Dean Preaches Importance of Philanthropy

Reposted from the Herald

October 14, 2013

By TONY RAAP
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Each year, millions of dollars in wealth transfers from one generation to the next.

In Dubois County, an estimated $688 million will be bequeathed this decade, according to researchers at Boston College.

It’s a jaw-dropping figure, planning professionals say, an amount that could alter the swoop and density of the local philanthropic landscape for generations hence.

But first, lawyers, accountants and charitable groups must persuade people to give away their money.

When helping clients plan their estate, financial advisers need to emphasize the importance of philanthropy, said Gene Tempel, the founding dean of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Tempel on Friday spoke to 73 planning advisers at a luncheon at KlubHaus 61. The talk was sponsored by the Dubois County Community Foundation, which manages the area’s largesse by pooling donations from individuals, businesses and nonprofits into an endowment.

Tempel said that in general, most people give without being prodded. He cited studies that show two-thirds of the U.S. population donates money each year, a statistic that doesn’t change much by income bracket.

The percentage who volunteer, another form of philanthropy, is slightly higher — 72 percent — and about 87 percent of Americans either give or volunteer or do both.

Studies also show that donors start getting serious about charitable giving when they reach 50, but that’s changing because more people are living longer and they think they’ll need more money to get them through their golden years, he said.

Discussions on giving should start with what Tempel called “fulfilling the ethical will.”

Challenge clients to think about their legacy, especially those with a high net worth, he said.. Help them realize that setting aside a portion of their estate for charity will have a lasting community impact.

Clients typically leave their largest gifts for when they’re gone. It’s funny how “people have less need for money after they’re no longer here,” Tempel said.

This also underscores the importance of estate planning. He urged audience members to carefully walk their clients through the intricacies of planned giving.

At one point, Tempel turned over the floor to his colleague, Angela Bies, a professor of philanthropic studies and director of international programs at IU. For whatever reason, some advisers are squeamish about talking to clients about charitable giving.

But studies have shown that people give because they were asked to give, said Bies, who grew up in Jasper.

Brad Ward, CEO of the community foundation, said endowments are “the purest way to protect and preserve what matters.”

“We’re not talking about the next few years,” said Ward, whose organization oversees a $22 million endowment. “We’re talking about the next 10, 25, 100 years.”

Contact Tony Raap at traap@dcherald.com.