Information on Tax and Estate Planning from the Masonic Charities of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania but once you do, you will never look back. I told Tom to contact our office for his FREE Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) Kit and then talk to his advisor about dividing up his QCD among his favorite charities, including the Masonic Charities. I reminded Tom that if he doesn’t need his Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), then turning it into a QCD is an added benefit.
The Savvy Giver I was visiting with Brother Tom, age 75, at his apartment on the Masonic Village at Sewickley campus. Tom vented his frustration with me about making gifts to his favorite charities but never being able to save any taxes for his generosity because his standard deduction each year exceeds all of his charitable gifts. He asked what he should do to maximize his giving potential. I told Tom he has to be a “Savvy Giver” when he parts with his hard-earned dollars, or his friends in Washington will thank him for sending it their way. He asked me what I meant by being a Savvy Giver. I encouraged him to follow these “Commandments of Giving” when supporting his favorite charities: 1. Thou Shall Give By Qualified Charitable Distribution if Older than 70½. - Hands down, this is the number one way to give to charity if you are over 70½ and have a traditional IRA. You avoid tax on any amount given from your IRA to charity, which is like getting a free tax deduction. Yes, it’s more complicated than writing a check,
2. Thou Shall Consider Giving Stock, ETF or Mutual Fund Gifts to Charity Instead of Cash Too many times, I see donors miss this savvy giving tip. You may have a stock, ETF or Mutual Fund you bought years ago, and you are feeling good about how much it has gone up, but you can’t sell it because of all the capital gains taxes you would pay. Well, for the Savvy Giver, there is another alternative. You can give that appreciated stock, ETF or Mutual Fund to your favorite charity, get a deduction for the current value AND avoid the capital gains taxes on what you gave away. That’s a DOUBLE WIN. Even if you can’t use the deduction, you still avoid the taxes. You can make this kind of gift at ANY age. Contact our office for further information on the Savvy Giver Stock Gift. 3. Thou Shall Always Give up to $300 in Cash to Charity, Even if You DON’T ITEMIZE! - This is another no-brainer. The new tax law permits you to deduct up to $300 in cash gifts to charity if you don’t itemize your taxes. This is like getting a “Free Spin” card on Wheel of Fortune. Whatever you do after reading this article, don’t miss out on this freebie.
4. Thou Shall Talk to An Advisor About a DonorAdvised Fund (DAF) if You Have LOTS of Money to Give Away - If you have multiple charities you want to help over time AND you have the ability to put away some serious cash or stock (usually $5,000 or more) in a DAF, this may be just the ticket for you. I call the DAF the “Savvy Giver Private Foundation.” You set up the DAF, put the money or stock in it and take a deduction (make sure you put enough in to get a deduction). Then, you pretend you are Warren Buffett and make grants to your favorite charities from the DAF; in return, they send invitations to you to attend all their events. You look pretty cool. A word of caution! You can’t fund a DAF with a QCD or use it to fulfill a pledge, so it’s not for everyone. Contact our office if you need more information on this savvy giver tip. 5. Thou Shall Engage with Your Favorite Charities When Making Gifts - Don’t be a passive giver. Be an ACTIVE giver. A Savvy Giver calls the charity and asks them what he or she can do to help, then directs his or her gift to help the charity in a way that satisfies the needs and desires of the donor and charity. That is what I call FUN Savvy Giving. These are my favorite Savvy Givers. They always know the JOY of giving. 6. Thou Shall ALWAYS READ THE BLITZ and Contact Masonic Charities if You Need Help. This is the greatest commandment. Our phone number is 1-800-599-6454, or you may email me at email@example.com. After Tom read my six Commandments on Giving (10 commandants is too long), he asked me to help him decide on how to make a gift to pay for a new outdoor patio for Masonic Village residents. The cost was $30,000. He gave us a QCD for $20,000, which was his RMD for 2021, and gave us $10,000 in Exxon stock he has owned for years. The patio was dedicated in memory of his wife. Tom was a very HAPPY Savvy Giver! Follow these commandments, and you can be a happy Savvy Giver, too.
A New Name, But the Same Great Service!
Office of Gift Planning is Now the Office of Mission Advancement and Development After 21 years as the Office of Gift Planning for the Masonic Charities, it is time for a change that better reflects the mission and services we provide to our members, spouses and friends of the fraternity. Why Office of Mission Advancement and Development? First and foremost, it is important our constituents fully understand the mission of each of our Masonic Charities so you can make an informed decision about supporting us. Our office will also have special materials available outlining the mission of each of the Masonic Charities. Without mission, there is no reason to ask for support. The second part of the new title is “Development,” which is a common word used to encompass all types of giving for the benefit of the charities. Historically, our department has focused on planned gifts for support of the Masonic Charities, but as we have grown, there has been a need for major gifts, special gifts and targeted capital campaigns to support each of the Masonic Charities and their programs. Our multi-faceted department focuses on serving our donors’ desires to make the best gift in support of our Masonic Charities, and that has not changed, but we are expanding the many ways we communicate the mission and accommodate our donors’ different needs. Welcome to the Office of Mission Advancement and Development!
Neither Masonic Charities of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, nor Alvin H. Blitz, Esq. provide legal, financial or tax advice. None of the information in The Blitz should be deemed legal, financial or tax advice or acted upon by any person without prior consultation with appropriate professional advisors.
A Personal Story
Why Being a PA Mason Means So Much to Me Many of us are proud to be Masons for different reasons. When I joined the fraternity in 1981, what intrigued me was the tradition of the fraternity and opportunity for friendship with fellow Masons in my small town of Milford, PA. I was invigorated by the experience and remember it fondly. There is another personal reason that inspires me to cross the country and preach the mission of the fraternity more than anything else. I am the eldest of three sons who lost our father at the young age of 38. In 2001, I was offered the opportunity to lead the advancement and development function for the Masonic Charities. At the time, our mom was retired, destitute and surviving on Social Security in a desolate apartment complex. She was depressed all the time. I learned she could move to the (then) Masonic Homes (I have a fond affinity for that name) on fraternal care for the rest of her life because she was the mother of a PA Mason. I couldn’t believe it! With some prodding, my mom moved 200 miles to Elizabethtown and into an apartment in the Village Green Area. At first, she wasn’t happy. I would visit her each evening after work, and she would complain about getting used to the structured environment of her new surroundings and trying to fit in. This went on for a couple weeks, and then one day, I stopped by and she said to me, “Alvin, I had such a busy day today. I am exhausted!” I replied, “Mom, welcome to the Masonic Homes!” From that day on, my mom flourished at Masonic Homes, and the complaining subsided. She was the head librarian and played in the pinochle club. She went on trips frequently and made many friends. Soon, she forgot about the hard times back home. She even told me she was too busy for me to visit all the time. Eventually, after 10 years in retirement living, her health declined to the point that I had to talk to her about moving to personal care. I was expecting the worst. Instead,
she said, “Alvin, all my friends are up there. I am ready to move.” She lived in the personal care area for five years, then after two months in hospice, she passed away in 2018. The 15 years at Masonic Homes were some of the best of her life. Having fraternal care pay for all her needs, including medical and dental care, took a huge burden off her mentally and physically. My mom’s care was made possible by the many Masons and Masonic widows who left Masonic Homes (now Masonic Villages) in their estate plans over the previous 100 years. This is part of our legacy, to ensure that all PA Masonic families receive the dignity, respect and care to live out their lives fully, regardless of their financial resources. That is why the Masonic Villages is in my Will, why I contribute to it every year AND why I am passionate about my job. Because it’s not just a job; it’s a mission to make sure that future brethren and their families get the same great care my mom received in her later years of life. This is why I am proud to be a PA Mason. I can never repay the fraternity for the great years my mom received at the Masonic Villages, but I can help make sure that future Masons and their families get the same great care. If you would like to receive more information about the fraternal care program (now called compassionate care) and the services offered for PA Masons and their families, please contact our team by phone at 1-800-599-6454 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Our Website or Request Our Latest Information Packets! Visit www.MasonicCharitiesLegacy.org for further information on how you can include the Masonic Charities in your estate plan. Call us for an Estate Planning Guide, QCD Kit or Income for Life Guide. Thank you for supporting the Masonic Charities.
1-800-599-6454 | MasonicCharitiesPa.org
Masonic Charities One Masonic Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022
As Chief Mission Advancement and Development Officer, Alvin H. Blitz, Esq., serves the Masonic Charities of the R.W. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which consists of the Masonic Villages, the Masonic Children's Home, the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation, the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Charity Foundation. Alvin holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Scranton, a Master of Arts degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Juris Doctorate from Dickinson School of Law. He has given estate planning seminars throughout the country and is a member of Carlisle Lodge No. 260, Carlisle, Pa. Contact Alvin Blitz: 1-800-599-6454 or ABlitz@masonicvillages.org