by Jessica Langdon
Morris Taylor wrote a letter about his son, lovingly titling it “Gregory Taylor, Our Gift from God.”
After his son died five years ago at age 52, Morris decided to honor the gift God gave his family for so many years with a gift to the church that had been a central part of Greg’s life (see sidebar below).
He chose to do so in the form of a gift annuity through the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas.
Like others who give in this way, Morris receives from his gift an income for the rest of his life. And he knows his son’s parish — St. Mary in Hartford — is able to use the funds it receives now.
The archdiocese currently has close to three dozen contracts for this type of planned gift.
“I think more people would want to do this if they understood it,” said Gary Pratt, planned giving officer for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. “Thousands of people across the country are using gift annuities as a means of increasing their guaranteed lifetime income while leaving a charitable gift.”
These are especially becoming more popular because of the difficult economic times.
The Federal Reserve has noted, for example, that the current low-interest-rate environment could extend for years, basically meaning that people can’t expect their CDs to pay more next year.
“That’s a big deal for people on a fixed income,” said Pratt.
And many people need to make sure they will have money coming in for the rest of their lives, however long that might be.
So gift annuities offer a way to help maximize earnings while helping a parish or other Catholic entity at the same time. There can also be some tax advantages. If arrangements are made by Dec. 31, they can even apply to this tax year.
Here’s how it works:
An individual or a couple makes a gift to the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas, which in turn agrees to make fixed lifetime payments to the individual, based on the donor’s age and the amount of the gift.
This gift could involve a transfer of cash, securities, or other property.
Take, for example, a principal donation of $25,000 from an individual donor who is 75. Based on life expectancy and with a 6.5 percent annuity rate, the donor would receive $1,625 each year. The American Council on Gift Annuities sets the rates for all charities. Donors receive their payments quarterly.
The donor then chooses a Catholic entity — which could be a school, parish, cemetery, foundation, or the archdiocese itself — to benefit from a financial gift.
CFNEK may reinsure contracts with quality third-party reinsurance companies. This allows the donors’ gifts to go to the beneficiary during their lifetime so they can see their gifts at work.
The beneficiary basically receives the present value of the projected future gift minus the donor’s income and 10 percent for administration.
Each person’s situation is unique, so proposals and projections will vary based on age and whether it is an individual or joint annuity.
Parishes can offer this option to members who are on fixed incomes, giving them a way to provide a gift to the church that wouldn’t put a burden on their need for income, said Pratt.
“This presents a huge opportunity for people on fixed income to benefit parishes and schools across the archdiocese,” he said.
A personal gift
by Morris Taylor
I buried my only son five years ago. There was some sadness of course, but mostly what I felt was relief that at last the struggle had ended for him. You see, he was born mentally challenged, with the mind of a preschooler. The doctors had cautioned us that he probably wouldn’t live beyond 30, yet this courageous and determined man-child made it to the ripe old age of 52.
Back in the 1950s when Greg was born, there were no public schools offering special education classes, so we found a wonderful tutor who managed to maximize his potential of being all that he could be. He learned so many things beyond the basics and, with every little achievement, our pride in him grew. He always tried hard to please and to do his best.
Greg had a mind of his own, of course, but overall he was kind, considerate, ever gentle, and very loving. He seemed always ready to trust everyone, which ultimately brought out the best in those of us privileged to know him, as we tried to live up to his expectations. It truly was a blessing to have had him in our lives. He taught us tolerance, patience, and how to really love and respect others.
Greg spent the majority of his adult life in a group home in Hartford. These young men were bused to a sheltered workshop most weekdays and were proud of having meaningful work to do. Evenings were important, as each of them packed their own lunches and prepared for the workday ahead, with the help of the caretakers, of course.
I visited him often, bringing him home with me for holidays until I could no longer drive. Sometimes he would get lonely, and the caretakers were good about helping him call home so he could hear my voice. But mostly he was happy there, even though life itself was a struggle for him.
It was touching to see how many of Greg’s friends and caretakers from over the years came to his funeral at St. Mary in Hartford where he had faithfully attended Mass, testifying to the absolutely charming person he was. Two of his off-duty caretakers even made the trip to Topeka to be with us when it was time for Greg to leave this earth to return to his heavenly Father.
After Greg died, I wanted to do something special in his honor and chose the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas to achieve this purpose. The charitable gift annuities I purchased through CFNEK guarantee me income for my lifetime, while also providing a gift to St. Mary Church. I think Greg would have been pleased.
A full life’s reward
Paul Shepherd, 98, and Edna Glaser, 88, have forged a strong friendship since meeting at a senior living facility in Emporia and are quick to share with each other whatever good advice comes their way.
Today, both live at Presbyterian Manor in that town, and both have gift annuities that keep a stream of income coming in. Through the gift annuities, they have left gifts for two parishes in the archdiocese.
Paul grew up on a farm in Hartford. Reaching adulthood, he went into the produce business. He was drafted and spent three years in the U.S. Army. He returned to Hartford and spent several more years there working in the produce business before he began a 23-year career as the town’s postmaster.
He retired and took care of his wife when her health began failing.
He began saving for retirement and buying CDs to ensure a solid financial future.
Edna, a lifelong resident of Emporia, worked in banking for 10 years and enjoyed it. When she had children, she stayed home to raise her family.
As the years passed, Paul decided to use money he held in CDs to fund a gift annuity with the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas and receive guaranteed income, with St. Mary Parish in Hartford benefiting.
That inspired Edna to do the same, with hers providing a gift for Sacred Heart Parish in Emporia — even though she isn’t Catholic.
Raised Methodist, she still attended Mass sometimes at the Catholic church. Her dad would take her when she and friends wanted to go, and she often went to Mass on Christmas Eve.
“It used to be a big deal,” she remembered. Now she receives some income on a regular basis while her gift goes to Sacred Heart Parish in Emporia, which is a big part of her childhood memories.
Taking care of a cherished church
Rose Katzer, 89, spent many years raising her family in Greeley.
Her faith is a central part of her life.
When she decided to enter into a contract with the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas for a gift annuity, she knew she didn’t need the income that would come to her at this point, so she deferred it. The money instead will go to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School in Garnett. Her gift honors her late husband Alfred.
The money will go into an endowment to make a Catholic education possible for children for years to come.