Welcome to the LACGP Newsletter. This e-newsletter is sent out on a monthly basis. The newsletter provides links to this page. Please see below for the items that appeared in the January 2022 issue.

Balancing an Uncertain Future

By Patience Boudreaux, LACGP President, and Michele Bignardi, LACGP President-Elect

Okay, we’re ready to acknowledge that the new normal we should all anticipate is uncertainty. Maybe we should have been anticipating uncertainty all along, but we weren’t. We had cycles in the natural flows of our work that we had come to rely on – times when we knew we’d be more actively face-to-face with our donors and clients, times when we’d be more office based to focus on paperwork and deadlines. We had our daily commutes that allowed us to draw a boundary between our work and personal lives, and work-friends that sometimes knew us better than our friend-friends. We knew the types of challenges we would face in the general course of our work and knew how we could address those challenges based on past experiences.

All of this has been blown out of the water and created uncertainty about how to do our jobs well. Each of us will have to be deliberate about strategies to adapt to this, but we’d like to focus on how being consciously non-judgmental as we see others navigate uncertainty has helped us adapt in this time of change. People have to make the decisions that are right for them and, because so much of what we’re facing feels totally new, we’ve seen normally reliable people struggle. When you don’t what you’re going to be balancing in the future, it can be hard to accurate project out about your availability or resources. When you’re not in front of someone, it can be hard to read the non-verbal cues which would normally help us understand how someone is adapting. We have both tried to flex our empathy muscles more deliberately in the past months and have found that it’s helped us stop being as reactive to disappointments and instead be more intuitive about reaching out to those we see are struggling.

We have prioritized creating opportunities for members of the LACGP community to be together because we think that the top value of this group is the network of people who we can turn to for advice, reflection, and understanding about the nature of our work. We know there’s tension about the move to in-person meetings – organizations may not want us in in-person settings yet, we may have anxiety about being in groups, our normal work wardrobes don’t fit anymore because we’ve been wearing casual clothes for the past two years – and we wanted to be clear about why we’re pushing forward in ways compliant with local health guidelines. We think that seeing each other and being able to feel the energy of each other can help each of us feel less isolated in what we’re going through and less anxious about how to adapt. Being empathetic can help ourselves as much as it helps others and we think LACGP can play a role in helping to create spaces for in-person opportunities to flex this skill. We will have virtual programming – there’s a webinar scheduled for February 16 already – but we’re committed to having the March 15 general meeting, the newly launched PG201 concept, and the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference in-person in ways that are safe. In the meantime, we hope you’ll reach out to some of your favorite LACGP colleagues to see how they’re doing and let them know you were thinking about them.

Highlights of Past and Future Speakers at LACGP

By Barbara Gunning

Over the past two years as your Program Chair at LACGP, one of my favorite speakers at a General Meeting was Bill Stanczykiewicz, the Senior Assistant Dean for External Relations at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. One of the few blessings of the Covid-19 pandemic was recognizing the advantages of virtual calls, and Bill was able to present to us virtually (allowing him to discount his fee substantially for us). Bill’s presentation concerned how fundraising fared after the first year of Covid (2020), and his insights were invaluable. He explained how it was possible for philanthropy to have its best year ever while the country and the world was plunged into one of the worst pandemics in a century. Despite GDP dipping down precipitously, the stock market rallied on news of a possible vaccine. When stocks moved to new highs in the second half of the year, donors who were invested in the market made gifts to charity in record numbers, recognizing that the need was so great. Also, there were few places for wealthy donors to spend their money: cruises were canceled, air travel was forbidden, restaurants, operas, and theatres were closed. While sheltering-at-home, donors started thinking about the meaning of their lives and their own mortality, and they decided to step-up their giving, mainly to those charities that had already won their loyalty and trust.

Another unique speaker over the past year was Kathleen Anderson, President of the Catholic Community Foundation, who talked about how Donor-Advised Funds can benefit a charity. Kathy also told the story of how she helped the LA Archdiocese create a new community foundation to encourage greater giving among local Catholics.

In 2022, at our January 20th meeting, I am looking forward to hearing Stephanie Buckley, a longtime member of LACGP, talk to us about Business Succession Planning. Stephanie will focus on various philanthropic strategies a business owner could use when he/she wants to sell his/her business and make a gift to their favorite charity. Stephanie is an accomplished speaker and is the National Leader of Philanthropic Services for the Wealth & Investment Division of Wells Fargo. We look forward to beginning the new year with a successful in-person General Meeting at the University Club of Pasadena, while taking every precaution to keep you safe!

Calling All Gift Planning Professionals!

By Valerie J. Bowman, CPWA, CAP
2021 WRPGC Conference Scholarship Winner

Just before the Pandemic, I started my RIA practice after eighteen years in the financial services industry working with various broker dealers. Of that 18 years, 90% was spent advising middle and upper management as well as the recent college graduate for whom I wrote a book on basic financial literacy. I have always wanted my own practice and solely focus on that 10%, the high net worth client with more technical and sophisticated planning strategies. This, of course, includes philanthropic planning. 

A colleague, Cari Jackson Lewis, Esq., mentioned the opportunity to learn and network in this space by attending the Western Region Planned Giving Conference. The first of two steps was to join LACGP, Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners. They are an affiliate of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and an excellent resource for gift planning professionals. The next step was an interview, or should I say, an easy flowing conversation, with the organization’s president, Patience Boudreaux, about my experience and goals, and how I would like to serve as a volunteer for the organization. I am pleased and grateful to have been awarded the scholarship to the WRCGP Conference.  It was amazing! How so, you ask?

The conference was…

  • Professional and well organized

Typically, that is to be expected. However, given that this was a virtual event, I must say that it was as if it were an in-person event.

  • Filled with valuable content including the pre-conference sessions, Wisdom Wednesdays
  • Packed with excellent speakers, both in their delivery and content, even the moderators did a great job. They were prepared and, in some cases, interviewed the speakers in a wonderful fireside chat format
  • An open opportunity to network with the philanthropic planning community (some persons with whom I have since connected with on LinkedIn or via email or phone)

I have always enjoyed reading financial, and tax law and strategies. Attending the conference was so comfortable as I was with like minded professionals. Information received at the conference will serve me well as I seek to become an expert in the philanthropic planning space and the “go to person” to whom other professionals refer their clients.

As a volunteer for the 2022 conference, I hope to be able to assist in making it the success that the 2021 conference was. It is exciting to think about a live event in Costa Rica. Ok, Ok, Costa Mesa, California, a beautiful destination in its own right. With all that I am anticipating and based on the last year’s conference, it will certainly feel like we have traveled afar only to find an exemplary experience in our own backyard.

As I conclude, I realize I neglected to mention the entertainment at last year’s conference, we ate, drank, played and even danced! If next year’s educational and entertainment sessions are only half as good as the 2221 conference it will be excellent. 

Thank you!

LACGP and LinkedIn

By LACGP Board

Did you know that the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners (LACGP) has a robust presence on LinkedIn? What is LinkedIn? A quick search online will tell you that LinkedIn launched on May 5, 2003, with a platform primarily used for professional networking and career development, where Job seekers could post their CVs and employers post jobs. LinkedIn, which has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft since December 2016, has subsequently evolved from being a mere platform for job searchers into a social network which allows users a chance to create a personal brand.

Our LACGP LinkedIn page allows us to share organizational updates, event publicity, and content which often includes helpful links to assist our dedicated community in their efforts to increase philanthropy through charitable gift planning. It offers our community the opportunity to make professional connections by engaging in conversation through comments and connecting on personal pages. Our page launched in late 2020 with just a few followers but is now growing by leaps and bounds each week. At last count our page had around 546 followers. How great is that!

The marketing team is getting the word out there – even nationwide.  Are you a LACGP LinkedIn page follower yet? If not, join the fun and tell your colleagues. Let us continue to build our professional community.  Imagine the great content that will be generated by the upcoming Western Regional Planned Giving Conference. The LACGP website has a direct link to our LinkedIn Page. You will want to be the first to know the latest LACGP news, so follow our page linkedin.com/company/los-angeles-council-of-charitable-gift-planners. Ideas for content or have a question you would like to pose to the community – let us know.

Call to our community – When a question is posed on our page, feel free to chime in – you just might be that someone with an answer. If there is a poll, take it.  Sometimes it may be beneficial to take the pulse on a timely topic. We are all here to help each other be successful and shine in our own ways. Follow the LACGP LinkedIn page – interact with your planned giving community and share your knowledge! The professional development and planned giving camaraderie are there for the taking.

Wishing you all a prosperous and connected 2022!