LYNN: While not quite the same, this youngster’s condition reminded me of a childhood experience of my own. I had some health issues as a child that required hospitalization, and it made me anxious. I’ll always remember the kindness extended to me by someone who went out of his way to make me feel more positive about facing my situation. The happiness this person offered me can only be a fraction of the joy these children must feel when their wishes come true. The memory of his compassion also makes it natural for me to align with the mission of Make-A-Wish.
Recalling the plight of her friend’s niece, Lynn said the little girl felt isolated from her class while undergoing treatment for her cancer.
LYNN: All she wanted was to be with her schoolmates. Through Make-A-Wish New Jersey, video computer equipment was set up, so she could happily interact with her classroom friends again. I thought that any organization that could bring such happiness to children in life-threatening situations was worthy of my support.
Initially, Lynn made regular outright gifts to support Make-A-Wish. It was later, after the loss of a loved one, that she changed her will to include a bequest that will magnify our ability to grant wishes.
LYNN: I am at a comfortable place in my life and really wanted to make plans for the organizations that I care most about. I will continue to help through regular checkbook contributions. But I know that my bequest helps to ensure than no eligible children will miss out. And notifying Make-A-Wish now, while I am alive, just reinforces the ‘feel-good’ – knowing I join others who help secure the future for this wonderful organization.
Another passion for me is the ocean, our seas, shores, ports … and I support several groups that work to protect our waters. There is nothing nicer than to walk the Jersey Shore beaches and boardwalks off-season – it helps me to think and reflect. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to make a bequest now while I can still realize the impact of my gift.
I can’t describe how good it feels to learn about these courageous children who have dreams, hopes, and wishes despite their illnesses – and to know Make-A-Wish will be there for them, in part, because of my bequest. I feel like I have accomplished something that will be as enduring as the oceans.
A Wise Financial Move
Setting aside the emotional rewards, Lynn also made a wise financial move with her legacy gift. Her estate taxes may be decreased as a result of the charitable bequests. There are tax-advantaged strategies for a donor, depending upon circumstances.
For example, using funds from a retirement account to make bequests is often a good tactic. If there is a balance in your retirement account at your death, not only is there a potential income tax burden, but there may be estate taxes as well.
Estimates are, taxes could eat up 35 percent or more of assets under certain circumstances. Careful estate planning concerning your property and finances can help you keep them out of government hands and working for wish kids.
Lynn found her experience not only enriches the hearts and lives of children, but hers as well. It is not unusual to find some of our financial partners pleasantly surprised by just how wonderful the giving experience really is! Your estate gift is a practical and powerful means of long-term, financial support that ensures a vibrant future for Make-A-Wish and the children that we serve. Each donor’s legacy provides critical funds that enable us to fulfill our mission which is rooted in the value of a child’s smile.
For more information on how you can make a bequest to Make-A-Wish, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at (800) 722-9474 or visit our Planned Giving page.
Thanks to Lynn and Make-A-Wish New Jersey for sharing this story.