The purpose of the Living Legacy Program is to create a planned giving ministry that fulfills and supports the quadrennial “Living Well” focus of the Council of Bishops. The Living Legacy Program will help strengthen the AME Church and its local congregations by building healthy church endowments and by encouraging people around the world to share their gifts with the ministries of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Planned Giving is a form of stewardship for the future. Individuals generally contribute assets they have accumulated during their lifetimes (savings, investments, real estate, retirement plan benefits, life insurance policies, and tangible personal property) rather than giving from annual income (checkbook or cash).
Planned gifts generally are meant to perpetuate something of great value and meaning. A planned gift is the ultimate gift a person can make, both in size and finality. Most often, a planned gift is intended for a permanent endowment fund. Members who have been giving a certain amount each year to their local AME church may wish to consider "endowing" their annual tithe or gift. By placing a provision in their will or through other gift plans, it is possible for the member’s gifts to be available for ministry—in perpetuity.
The Bishop of each Episcopal District shall appoint a Living Legacy Committee to recruit volunteers who can help identify planned gift donor prospects, distribute marketing materials, visit individuals, and find ways to keep everyone involved in the life of the Living Legacy Program in their District. The Committee should comprise both clergy and lay in the same manner as the Committee on the Report of the Chief Financial Officer of the AME Church shall be composed of one minister and one layperson from each Annual Conference (The Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2000 p. 244).
The Director of the Living Legacy Program will provide guidance and support for each District Committee. The Director’s experience and expertise will be used to develop customized written materials and marketing brochures that will assist each District’s efforts. It is the Director’s responsibility to guide each District through the general terrain of planned giving options and laws.
To the degree possible, each District committee should take advantage of readily available resources. Perhaps attend workshops on personal finance and estate planning, fund-raising techniques and the basics about charitable bequests, charitable remainder trusts, pooled income funds, gift annuities, life insurance, retirement plan benefits, and retained life estate of a personal residence or farm.
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