May Insight from Lutheran Giving

Are You Irreplaceable?

By Sarah Callahan, Executive Director, Lutheran Giving

You would probably like to think you are irreplaceable, and to your family and friends, you no doubt are. There is no one else quite like you and no one could ever fully take your place. That said, at some point your loved ones will have to learn how to live without you. That is why you make careful plans to lessen the impact of the loss they will feel when that time comes – life insurance, a will and trust, transition plans and so on.

The same can be said about you to the causes and charities you hold dear. Your passion and commitment to the work they do here is irreplaceable.  But when the day comes and you are no longer here, how will the void you leave behind be filled? Will the programs and activities you care about still go on, or will they suffer by your absence? What if it were possible to make the impact you make every year go on forever? Not only is it possible, it can be easier than you might think. Through an endowment, either one held by your favorite charity or a named endowment of your own, you can create a perpetual gift. Every year, just like you would, the endowment makes a gift in support of the work you consider so valuable. And you might be surprised how little it can take to keep your regular annual gift going forever.

To create a perpetual gift, one equal to your regular annual giving, just take your annual gift and multiply it by 25. For example, if you normally give a gift of $1,000 per year it would only take a gift of about $25,000 placed into an endowment to effectively replace your annual gift. Whatever your annual giving level may be, setting up a replacement gift can be very manageable, especially when it comes from the proceeds of an estate. Such a gift will likely be proportional to your current giving and still only a fraction of the total estate.

Want to give a more specific gift toward a particular purpose, ministry or activity? There is probably an existing special-purpose endowment already created toward which you can direct your gift. If not, maybe one can be created! Want to memorialize yourself, a member of you family or someone who you feel deserves special recognition? For as little as $25,000 you can set up a named endowment. Then every year the cause or charity of your choosing will receive grants or gifts from this endowment in that person’s name… forever!  Although you can never be fully replaced, the impact you make on the world never has to end. Consider setting up a gift today that will last forever.  Don’t know where to start? Call me. I’d be happy to help you walk through the possibilities.

Sarah Callahan is the Executive Director of Lutheran Giving. Her services are available at no charge to individuals interested in creating estate gifts that will provide funding to local congregations, other ministries of the ELCA, and to charitable causes important to them. She can be reached at (402) 342-5728 or The information provided here is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal, investment, or tax advice.