sept. 20-24, wherever you are
If you can’t get away from the office but still want to experience CGP Conference, then the virtual experience is perfect for you. Watch educational sessions and connect with peers from the comfort of your computer.

Don’t miss out on this year’s fantastic lineup of speakers, breakout sessions and specialized education tracks. No matter how you choose to join us, the educational programming will provide you with strategies, insights and tools you need to do your job better. Register Now at www.CharitableGiftPlanners.org/conference

National Estate Planning Awareness Week - October 18-24, 2021

For more information, check out the article that I co-authored last year with my World Vision US colleagues, Renee Brida and Michael Smith. The article is posted on the CGP Blog and is entitled National Estate Planning Awareness Week: 3 Reasons to Celebrate.

Before I wrap up this message, I must give a huge thank you to Association Matters, Inc., and the CPGC Board - whose members work tirelessly to keep things moving forward. We thank you - our friends, supporters, partners, and sponsors for your commitment to CPGC. Enjoy the summer and we look forward to you joining us for our upcoming events.

All the best,

Aquanetta Betts
CPGC, President
LinkedIn @AquanettaBetts

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Estate Planning and Changing the Generational Narrative in Families of ColoR

By: Elsa W. Smith, Esq., Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC

The assumption that families of color do not have assets to protect is unfortunately all too common in the estate planning space. Not only does this striking misconception pose a barrier to stemming the loss of generational wealth in families of color, but it also blocks estate planning professionals from access to a massive pool of untapped – and underserved – potential clients. As part of my professional mission to educate and empower through estate planning, I lend my voice to the discussion with this article. Here, I highlight an important present-day obstacle to estate planning for Black families. My purpose for doing so is to shed a light on the opportunity that estate planning and financial professionals have to expand our market by strategically, consistently and comprehensively changing the narrative regarding the need for asset protection in families of color.

I.    Introduction
According to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study by Caring.com, a non-profit for caregivers, only about a third of Black Americans have a will. However, that percentage has increased from 25.9% in 2020 to 27.5% in 2021. Compare this to White Americans which are approximately 35%.   Troubling is the asymmetry of the educational, professional and financial progress we have made as people of color and the lack of estate planning in place to protect those gains.  Before we can attempt to prescribe a solution to the problem, however, we must understand the underlying causes.

II.    Barriers to Estate Planning
Two of the greatest barriers to estate planning among families of color is a lack of estates and trusts attorneys of color and of those actively seeking out clients of color.

Lack of Attorneys of Color in the Law
According to the American Bar Association’s 2020 Profile of the Legal Profession, five percent (5%) of attorneys are Black.  What is even more tragic is that the percentage has not increased over the last ten years.    A report published in 2010 warned us of the effect a lack of diversity in the profession has in a macro sense: “[T]he profession has historically provided access to income and wealth commensurate with the ‘American Dream.’ Historically, racial and ethnic groups, women and other marginalized groups have recognized that a law degree accelerates their social and economic mobility. If any part of our profession – especially the vast and powerful fields of private practice – fails to be diverse and inclusive, we are sending meaningful symbolic messages to members of underrepresented groups, especially those of lower socioeconomic status.”

A lack of Black attorneys in the estates and trusts arena conveys an implicit message to people of color that estate planning is not for them. ACTEC Fellow Sarah Moore Johnson observed, “[t]he simple Act of preparing a will for a family of color or encouraging investment and life insurance can create tangible economic gains that will help close the wealth gap. The more Black and Brown estate planning attorneys we have, the more likely our families of color are to seek legal representation and create a plan for intergenerational wealth transfer.”

III.     How Estate and Financial Professionals Can Help Change the Narrative

“Diversify your Life”
Author and journalist Rochelle Riley said it best during her appearance on ACTEC’s video series addressing economic inequality in America: “Diversity your life...if you are an attorney and all of your clients are white, or maybe one client is Black and everybody else is white, and you want to change that, then there are ways to reach out that aren't even that hard. Go and visit a Black church. Go to a Black-owned restaurant. Talk to people that you know who are people of color and say- you know what, I'd like to reach out more.”

Challenge Unconscious Biases
Unconscious biases are limitations on your ability to serve a more diverse audience. I recall a conversation I had with a well-meaning estate planning colleague who happens to be Caucasian.  When we spoke about the need to serve a more diverse segment of the population, he assumed I was speaking of low-income residents. I acknowledge that there is a great need for estate planning among low-income residents. By volunteering with the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center’s estate planning clinics, I have seen first-hand the benefit of helping the economically disadvantaged create a plan for their legacy. However, in the conversation referenced earlier, I referred to the underserved, and in some cases ignored, segments of Maryland’s Black community that range from middle-income to high-net worth residents.

My point in sharing that story is that people should examine their unconscious biases as they relate to Blacks or people of color and estate planning.  When we assume that families of color have little or no assets requiring protection, we slam the door shut on an opportunity to expand the market for estate planning and financial services.  Be intentional about presenting charitable giving options during meetings with clients of color. In firms with a diversity deficit, actively recruit, retain and promote minority professionals to connect with prospective clients of color.  Estate planning and financial professionals with no families of color in their client portfolios are potentially missing out on millions in assets that require protection. Changing the generational narrative will require us to be proactive and intentional.

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About the Author


Elsa W. Smith, Esq.

Elsa W. Smith is the founder and owner of the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC - a boutique estate planning firm with a mission to empower women through estate planning. With more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer, Elsa strives to use her platform to be an agent for positive change.

Elsa serves on the Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association's Estate & Trust Law Section. She also is a member of the Section’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Elsa was recognized as a 2021 Maryland Super Lawyer in the area of estate planning. She hosts Women Winning Wednesdays, an educational series that gives the audience glimpses of what an empowered woman is and the tools she needs to win. The show live streams weekly on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn @elsawsmithlaw.

She serves as Vice President of the Maryland Capital Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association.

When Elsa is not helping clients, she enjoys listening to jazz, reading and fine dining with friends.  She and her husband are the proud parents of an adopted rescue dog, Doc.


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Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Nonprofit Organization

By: Julie Morris, Career and Life Coach

Nonprofits aim to improve and enhance the communities we live in, as many support societal issues such as homelessness, hunger, climate change, animal rescue, racial injustice, and equality. Others support the arts, religion, healthcare, and education. And while many nonprofits are tax-exempt, others are not. Similarly, not all nonprofits are considered charities.

If you’re thinking about starting a nonprofit organization of your own, there are several things you should know about the process. To help you get started, check out these resources from the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council.

Explore the Different Types of Nonprofits
There are many different types of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. Before starting an organization of your own, you’ll need to choose the right type of nonprofit for your cause.
  • The most common types of nonprofits include 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(k) organizations.
  • Learn how not-for-profit organizations (NFPOs) differ from nonprofits (NPOs). In general, not-for-profit organizations are not tax-exempt.
  • Find out which types of nonprofit business ideas are most needed. Endangered animals, affordable education, and disability rights are all great causes that could use more support.

Launch Your Organization in a Few Steps

Once you’re ready to launch your nonprofit organization, you’ll need to assemble your Board of Directors, choose a business structure, apply for tax-exempt status, and compare your financing options.
  • Carefully choose your Board of Directors. Core member roles include the chairperson (president), vice-chair (vice president), secretary, and treasurer.
  • Form a limited liability company (LLC) subsidiary. Hold onto your organization documents, as you’ll need these to qualify as an exempt nonprofit.
  • Apply for tax-exempt status through the IRS.
  • Determine whether you’ll need to borrow money to get your nonprofit off the ground.

Run a Successful Nonprofit Organization
Forming a nonprofit is just the start. These tips and resources will help you to raise money for your organization, stay on top of your finances, and run a successful nonprofit.
  • Decide how you will raise money for your nonprofit. Charity auctions, peer-to-peer fundraisers, and online donations are several fundraising event ideas to consider.
  • When hiring staff, clarify how this works for nonprofits, and use accounting software to ensure proper employee time tracking and payments.
  • Keep your key financial statements updated, including your statement of activities and cash flows.
  • Understand the requirements you must meet to keep your organization in compliance with the IRS.

Nonprofit work can be highly rewarding, but there are many challenges you’ll face along the way — especially when it comes to fundraising and marketing. Before launching your organization, make sure you’re prepared for these obstacles and do plenty of research so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Running a nonprofit isn’t easy, but the advantages of nonprofit work make it all worthwhile.


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About the Author

Julie Morris

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

 



Planned Giving Flash Update - CGAs Remain Attractive

Contributed by Chip Giese, Planned Giving Client Relationship Manager, PNC Bank

For many organizations the decision to promote charitable gift annuities is simple decision based on where their programmatic focus lies. Quite often outright gifts receive the greatest focus, and understandable so. Many organizations finding success in that area of giving also find it difficult to promote life income gifts at the same time. This article reminds those non-profits who still maintain charitable gift annuity programs, that they can still be attractive gifts and for your constituents.

At its most recent Board meeting on April 26, 2021, the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) agreed that while interest rates have moved slightly higher, they have not moved to where the Board felt an increase to CGA rates would be warranted. Therefore they decided not to change the suggested maximum payout rates and the table effective July 1, 2020 remains as current.

1. CGAs remain attractive to donors

The maximum recommended payout rate to annuitants is still around 4% or higher for single-life contracts for annuitants age 61 or older, and rises to above 7% for annuitants in their 80s.

When compared to other relatively low-risk, income-producing options, such as government debt securities, the rates available  on a CGA contract remain a very attractive option, especially for donors who value the philanthropic aspect (of leaving the residuum to the sponsoring charity).

2. Finding the right approach with donors

One approach is to focus on the charitable giving aspect of the CGA contract; for donors, it is essential  to hear about the importance of what their gift will help accomplish  at the charity.

Another approach is to focus on the income  stability aspect of a CGA contract. Emphasize the fact that payments are fixed for life. Because the payout amount is based on the original gift value, the distribution to annuitants is not impacted  by market volatility or other changes to the current value of the original gift. For individuals looking for this form of steady income stream, this could be a valuable aspect.



Another option would be to consider an estate planning use of the charitable gift annuity for beneficiaries or heirs. Notwithstanding certain exceptions such as a spousal beneficiary, current legislation (the SECURE Act) now requires that IRA or other qualified funds be distributed within 10 years of a decedents passing. Funding a gift annuity with remaining qualified funds would allow those assets  to be stretched over the lifetime of the annuitants. The annuity rates in effect at the time of the gift annuity’s funding would apply.

It is important to emphasize the income tax-favorable nature of payments, especially while the low interest rate environment  continues  to keep the IRS discount rate low. While this creates a somewhat lower potential charitable deduction up front, it does allow for a greater portion of the donor’s annuity to be income tax-free.
This is also true for gift annuities funded with appreciated  property. This may be quite attractive to certain donors.

As the market reaches new highs or continues to be volatile, donors may be willing to initiate contracts  using appreciated (or re-appreciated) securities. Being mindful of how donors  might find it most advantageous to give, and especially how that might be different than in prior years, can help fundraisers to be successful. It is important to remember  that cash is not the only way to fund a gift and that there can be material advantages to donors using appreciated assets.

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About the Author


Chip Giese

Chip is a Planned Giving client relationship manager in PNC Institutional Asset ManagementĀ® . He serves local, regional and national Planned Giving clients  for PNC. His responsibilities include  serving as a key point of contact for client service needs and coordinating the  Planned  Giving team that provides investment management, various  administration services and education to nonprofits across the  country.

Chip assumed his current position in 2005, after spending two years as the director of planned giving at The Gilman School in Baltimore. His industry experience extends back to
1994.
 
Chip graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Towson University. He has spoken at PNC Regional  President gatherings and planned giving council programs. He is a current member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the American Council on Gift Annuities and a past board member of the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council.



Five Ways to Rethink “Professionalism"

Contributed by Associations Now

Professionalism isn’t just about choice of attire—it encompasses diversity and personal discussions too. As people return to the office, the topic promises to get complicated. Here are some tips on how to navigate.

After a year and a half of people regularly wearing dress shirts with sweatpants, you weren’t expecting everything to go back to the way it was in the office before the pandemic, were you?

The pandemic and other major events over the past year shifted expectations for what professionalism means. As offices reopen—and as some workers stay remote—this multidimensional issue gives leaders a lot to think about. Here are some considerations for organizations trying to discover what “professional” means to them now:

See professionalism through the lens of DEI. Being professional in a work environment might be seen as a basic requirement, but the guidelines of what exactly constitutes professionalism have traditionally forced people to behave in a way that caters to the dominant culture. In recent years, however, some cultural observers, such as Stanford Social Innovation Review contributor Aysa Gray, have questioned professionalism as forcing a culture that “explicitly and implicitly privileges whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-white professionalism.” With that in mind, now might be a good time to consider whether professional standards are serving all of your workforce.

Make room for discussions of family and personal challenges. Millions of people contracted COVID-19, and there’s a good chance that the virus directly affected some in your office. But even if they remained physically healthy, your employees may have suffered in other ways—mental health and substance abuse issues were heightened during this period, and those concerns don’t necessarily vanish with a vaccine. Traditionally, “professionalism” has discouraged these discussions, based on a theory called Protestant Relational Ideology, which sets aside personal concerns to focus on the work at hand. But after a tough year where many families had to manage Zoom calls around children stuck at home, there may need to be more room for personal discussions when they emerge in the workplace.

Accept that difficult discussions might happen. Perhaps it was inevitable that a company like Basecamp would run into a conflict over political discourse in the workplace (ironically, this unfolded on the platform the company developed to boost productivity). But the conflict resulted in something that was not inevitable: mass resignations. Perhaps the key for associations hoping to avoid this is to build a culture that can handle those discussions in meaningful ways—and to avoid banning political discussions.

Let your employees get a little more casual.
Businesswear often took a back seat over Zoom (sweatpants and button-down combos aside). As people head back to the office, they may buck against a return to business attire. This might be even more of an issue for offices operating in a hybrid model: With recent studies finding that most people working remotely don’t adhere to a dress code, enforcing a strict dress code for in-office workers sets an inconsistent standard. (Luckily, clothing makers are adapting, according to The Wall Street Journal [subscription], with some retailers offering “hybrid dressing” that combines professional with casual.)

Embrace a diversity of emotions. Diversity isn’t limited to demographics. It can also be about how employees feel and react to things, and that not everyone sees eye to eye on everything. As Associations Now blogger Mark Athitakis wrote in January, the pandemic offered us a reset on emotional diversity, allowing leaders to shift away from attempting to emotionally align teams. “Perhaps a better place to start is to double-check that you know where your people are emotionally in the first place,” he wrote. “And if there’s a silver lining in 2020 when it comes to management, we’re doing a better job at prioritizing that.”

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