Planned Giving And Philanthropy
By Rachel Calderon
Lately, our community has been through a great deal. Even so, we can always lean on the fact that giving back brings joy, and Elizabeth Brothers brings us that reminder.
Her passion started at an early age. She remembers her parents’ involvement with their church and her father being part of the veterans’ organization that collected used toys for families in need.
“My father refurbished the toys and gave them away at Christmas to families in need and my mom would make homemade cookies for the families receiving the toys,” she said.
She joined a church as a young adult and began tithing, which was the center of her experience with giving away money. She remembers that exciting things started happening to her as a result of giving back.
Brothers left a career in publishing and started working at Mount Holyoke College, discovering planned giving was the wave of the future. “What I quickly realized is that people can give more money away, if they planned now and gave later,” she said.
Gift annuities and other options, such as unitrust and annuity trusts, were available and she began to understand how these vehicles allowed individuals the option to have income now, and be remembered later.
She later began a career at Rollins College as the associate vice president of development. She started building a class reunion gift program and set a goal to reach 100% participation. The class of 1937 reached this goal at its 50th reunion. “The amount was not important, but the participation was,” she said. She also started planned giving programs, stewardship programs, and even arranged for donors who gave scholarships to meet with the students who received the awards. “It was all about personalizing philanthropy,” said Brothers. Her proudest moment was securing the first one million dollar gift from an individual who wasn’t a graduate.
Planned giving allows you to connect your passions to causes. She established two funds so she can enjoy giving back now – one for of her love of music and in particular, opera; and the other is flexible, because she knows how important unrestricted funds are to nonprofits to keep their work going.
Brothers believes everyone can be a philanthropist and you don’t need a lot of money to do so. She thinks the most important thing for everyone to remember is to give thoughtfully and get involved, because you get a great deal of joy out of doing something good in your community.
Rachel Calderon is a marketing & communications manager at the Central Florida Foundation