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“Find A Need And Fill It”: Ruth Stafford Peale’s Guidance for Legacy Giving

Category 3: Donate gifts

“Find a need and fill it.”

Ruth Stafford Peale

Ruth Stafford Peale was an author and philanthropist. She was born in China in 1906 to missionary parents and died in New York City in 2008 at 101. She was married to Norman Vincent Peale, the famous minister and author of the groundbreaking book The Power of Positive Thinking, which provided inspiration and practical guidance for faith-based positive thinking.

Ruth Stafford Peale’s quote inspires us to look around, see where there is suffering or lack, and take action to provide help and resources. This call to service applies during our lifetimes and through our legacy by giving at death.

Ruth Stafford Peale’s Life of Service

Ruth Stafford Peale dedicated her life to selflessly helping others. Along with her husband, she co-founded the nonprofit organizations Guideposts and the Peale Center for Christian Living. Guideposts provided inspirational messages, stories, and books to give hope and uplift people’s spirits. The Peale Center offered religious counselling services, public lectures, and outreach focused on positive thinking and its benefits.

Ruth Stafford Peale also wrote over a dozen inspirational books, including The Adventure of Being a WifeOpening Windows Onto Happiness, and Making Yourself Happy. Her books aimed to help people develop a positive mindset, strengthen relationships and family life, find meaning and purpose, and deal with adversity. She authored a book specifically for husbands to appreciate their wives more. She wrote another to help mothers to find joy in parenting. Her works contained positive, uplifting messages to empower readers to be their best selves.

Ruth Stafford Peale also co-founded the Horizons of New Jersey Drug Rehabilitation Center to provide treatment services for people struggling with addiction. She served on the New York City Mission Society and the New York City Peace Museum boards. Even at age 100, she continued serving as a founding board member of the Peace Museum, dedicated to teaching peace through exhibits and educational programs.

Throughout her life, Ruth Stafford Peale walked her talk. She found needs everywhere — from spiritual poverty to homelessness to addiction and racial prejudice. Peale worked diligently to fill those needs with love, care, material resources, messages of hope and empowerment, and hands-on services. She truly lived the ethos behind her quote of identifying areas of lack and taking action to provide thoughtful solutions.

Your Legacy: Fill Needs Through Your Will

Like Ruth Stafford Peale, you can find and fill needs today and later through your estate plan. Your Will gives you the remarkable power to change and improve lives beyond your lifetime by designating charitable gifts from your assets.

Even modest legacy gifts from your estate can make a meaningful and lasting difference to causes you care about. Finding where help is needed – whether in poverty relief, medical research, environmental protection, arts funding, or animal welfare – and ensuring steady resources flow there in perpetuity leaves a beautiful legacy.

Small acts of generosity have enormous reach when multiplied by thousands of legacy givers. The collective impact amplifies exponentially over time. You can be part of this inspirational movement by thoughtfully planning your charitable giving.

Support Your Family and Your Causes

Some people avoid legacy giving because they worry about shortchanging family members. With prudent planning, you can provide sufficiently for your loved ones AND make charitable donations through your estate. There are solutions to harmonize these dual priorities.

For instance, life insurance can cover bequests to heirs. The tax-free payout from a life insurance policy creates an asset that can replace assets going to charity. This allows you to continue supporting your family after you’re gone while also designating a portion of your estate to the charitable organizations and causes you are most passionate about.

Consider making a charity the secondary beneficiary of your RRSPs, RRIFs and TFSAs after your family. Or gift assets like publicly traded securities and eliminate the tax you would otherwise pay on the capital gain.

You can create a trust to disperse funds to heirs over time rather than all at once. Charitable remainder trusts allow you to donate after fulfilling other obligations.

There are many options. We’ll help you fulfill both your family and philanthropic goals.

Significant Tax Rewards

There are also appealing tax incentives to motivate legacy giving. In Canada, charitable donations over $200 provide a more valuable donation tax receipt. 

In addition, a 100% elimination of capital gains tax applies when you donate certain appreciated assets. For example, publicly traded securities, private company shares, and ecologically sensitive land gifted through your estate are fully exempt from capital gains tax. Donating these assets can result in significant tax savings.

Learn how to maximize tax rewards and minimize the impact on your beneficiaries. With the correct planning, you can leave an inspiring legacy of good for the causes you care about while also providing sufficient support for your family.

Take Inspiration from Ruth Stafford Peale

The words of Ruth Stafford Peale call us to open our eyes and see the needs around us. Then, take action – not only today but also through the enduring impact of legacy gifts after your death.

Ruth Stafford Peale’s life mission was to help people. She uplifted spirits through books, counselling, public talks and outreach. Your mission can live on through the charities you thoughtfully support.

Contact us today to explore your options for charitable giving through your estate. We are here to help you identify meaningful causes to thoughtfully support that will become part of your enduring legacy of good.

Making Your Legacy Gift

How do you proceed once you’ve decided to leave a charitable legacy gift? Here are some steps:

  • Evaluate your finances and assets to determine what you can give. Look for appreciated assets that provide tax advantages if donated.
  • Choose charities and causes to support. Focus on organizations that align with your values and interests. Consider spreading donations across multiple groups.
  • Decide on the gift amount for each charity. You may designate a percentage of your estate, specific dollar amounts, particular assets, or proceeds from assets like life insurance.
  • Consult your other independent legal and financial advisors. Update estate planning documents like your Will to include charitable gifts. Formalize plans to preserve your family’s financial security too.
  • Let the charities know about your plans (recommended). They can thank you and show how your donation helps.
  • Publicly share your decision to inspire others (optional). Use your legacy gift to tell your life story.

With planning, you can create a legacy of good that provides for your family while also meaningfully giving back through the causes you care about most.

Making a Difference with Modest Gifts

You don’t have to be ultra-wealthy to make a real difference through legacy giving. Even smaller gifts add up, especially when combined with many other donors. Here are some examples of impact:

  • $5,000 can provide a year of schooling and meals for ten girls in the developing world.
  • $10,000 can sponsor a room in a family homeless shelter for a year.
  • $25,000 can provide 100 eye surgeries to restore sight.
  • $100,000 can provide clean water access for an entire remote village.

When many small gifts are combined, the total impact is immense. Never underestimate the power of modest legacy giving.

Get Started Today

You have the power to continue doing good long after you’re gone. Ruth Stafford Peale’s guidance to “find a need and fill it” applies today in your charitable giving and estate planning.

Contact us to start planning for your legacy. We are here to help you identify causes to support as part of your enduring legacy of good. Let your values and passions live on for generations to come.

Learn how Will Power helps you include a gift to charity in your Will and about the pros and cons of donating life insurance.

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