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Legacy Giving Seminar

Jeff Wasser

May 2, 2018 at 7:30 PM in the Silverstein Center

We are pleased to have several speakers for the Legacy Giving Seminar scheduled for May 2 at 7:30 pm.

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg is the Rabbi at Beth Sholom B’nai Israel in Manchester, CT. He has served congregations in Birmingham, Alabama; Hollywood, Florida; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Delray Beach, Florida. He has been a Chaplain for Hospice of Palm Beach County, Volunteer Chaplain for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive and has trained in Substance Abuse Counseling and hospital chaplaincy. He is also certified to teach Jewish Meditation by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. He believes that revitalizing a synagogue requires not only visionary leadership and a committed congregation, but it also requires finding the proper funding. He will be providing a D’var Torah for the Legacy giving Seminar.

Hollis Dorman, Senior Development Officer, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, has more than 25 years of experience in the area of planned giving, having served as the national planned giving director for the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the American Associates of Ben Gurion University. During her career, Hollis has coordinated annual, capital and endowment campaigns in addition to her work in planned gifts. She is currently on the board of the Business and Estate Planning Council of Hartford and the Planned Giving Group of Connecticut.

Monique R. Polidoro is a member of the Jewish Community Foundation’s Legal and Tax Panel. She is also a member of Rogin Nassau LLC’s Trusts and Estates Department at CityPlace 1 in Hartford. She focuses her practice primarily in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, charitable planning and elder law. Ms. Polidoro works with clients and their families to structure estate plans that implement their personal goals, protect their loved ones, and reflect their values while minimizing taxes. Her practice also involves advising clients on achieving philanthropic goals through the use of private foundations and charitable trusts. Ms. Polidoro began her career at Rogin, Nassau in 1996 as a summer associate and joined the firm as a full-time associate in 1997. Prior to joining Rogin, Nassau, Ms. Polidoro worked as a law clerk for Judge Alfred V. Covello at the Connecticut Federal District

Court. She also worked as a law clerk in the Money Laundering/Asset Forfeiture Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office in Hartford. Prior to starting her legal career, Ms. Polidoro toured as a professional ballet dancer with Charlestown Ballet Theater, Charlestown, South Carolina, and Ballet Theatre Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Polidoro received her B.A., magna cum laude, in 1994 from the University of Connecticut and her J.D., with honors, in 1997 from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Ms. Polidoro is a member of the Hartford County, Connecticut and American Bar Associations.

We look forward to seeing you at this informative event.

Save The Date: A Discussion of Charitable and Legacy Giving

Jeff Wasser

Between Shabbat Shekalim, in which the taking of the census is described, and Shabbat Zahor, in which we are asked to remember the attack of Amalek on the Jewish people during the Exodus, there is the reading of the parasha T’rumah. The word T’rumah comes from the Hebrew root meaning “to elevate” or the physical act of lifting. In the reading of T’rumah [contribution or my gifts] the building and construction of the Mishkan is described in great detail. All materials for the Mishkan are to be acquired by public donation.

The materials, shapes, sizes and assembly of the building are specified in the parasha. Among the specified materials are planks of acacia  wood.  Surprisingly, the  acacia  tree is  not  part of  the  usual flora of the Sinai Desert. Legend has it, that Jacob planted the acacia trees on his way to Egypt 200 years prior to the building of the Mishkan. He anticipated that his descendants would need them in the future. Just as Jacob had the foresight to plant trees for future generations we too should lay the ground work [“plant trees”] for a rich and vibrant Jewish life for future generations. To this end, the Endowment Committee of BSBI has been promoting the concept of legacy giving.

Since August 2017, the Endowment has included multiple articles in the monthly Bulletin describing different giving opportunities that may be optimized for both the donor and recipient of legacies. Some issues have been raised about the mechanism of leaving a legacy and additional details about specialized giving opportunities.

To address these questions, the Endowment of BSBI, in conjunction with the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF), will be sponsoring a discussion of charitable and legacy giving on May 2, 2018 at 7:30 PM in the Silverstein Center. Rabbi Konigsburg will offer a D’var Torah, and we have invited two guest speakers to join us at this information session. Hollis Dorman of the Jewish Community Foundation will discuss giving opportunities, some of which may offer unique benefits to the donor and BSBI in partnership with JCF. Monique Polidoro, a Partner at Rogin Nassau, LLC the law firm used by the BSBI Endowment, will discuss the “ins and outs” of legacy giving. A pareve dessert, coffee and tea will be provided. There will be ample time for questions. This session is for informational purposes only and to answer some of the questions that have been raised by BSBI members who have expressed an interest in legacy giving.

All congregants are invited to attend. This will be a great opportunity to learn how we may plant our own “acacia trees” and Leave a Jewish Legacy for future generations.

Life Insurance as a Vehicle for Charitable Giving

Jeff Wasser

Over the last several months the Endowment Board of Trustees (Tax ID 05 0540805) has highlighted the need for legacy giving and our collective obligations to strengthen and broaden our current programs and institutions as well as to sustain and nurture Jewish institutions for future generations.

In prior articles we have highlighted our collaboration with the Jewish Community Foundation, which allows BSBI Endowment to offer more sophisticated giving vehicles. Our collaboration may provide current and potential donors with the assurance that their charitable donations will support Jewish causes today and far into the future.

In this month’s edition of the Chai Lights, the Endowment would like to review some of the uses of life insurance as a vehicle for charitable giving. Life insurance is generally purchased to protect the financial health of dependents of the insured, such as one’s family or business. Life insurance may also be used to fund a charitable bequest.  There are several ways this can be accomplished.

  • A donor may make an irrevocable gift of an existing paid up policy. Tax benefits accrue to the donor as allowed by law
  • The donor may gift a new or existing policy that requires ongoing premium payments.  Premium payments are donated to the charity and are tax deductible as allowed by law. It is the responsibility of the charity to forward the premium payments to the insurance company.
  • The charity may be named as the beneficiary of a policy that the donor continues to own and for which the donor continues to pay premiums.

Other uses of life insurance include its ability to replace assets that have been donated to charity. Policies may also be combined with joint and survivor trusts or used to insure a charitable pledge. The use of life insurance for charitable giving may be complex and should only be undertaken with the advice of a qualified financial professional. If you are considering using life insurance as part of your charitable legacy please reach out to me at jeffreywasser@sbcglobal.net or Roy Filkoff at royfilkoff@altmanandco.com or BSBIEndowment@myshul.org.

Donor Advised Funds

Jeff Wasser

The BSBI Endowment Foundation (Tax ID 05 0540805) continues to encourage legacy giving in collaboration with the Jewish Community Foundation. As the tax laws have recently changed some vehicles for charitable giving have become more attractive. 

Since the recently approved tax plan nearly doubles the standard deduction, the ability to deduct charitable contributions may be limited unless the charitable deduction is greater than the standard deduction. In order to overcome the threshold of the standard deduction, one can pool charitable gifts in certain years in order to exceed the standard deduction and maximize the tax savings. Although bunching the charitable contributions may optimize deductions for the donor, the charitable recipient may depend upon a steady flow of donations to sustain their mission.

A potential solution which may meet both your needs and those of the charitable organizations you wish to support is the “Donor Advised Fund” or DAF.

What is a Donor Advised Fund?

A DAF is a charitable vehicle established at a public charity that can serve as your “philanthropic checkbook.” It provides an opportunity for you to make charitable donations to your DAF, receive an income tax deduction in the year that donation is made to the DAF, and then make charitable donations to organizations of importance to you, such as BSBI, from your DAF at any time in the future. DAFs are available through the Jewish Community Foundation, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and major brokerage and mutual fund organizations such as Fidelity, Schwab, T Rowe Price and Vanguard. Individuals may fund their DAFs with cash, life insurance, or appreciated securities including stocks, bonds and mutual funds. You may also name a DAF as a beneficiary of your estate through your will. At the time of death, DAFs can accept retirement assets or the remainder of a charitable remainder trust

Mechanics of DAF Accounts

Creating a DAF may enable you to maximize your giving, fulfill your philanthropic goals and provide an opportunity to engage another generation in philanthropy. By making an irrevocable contribution to the DAF, you receive the maximum allowable charitable deduction in the year that gift is made, regardless of when you distribute the funds to organizations about which you care. The donor may name the DAF, the advisors, charitable successors and charitable beneficiaries. The contribution is placed into the DAF where it is invested. Within the DAF, earnings and capital gains are tax free. Any time after the initial contribution, the donor or named advisors may recommend a grant to a qualified charitable organization, such as the BSBI Endowment Foundation.  Presently, there are no laws that require the DAF assets be distributed in a specific amount of time. Current minimums for opening a DAF are $5000 at Fidelity and Schwab, $10,000 at the Jewish Community Foundation and $25,000 at Vanguard. 

DAFs and Legacy Giving

DAFs differ in their policies on succession planning. Many DAFs permit donors to appoint successor advisors such as adult children. The original donor may also recommend that some or all of the assets remaining in the DAF go the BSBI Endowment Foundation as part of the Leave a Jewish Legacy Program and as a final gesture of charity. Donors who decide to bequest their donor advised fund assets to the BSBI Endowment, a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, will be honored in perpetuity as a member of our Etz Hayim Legacy Society.

The tax regulations are complex and in constant flux. If you are considering establishing a Donor Advised Fund or leaving Donor Advised Fund assets to the Endowment Foundation of BSBI, please reach out to me at jeffreywasser@sbcglobal.net or Roy Filkoff at royfilkoff@altmanandco.com or BSBIEndowment@myshul.org.

Entering the New Year

Jeff Wasser

Over the last four months the BSBI Endowment Board of Trustees has published multiple Chai Lights articles about Legacy Giving and our collective obligations to sustain, nurture and grow current programs and institutions for ourselves and for future generations.

As we move from 2017 to 2018 in the secular calendar, the BSBI Endowment Board of Trustees thanks our prior, present, and potential donors and supporters.  Prior Chai Lights articles have discussed our collaboration with the Jewish Community Foundation.  This collaboration allows us to offer charitable annuities and charitable remainder trusts as other options for our donors. The Jewish Community Foundation can also provide continuity of philanthropy to support Jewish causes in the future. Our working relationship with the Jewish Community Foundation had never been better and will continue to strengthen as we moved forward together.

The New Year is an opportune time to review some of the ways you can give to the BSBI Endowment. It is also a good time to be certain that your will reflects your wishes and values with regards to the disposition of your assets at the time of death. A bequest to the BSBI Endowment can be made in your will either as a specific dollar amount or as a percentage of assets. The BSBI Endowment may be the beneficiary of an existing paid up life insurance policy. Alternatively, a new life insurance policy can be purchased with the BSBI Endowment named as the beneficiary. Under certain circumstances the premiums for such a policy may be deductible to the extent provided by law. Loved ones can be memorialized with gifts to the Endowment.

In the most recent Synagogue Chai Lights we have reviewed the use of QCDs [Qualified Charitable Distributions] from IRAs, Keogh, 403B or 401K plans if the owner of the assets is over 70 1/2 years of age. It is also possible to leave IRA assets to the Endowment at the time of death regardless of age. The residual of an estate can also be bequeathed to the Endowment.

Over the next calendar year the BSBI Endowment will provide periodic educational opportunities about charitable giving and how you can help us sustain the institutions and programs that have helped enrich Jewish life East of the River.

The tax regulations are complex and in constant flux. If you are considering leaving retirement assets to the Endowment Foundation of BSBI please reach out to Jeff Wasser at jeffreywasser@sbcglobal.net or Roy Filkoff at royfilkoff@altmanandco.com. We both can also be reached at BSBIEndowment@myshul.org.

IRA Assets and Qualified Charitable Distributions

Jeff Wasser

IRA Assets and Qualified Charitable Distributions

BSBI’s Endowment Board of Trustees encourages charitable donations to the Endowment Funds. At this time I will review some of the benefits of gifting Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) to the Endowment.

Donation of “Qualified Charitable Distributions” (QCD)

In legislation at year end 2016, Congress made permanent Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from individual retirement accounts.

What are QCDs?

A QCD permits annual direct transfers to a qualified charity (or charities) totaling up to $100,000 of tax-deferred IRA savings. QCDs offer advantages over taking a taxable IRA distribution and then contributing the proceeds of that distribution to a charity. That’s because taxable IRA distributions must be included in adjusted gross income. Importantly, QCDs automatically satisfy required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the year when the QCD is made. That’s a real advantage for a charitably minded IRA owner who doesn’t depend on some or all of the RMD for living expenses.

What are important things to know about QCDs?

Only individuals who’ve attained age 70 ½ may make QCDs. The charitable organization must be an organization that qualifies for a charitable income tax deduction of an individual. The Beth Sholom B’nai Israel Endowment qualifies as such an organization. The BSBI Endowment will be required to provide the same contribution acknowledgement to the owner of the IRA claiming a charitable tax deduction. Failure to obtain the acknowledgement will quash the QCD. QCDs may be made from any IRA or individual retirement annuity, but not from a simplified employee pension, a simple retirement account, or an inherited IRA. Among other benefits, the use of QCDs for charity may reduce taxable income, reduce state and federal tax, reduce taxation of social security, reduce supplemental IRMMA payments to Medicare parts B and D. Individuals and couples with low as well as high incomes may benefit by contributing QCDs to charity.

Examples of using QCDs for charitable giving

One example of optimizing the use of QCD is to establish a perpetual endowment fund. By making a QCD donation to the Endowment of BSBI the donor may create a $25,000 endowment for BSBI. This endowment may be given over the course of a number of years to reach the level necessary to provide perpetual support of a $1000 to Hineni. By adding to the donation annually the donor could reach a $45,000 over a number of years. This amount would support a perpetual Hineni donation at the $1800 per year level. Details of further possibilities and arrangements for payment can be obtained from the Endowment members or via email noted below.

For further information, contact a member of the Endowment Committee. You may reach out to the BSBI Endowment by e-mail at BSBIEndowment@myshul.org or directly to Roy Filkoff or Jeff Wasser. Remember to discuss this and all other tax matters with your tax advisor before taking any action.

IRA Qualified Charitable Contributions

Jeff Wasser

In year-end legislation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 finally made permanent qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from individual retirement accounts. Because QCDs are finally permanent, now’s a good time to review the rules. 

A QCD permits annual direct transfers to a qualified charity totaling up to $100,000 of tax-deferred IRA savings. Funds that have been distributed from the IRA to the IRA owner and are then contributed to charity don’t qualify. QCDs offer advantages over taking a taxable IRA distribution and then contributing the proceeds of that distribution to a charity. That’s because taxable IRA distributions must be included in adjusted gross income. Importantly, QCDs automatically satisfy required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the year when the QCD is made. That’s a real advantage for a charitably minded IRA owner who doesn’t need RMD to live on.

Only individuals who’ve attained age 70 ½ may make QCDs. The charitable organization must be an organization that qualifies for a charitable income tax deduction of an individual. Beth Sholom B’nai Israel qualifies as such an organization. The charity that receives the donation must provide the same contribution acknowledgement needed to claim a charitable tax deduction. Failure to obtain the acknowledgement will quash the QCD. QCDs may be made from any IRA or individual retirement annuity, but not from a simplified employee pension, a simple retirement account, or an inherited IRA.

For further information, contact a member of the Endowment Committee and remember to discuss this and all other tax matters with your tax advisor before taking any action.

Donating Appreciated Securities

Jeff Wasser

Many people make charitable contributions to Beth Sholom B’nai Israel usually by writing checks. However, there are more tax-efficient ways to benefit the Synagogue.  Periodically, the Endowment Committee will highlight in the Bulletin some of the ways that you can be more tax efficient in your charitable giving to the Synagogue.

If you can, donate appreciated securities.  This may include individual stocks, bonds or mutual funds.   Say you want to give $1,000 to BSBI this year. You hold $1,000 worth of stock you bought years ago for $500. That stock really is worth only $925 to you. If you cash in the shares, you’d have a $500 long-term capital gain, taxed at 15 percent. By donating the shares, you’ll get a $1,000 tax deduction and BSBI will get $1,000 to spend.

So first contact your tax adviser to see if this transaction is appropriate for you and then contact a member of the Endowment Committee if you would like to make an appreciated stock donation to BSBI.

Financial Support with the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford

Jeff Wasser

Each of us plays a vital role in nurturing, sustaining and supporting our Beth Sholom B’nai Israel community. We do this in many ways including attendance at religious events, participation in social action and community activities, beautification of our building and grounds, attendance at educational events and working with our youth. Each of us provides support to our synagogue community in our own distinctive way. As the BSBI Endowment Foundation strengthens its relationship with the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) additional methods of financial support may be feasible.

As part of the spectrum of support provided by the BSBI community, financial support is among the most critical elements for sustaining the synagogue community. There are numerous ways to give to the Synagogue. These include leaving a bequest in a will, a gift of life insurance, the donation of an IRA or a gift of appreciated securities or property. Our partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford allows us to offer the opportunity to consider more intriguing ways to Leave a Jewish Legacy. The opportunity to establish a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust may benefit the donor as well as the synagogue. A charitable gift annuity (CGA) is a contractual agreement between the donor and the Jewish Community Foundation. This agreement can be of benefit to the donor, BSBI and JCF. An annuity payment is calculated based on the age of the annuitants (single or joint life) and the date of the gift. There is a charitable deduction in the year of the gift and favorable tax treatment of the income as it is paid. Funding the annuity with appreciated securities or property may be particularly advantageous. In exchange for an irrevocable gift, JCF agrees to pay the annuitant a fixed sum for life. The older the annuitant is at the time of the gift the greater the fixed amount JCF is able to pay. BSBI would benefit from any remainder left after the annuity made its payments for life of the beneficiaries. The remainder would become a permanent legacy for the benefit of BSBI in the name of the donor or whomever they designate. Sample returns from new charitable life annuities are far superior to the rates of return offered by bank certificates of deposit.

Example rates based on recent recommendations from the American Council on Gift Annuities: (2017)

Age (single life)     Rate of Return (%)

   60                       4.4

   70                       5.1

   80                          6.8

   90                       9.0

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is also an irrevocable vehicle into which you transfer assets. In return, you and/or your spouse or designated beneficiary will receive an income for a designated number of years or life. Like the charitable annuity there are initial tax advantages at the time of trust creation and with receipt of yearly income. Furthermore, BSBI would benefit from the remainder.  CRTs can have either a fixed or variable annual payments.

Both charitable annuities and a charitable trust can provide a) supplemental income for life b) significant tax breaks at the time of the gift and every year thereafter and c) legacy support for BSBI. As previously noted, funding the charitable gift with appreciated securities or property has additional advantages.

Anyone contemplating a CGA or CRT should consult with their tax advisors. For further information please reach out to the BSBI Endowment via email at BSBIendowment@myshul.org.

Leaving a Legacy: FAQ

Jeff Wasser

Who can participate in the Leave a Jewish Legacy initiative?

Anyone may participate by making a promise to leave a future gift for the benefit of BSBI. This includes current members, former members, Rabbi Leon Wind Hebrew School Alumni, and friends of the synagogue.

Why is BSBI engaging with the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) for this project?

The mission of JCF is to assist the Jewish Community and its institutions (such as BSBI) to build a sustainable financial future through endowment.  With over $110,000,000 in assets under management JCF is able to take on financial risk not otherwise achievable by the BSBI Endowment. This alliance and collaborative effort allows BSBI to offer charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts along with other sophisticated financial gift structures to its donors.

Will BSBI benefit if funds are left to JCF?

Donors may designate BSBI as the beneficiary of any funds managed by JCF.

Is there a minimum legacy gift required?

There is no minimum promise level to participate in the program. A legacy gift of any size is graciously accepted. Many people leave a
percentage of their estate, or a specific dollar amount.

Will a donor's name be associated with the legacy gift?

Donors will be recognized publicly
for their commitments, unless they choose to remain anonymous.

Is a promise to leave a legacy legally binding?

No, it is a commitment to provide for future
generations. Donors may change their plans at any time.

What kind of documentation of the legacy gift is needed?

The BSBI Endowment does not require any legal documentation of a legacy gift. However, we encourage donors to share a copy of the relevant portion of their wills or trust documents to ensure that their charitable wishes are properly carried out.

How will donors be recognized?

Donors will be listed as participants in the Leave a Jewish Legacy initiative. If the bequest is directed to the BSBI Endowment they will become members of the Etz Hayim Society. Donors who participate in the Leave a Jewish Legacy program will be
invited to submit a testimonial about their legacy plans for the Voices of Philanthropy - Hartford Jewish Legacies collection.

When should donors start to think about leaving a legacy?

Jewish tradition teaches that
one of our key duties is to make the world a better place for future generations. The time is always right to think about how one wishes to be remembered.

What sorts of gifts can be left as a Jewish Legacy?

There are numerous ways to leave a Jewish Legacy. Among these are gifts of cash, stock, real estate, life insurance and IRA assets. More complex giving opportunities include charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities. Details of different gifting options will be discussed in future BSBI bulletins.

What about the donors’ professional advisors?

The BSBI Endowment in conjunction with the Jewish Community Foundation can work with donors and their professional advisors to plan a legacy that furthers the donor's unique financial and charitable goals. Professional staff is available to meet and consult with advisors throughout the process.

Top 10 Things You Can Do Today To Leave a Legacy

Jeff Wasser

  1. Prepare a will. Without a will you lose control over your property at death.
  2. Leave a gift in your will for BSBI. Imagine the positive impact on our community if everyone made a gift from their estate to BSBI.
  3. Leave a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the assets in your will to BSBI.
  4. Consider using assets for your charitable gift. These include, but are not limited to: cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, term deposits, or insurance. Such gifts may even provide tax savings.
  5. Name BSBI as a beneficiary of your IRA or pension.
  6. Name BSBI as the beneficiary of an existing or paid-up life
    insurance policy.
  7. Purchase a new life insurance policy naming BSBI as the beneficiary.
  1. Remember loved ones with memorial gifts.
  2. Encourage family and friends to leave gifts to BSBI in their wills.
  3. Ask your financial or estate planning advisor to include charitable giving as part of their counsel to clients.

Going forward, we plan to highlight various modalities of giving that may provide substantial benefits to the donor as well as the synagogue.

For further information please contact Jeff Wasser or Roy Filkoff at bsbiendowment@myshul.org.  

Fri, May 24 2019 19 Iyyar 5779