Your act of generosity,
With planned giving, you can provide long-lasting support for the Congregation of St. Joseph while enjoying financial benefits for yourself.
Answer to Prayer Leads to Gift of Stock
Carol Cummins, a lifetime Catholic, describes herself as a seeker. As someone who enjoys creating art, a friend suggested Carol participate in a retreat given by Sister Mary Southard, CSJ, called Come and Paint. After learning more, Carol was intrigued.
"I came from 15 years of being involved in bible studies; what I'd call traditional religion/spirituality. In the retreat I learned about the 'Universe Story,' a beautiful blending of what is known scientifically about the creation of our sacred web of life and new understandings of the Cosmic Jesus and Images of God. I was curious how Sister Mary structured her day and so I simply asked, 'When do you pray, paint, and do whatever else that needs doing?'" When Sister Mary wasn't sure what Carol was asking, Carol said, "If you were given the perfect day, what would it look like? How would you structure it?" Sister Mary said, "Oh, if I could have a perfect day, I would have a personal assistant!" "It wasn't exactly what I needed to know, but it was an answer to prayer," Carol says. As a result, Carol felt the stirrings to offer Sister Mary a day per week as a personal assistant to free her up so that she could make more of her amazing art. Sister Mary accepted.
As a result of her seeking, Carol has come to have a deeper, more mature faith with a different image of God. "I understand that I co-create with God to be the hands and heart of God to help move us humans toward a more sustainable relationship with the entire web of life," says Carol. The sisters have inspired her to live more authentically, more simply, but very rich in many ways that really count. "My consciousness is growing in the ways that I, as a human, use the resources of Earth. I have a deep concern for our future generations," she continues. Carol wants to partner with the sisters to raise her consciousness and that of others in her circle of influence to gently move in the direction of a better relationship with the entire sacred community of life. "'All of creation is a special revelation of the divine,' as Thomas Berry so eloquently describes," says Carol.
It is through this new experience, her relationship with Sister Mary, and the influence of her family, that Carol began supporting the sisters and The Well (one of the sisters' ministries) financially. "My mother and father always had the utmost respect for the women and men who have dedicated their lives in service to educating children. Somehow that profound gratitude had been conveyed to me," Carol says. "There is a mystique to taking a young boy and turning him out into the world as a fine young man four years later. I experienced that with my sons at Benedictine High School. I learned of the financial challenges to keeping schools and ministries going and the necessity of supporting them," she continues.
That understanding transferred to the sisters and The Well. "I appreciated the unknown people who came before me that enabled me to once again experience the joy of being creative. I want to make sure that similar programs will be available to others when they find themselves in challenging situations," says Carol. "There were so many ways that I experienced the love and support of the Catholic communities I am involved in, and I made a pledge to tithe 10% of my yearly income to whatever the spirit moves me to support," Carol adds.
When asked why she chose a stock gift over other forms of giving, Carol shares that the experience of going through a divorce forced her to get a handle on her finances. "I learned that stocks we had purchased many years ago and held had such large capital gains that, if I ever sold them, I would be paying a large amount of tax. My financial planners advised me to use them to do my tithing," said Carol. Carol explains that when her stocks are transferred to charity (not sold and the proceeds given to charity), she receives a tax deduction for a charitable contribution valued at the day's price on which the charity receives the stock, without the consequence of the capital gains tax. The charity receives the stock as a donation. The charity can then keep the stock for use later down the road, or they can sell the stock immediately and use the proceeds from the sale for their immediate needs, thus making it a current gift.
Carol decided to split her gift between the Congregation of St. Joseph and The Well. Having made stock gifts to other charities before, Carol says, "I knew it was simple and was win-win for both of us." Making gifts of stock had been suggested by her financial advisors when she expressed her intention to tithe, beginning at a time when she was going through her divorce. "It was such a frightening time, but I did have a lot of clarity about giving as if my life depended on it," exclaims Carol. "I felt the limitless support of God in my time of chaos and crisis, and I was moved to make this commitment out of deep gratitude," she continues.
Carol contacted the people at her financial institution that handled her investments and instructed them to make a stock transfer of one of her stocks that had a large capital gain, in the amount she instructed them. She simply made a phone call and gave them the contact person at the Congregation of St. Joseph. She then received confirmation from her financial institution and the Congregation of St. Joseph. She kept those documents on file for tax time.
When asked what benefits she sees from giving a gift of stock over gifts of cash and other forms of giving, Carol states, "The transfer of stock is done outside of the budget I've allocated to live on, and it's a tax deduction. The sisters can then sell the stock for their needs."
Carol recommends stock giving for people who would incur capital gains tax on stocks that have had large gains. "It also helps to actually plan your giving on a yearly basis, rather than weekly. I seem to be bothered less by phone calls (soliciting donations). Since I've planned my giving, I can say 'no' gracefully to those appeals that I haven't planned to support. The organizations (she supports) appreciate it, especially if it's done on a regular basis, because they can plan for it in their operating budgets," says Carol. "I appreciate giving to those organizations where I know that every dollar is going toward my intentions. I get to see the direct results of my giving," she concludes.