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Planned Giving

LightHouse Offers Charitable Gift Annuity for the First Time

Image showing the benefits of a charitable gift annuityLightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, is excited to offer a new way to receive dependable income for life while supporting the blind in our area. Charitable gift annuities are simple to set up and provide you or your loved ones with income for your lifetimes. And after you pass on, your gift will benefit the blind community.

A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract between you and Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) set up to benefit only the LightHouse. In exchange for your contribution of $25,000 or more, SVCF agrees to make fixed payments for life to one or two beneficiaries. The amount paid is based on the age of the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Why are gift annuities so appealing?

  • Your payments are fixed and are not affected by market turbulence
  • Your payments are secure, backed by all of SVCF’s unencumbered assets
  • You may qualify for a tax-deductible donation
  • There may be a potential to increase your cash flow, especially if the annuity is funded with low-yielding assets
  • A portion of the payments you receive may be tax-free
  • Donors might receive a capital gains tax advantage if the annuity is funded with long-term appreciated assets
  • The security of fixed payments can be directed to you or to a loved one, such as a parent, sibling or child
  • Best of all, the residuum will be used for the long-term benefit of our community

Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Silicon Valley Community Foundation provide several options to help charitably minded individuals receive income during their lives. To learn how a gift annuity might work for you, contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or email jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org.

Selling a Home? LightHouse Can Help You Avoid Huge Capital Gains Taxes

For Sale sign in front of a large white houseIf you own a house in the Bay Area, you’ve likely got a high-value home. If you are downsizing to a smaller place, or moving to a retirement community, you may find that that upon sale you’ll be slapped with substantial capital gains taxes.

But there is an alternative. You can use a charitable gift plan that bypasses or offsets the gain and provides income for life.

“Unfortunately, most people have never heard of charitable remainder trusts and how they can reduce taxes and provide revenue for the costs of living, while supporting philanthropic goals,” said Jennifer Sachs, LightHouse’s Director of Development.

How does it work?
The $250,000 exclusion from capital gains tax ($500,000 for married couples) usually does not fully offset the gain of high-priced real estate in the Bay Area.

You can establish a charitable remainder unitrust by irrevocably transferring assets to a trustee, who then invests the trust’s assets and pays you and/or other beneficiaries an annual income. At the end of the trust term, the assets remaining in the trust are distributed to the LightHouse for the Blind.

Here’s a hypothetical example: Rick owns a San Francisco home that he inherited more than 30 years ago when it was valued at $500,000. It is now worth around $5,000,000. If it were sold, it would generate around $675,000 in capital gains taxes. Rick decides to create a 6% unitrust, naming himself as the primary beneficiary. He makes the gift establishing the unitrust in December, which allows him to claim a substantial income tax deduction for that year. LightHouse is named as the beneficiary upon Rick’s death. Beginning the following January 1, the trust will begin making regular 6% payments to Rick. Upon his death, the trust will end, and the remaining assets will be donated to LightHouse.

A unitrust is an excellent vehicle for gifts of appreciated property, because the trust is tax exempt and does not pay capital gains tax when it sells the assets. The full sales proceeds remain in the trust to provide a payout to you or the beneficiaries of your choice. These are complicated transactions but they can save thousands in taxes, and the savings can be used to produce increased income for the donor and a gift to benefit the blind community at the LightHouse.

Benefits

  • Variable income, based on a percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets, revalued each year
  • Federal, and possible state, income tax charitable deduction
  • Pay no immediate capital gains tax on the transfer of appreciated assets
  • Reduce or eliminate estate taxes
  • Diversify your investments

As an educational service, LightHouse produces estimates of the tax and payment benefits of charitable remainder trusts. Contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org

LightHouse Legacy Society: How do I Start?

You have the power to make a lasting impact for the students of LightHouse for the Blind through a planned gift. These types of charitable contributions let you support our programs for the blind far into the future while also providing tax and other benefits to you. An estate attorney can help you determine a strategy individualized to your needs and portfolio. If you don’t already have one, the LightHouse can suggest qualified estate attorneys for you to work with directly.

Planned Giving: Under 40
Your life feels newly supersized with career responsibilities surging and, perhaps, a young family in the nest. You’re focused on the present, but are you prepared in case of unexpected tragedy? Your first estate plan is usually focused on protecting the people and causes you love.

Planned Giving: Ages 55-69
You are deep in your professional career, but perhaps retirement is around the corner—or here. Take steps now to make sure you can thoroughly enjoy the extra time you’ll have to travel and perhaps spend time with loved ones. By planning your estate you can leave assets to your family, help LightHouse expand life-changing programs for the blind, and wisely reduce the tax burden on your family.

Planned Giving: Ages 70+
Put your mind at ease by learning how to make your retirement dollars last. Now is the time to be diligent about updating estate plans, talking to your loved ones about your choices and investing in the future of the organizations that are meaningful to you.

Do you have questions about how to leave a bequest to the LightHouse, want to notify us of your intentions, or learn the benefits of joining the LightHouse Legacy Society? Contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org.

LightHouse Legacy Society: Be a Changemaker, Improving the Lives of Blind and Low Vision People for Years to Come

In the LightHouse’s 113 year history bequests and other types of planned gifts have been transformative, allowing the LightHouse to flourish and grow as a leader in programs to empower the Blind Community. Over 500 gifts from estates, from small to large have been contributed to the LightHouse.

We are now launching the LightHouse Legacy Society for those who have chosen to include the LightHouse in their will, living trust or other estate plans. LightHouse Legacy Society members will be recognized (if they wish) on the LightHouse web site, in our annual report, LightHouse News and on a special donor wall in braille and tactile letters. And LightHouse Legacy Society members will be invited to exclusive events, to meet peers and get an insider’s look into emerging technology and programs for the blind.

As you can tell, it’s an exciting time at the LightHouse. As we grow and aim to serve three times as many members of the blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind community, from small children to elders, your involvement is essential. Our leadership in the field and our ground-breaking programs are possible because of donors like you.

Are you interested in being an inaugural member in the LightHouse Legacy Society? Or would you like information about including the LightHouse or Enchanted Hills in your Estate Plans? Contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org.

Leave a Legacy for Blind Jobseekers

Did you know that LightHouse’s Employment Immersion Program has achieved an unprecedented 34% employment placement rate for blind and visually impaired job seekers – more than double the 14% placement rate of competing job programs for California’s disabled jobseekers?

Employment Immersion alumni are creating a network of employed, productive blind individuals supporting each other. In workshops and quarterly alumni events, working alumni and new jobseekers meet other blind people with a myriad of experience in the workforce, catalyzing friendships, mentorships and a community of support.

The tremendous success of our Immersion Program gained national attention in October when Program Leader Kate Williams, who is blind herself, was awarded a prestigious Purpose Prize for her work founding and leading the Employment Immersion Program. Kate’s award received media attention from a number of TV and radio stations and was covered by Reuters, Forbes, the New York Times and many other press outlets.

Watch an NBC Bay Area video about Kate and our program.

Would you like to promote self-reliance and give blind individuals opportunities to live their dreams by finding good paid work? By making a bequest or other planned gift, you are part of a generous and giving group of LightHouse supporters helping to provide a lasting legacy of independent, employed and engaged blind and visually impaired individuals.

Please contact Jennifer Sachs, Director of Development, at 415-694-7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org to discuss your plans and intentions.

Kate Williams

Leave a Legacy – Free Planned Giving Seminar at the LightHouse on February 27, 2015

Alma Soongi Beck, Esq.Please join us at the LightHouse in February to learn more about planned giving and charitable bequests in an informative workshop hosted by Alma Soongi Beck, Esq.:

Planned Giving: How it benefits you as well as the community

A discussion on how estate planning can help you achieve your personal goals while helping the organizations that you care about further their mission.

Where: LightHouse San Francisco Headquarters
When: Friday, February 27th
at 10:30 a.m.
Complimentary lunch to follow.
Please RSVP by February 23rd to Laura Lee Mattingly at lmattingly@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7309.

Our Presenter: Alma Soongi Beck, Esq. is a Certified Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. She helps individuals, couples and families navigate issues relating to estates and trusts. Ms. Beck regularly gives seminars on estate planning for non-profit organizations and also leads diversity awareness and cross-cultural communication workshops for law firms, Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations.

What is a bequest?
The term “bequest” refers to a statement in your written will of your wish to provide charitable funding for LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is also common to provide charitable designations through retirement plans or IRAs, life insurance policies, revocable and irrevocable trusts, and government savings bonds. Bequests have played an important role in making LightHouse programming possible since our establishment in 1902. Today bequests account for a major portion of the LightHouse’s endowment and funding, and sustain all aspects of the organizations services.

If you are like many LightHouse supporters, you know that the LightHouse is the preeminent organization providing training, advocacy and a thriving community for the blind and visually impaired. Whether it’s a family with a blind toddler attending Enchanted Hills or a senior who is learning skills to remain independent when adjusting to Macular Degeneration, the LightHouse is a beacon of hope and possibility.

Perhaps you have experienced LightHouse programs first-hand or are simply a caring and compassionate community member. By making a bequest or other planned gift, you can acknowledge LightHouse for the Blind in a meaningful way and make a lasting difference for the LightHouse and for your own personal legacy.

Want to discuss planned gifts opportunities or notify us of your intentions? Please contact Jennifer Sachs, Director of Development, at 415-694-7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org.

Planned Giving Seminar Truly Rocked

Last month a group of LightHouse supporters came together to hear a presentation by attorney Susan Dawson from Adler and Colvin entitled “Charitable Giving: Avoid the Chutes and Climb the Ladders”. Susan, in an unusual an highly effective tactic to make the somewhat dry material more engaging, emphasized each topic that she covered by playing an excerpt from a pop song that connected to the subject, adding a bit of beat and getting quite a few laughs. Who knew that that learning about tangible personal property, intangible personal property, substantiation and how appraisals affect tax liability could be so much fun?

Some of Susan’s key points were:

•Highly appreciated assets and assets held long-term (such as publically traded stock held for over one year) are more likely to provide advantageous tax benefits to the donor, often having income tax deductions and capital gains avoidance.

•The law that enables donors age 70 and 1/2 and over to give contributions to their favorite organization (such as LightHouse for the Blind) of up to $100,000 tax free is likely to be brought back by congress in the near future. Contributions of IRA benefits are especially advantageous, as IRAs are a terrible asset to leave to individual heirs as they are doubly taxed, and your heirs will only receive 15 cents on the dollar. The LightHouse is keeping informed on this issue, and will let you know if congress reinstates the authorization of IRA charitable contributions.

Other recommendations Susan made during her enlightening presentation: always be certain to use the correct legal name of an organization, as many charities have similar names (for the record, our correct and legal name is LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.) Better yet, include the organization’s EIN number (like a social security number for non-profits.) Our EIN is 94-1415317.

See the full presentation handout with many more details.

Charitable Giving to the LightHouse enables us to be leaders in the blind community, giving people a chance to learn skills, gain a community of peers and mentors, and live a life well lived. To discuss planned giving options, notify us of your intent or to make a gift, contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or fundraising@lighthouse-sf.org.

Planning a gift for LightHouse

By planning a gift through your will, trust or other means, you make a meaningful and lasting difference for blind people of all ages. Whether it’s a family with a blind toddler attending Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind, a professional learning to commute on public transit, or a senior learning skills to remain independent while adjusting to Macular Degeneration, the LightHouse is a beacon of possibility.

We hope you’ll be part of our future and future generations of blind people.

If you would like to learn more about gifts through will and trusts, or if you have already included LightHouse in your estate plans, contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or
giving@lighthouse-sf.org.

501(c)(3) Tax ID:  94-1415317

Ways to Give

Gifts in your will

You can make a gift to LightHouse through your will or trust. This document provides an example of how you can include a bequest for LightHouse in your will.

Everyone needs a will, even if you feel like you’re too young or don’t have an estate. LightHouse has partnered with FreeWill to provide a simple, intuitive and efficient way to create a will. This service is free—whether or not you choose to include a gift to LightHouse. Visit freewill.com/lighthousesf to get started.

Beneficiary Designations

You can make LightHouse a beneficiary of a retirement, life insurance, bank account or other account. These gifts are easy to make and can be tax beneficial.

Gifts that pay you income

A charitable gift annuity allows you to receive a tax deduction and income for life, while also making a gift to LightHouse.

Learn more about giving options in our Planned Giving Guide.

Gifts through wills, trusts and other plans enable you to support programs, like Enchanted Hills Camp, that have been important in your life. These gifts ensure the future of LightHouse and the life-changing services we offer people who are blind.