Articles of Interest

I Wish I Could Do More

Have you ever thought “I wish I could do more?” I’m not talking about sit-ups, jumping jacks, or push-ups. Donors, volunteers and other “givers” often say these words in conversations about Avow. When I hear these words, I know I’m in the presence of someone who has the heart of a philanthropist. They are alive and present in their giving.

If you had unlimited resources, what type of impact would you desire to make on Avow’s mission and vision, programs, and services? The reality is, we can do more, it just may not be today.

Our foundation team is here to talk about all sorts of ways to give to Avow, and the impact your gifts have on those we serve. Recently, I’ve enjoyed talking to donors about Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), an exciting topic always, but even more so since the IRS started to implement the Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA).

Why are IRAs interesting? If you are someone who wishes to leave a gift to the Avow Foundation through your estate, IRAs are the simplest gift to leave. All it requires is naming Avow Foundation as the beneficiary of your plan. Why would someone leave an IRA to Avow, besides it being personally gratifying? Inherited traditional IRAs (except in certain circumstances) are taxed as regular income, unless, of course, left to a tax-exempt organization, like Avow.

Then there is the IRA Charitable Rollover, an option for donors over the age of 70 ½.

Recent tax reform has made the IRA Charitable Rollover method of giving even more palatable. Many donors give as a method to receive a tax deduction. This deduction is seen in itemized tax returns. On January 1, the standard deduction – an amount that all tax filers can deduct from their income each tax year – was doubled to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers. The charitable deduction is still available for those taxpayers who choose to itemize, but the higher standard deduction will cause fewer taxpayers to do so. A rollover gift from an IRA directly to a charity could reduce income taxes while helping Avow. The qualified distributions count towards satisfying the required minimum distribution for that year. The distribution is excluded from the taxpayer’s income, potentially placing a donor in a lower tax bracket.

This distribution can be very appealing for individuals who may not rely on their full RMD amount to meet annual spending needs and are interested in making charitable donations.

If you would like to about IRAs or other types of giving to Avow, I hope you will give me a call (239-649-3697) or send me an e-mail ( It’s always best to discuss these options with your tax advisor, too.

Thank you for considering Avow!

Charitable Gift Annuities

In 2010, I met a 75-year-young registered nurse working for a Broward County hospital system. She entered her career in the 1970s. I became acquainted with “Lynn” as we worked on a project together. Lynn had come out of retirement that year and had returned to the workforce. While she preferred attending shows, traveling, an occasional mid-afternoon cocktail, visits with her children and grandchildren, the financial crisis of 2008 hit her retirement funds hard. She had to go back to work.

Lynn also has the heart of a philanthropist, generous with her time and resources. I think of her often, especially recently, as I discuss charitable gift annuities (gift annuity) as giving options for donors.

Learn More about Avow’s Planned Giving Opportunities. 

A gift annuity is one of the many ways in which a donor can give to Avow. You make a gift to Avow, in return, we agree to make fixed payments to you for life. Gift annuity rates are partly determined by the age of the beneficiary and can be as high as 9.5%. They also offer attractive tax benefits. Upon death, Avow receives the remainder to support its mission.

Would Lynn have entertained a conversation about a gift annuity with me in 2006, before the financial crisis in 2008? I don’t know. Would a financial advisor have shared with her this avenue for diversifying her investments? I don’t know.

Like Lynn, many of you have honest and open conversations with us about your experiences with Avow and your life’s twists and turns. As so many people talk about economic uncertainty and volatility, I continue to be reminded of Lynn. Even in Naples, economic uncertainty worries people and changes their charitable giving. In December 2018, a time when many people gift appreciated securities to double their impact, many donors to charitable organizations thought twice about that. Moreover, as tax reform unfolds, many are still unclear of the role charitable gift planning will play in the next few years.

The reality is that Avow is an investment. It is our investment in this community. If you live with philanthropic values, giving can take so many different forms. Gift annuities offer two essential elements – a vehicle for philanthropy and a social venture that yields a nice stream of income. If you would like to talk about gift annuities, I hope you will give me a call (239-649-3697) or send me an e-mail. You may even decide to discuss this option with your tax advisor. I hope you do.

Yours in thanks and giving,

Betsy Keteltas, Senior Director of Development

Simple Giving Options with a Big Impact

When the Avow Foundation sends out an appeal, it includes a remittance envelope. These small envelopes are packed with information. Typically, when you donate through these appeals, you generously place a check in the envelope, add your name, pop a stamp on the envelope and place it in a mailbox. It means a lot to Avow when we receive your donations. We know that you care about hospice, palliative care, complementary therapies and the grief and bereavement support we offer to children and adults.

On the top right corner of Avow’s donation envelope, there is a light blue box. Maybe you have seen this, maybe you have not. There are four checkboxes, beneath “please contact me about.” These are brilliant ways to give to Avow. They are powerful ways to build a legacy, and they include the following giving vehicles:

  1. Planned giving opportunities
  2. Donating gifts of securities
  3. Memorial tributes (brings, benches, plaques)
  4. Including Avow in my will.

Gift planning makes it possible for Avow to plan for its future. When you notify us about an estate gift, or wish to discuss a planned gift, we know that Avow will continue to bring comfort, peace and calm to those we serve for years to come. As a planned gift donor, you may see noticeable tax advantages. Planned gifts create a meaningful legacy and a meaningful future.

At times planned gifts may seem complex. The reality, though, is that the simplest options can make a very large impact on the mission, vision and future of Avow.

Are you updating your will and considering naming Avow Foundation as a beneficiary? Thank you! Below you will find sample bequest language that you can provide your attorney. Recently, I updated my life insurance beneficiaries, a simple step, to include the Avow Foundation; I will be doing the same with my IRA and other retirement plans. It is incredible how simple gift planning can be.

The good news, many irrevocable planned gifts can let a donor see the impact of their gift while they are living. The Frances Georgeson Hospice House is an example of this. Established 15 years ago, many of these campaign donors gave through irrevocable trusts and they see their impact, now, while Avow will receive those funds later.

Wishing you a joyous and healthy 2019. I am looking forward to many conversations about legacy and gift planning for Avow in the years ahead.

Betsy Keteltas, Senior Director of Development

Sample Bequest Language:

Remainder of Estate*

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the Avow Foundation, Inc. TAX I.D. #46-5736467, all [or state the fraction or percentage] of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal. The Avow Foundation may be contacted at 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105, 239-261-4404.”

Specific Amount*

“I give, devise, and bequeath $_____ to the Avow Foundation, Inc. TAX I.D. #46-5736467. The Avow Foundation may be contacted at 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105, 239-261-4404.”

*This material has been prepared for information purposes only. Please consult your tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your tax and estate planning needs.

A Planning Perspective

In the second grade, the summer of 1982, I swam in the Cystic Fibrosis Aquathon with a 20-lap goal. Prior to the Aquathon, I walked door-to-door seeking pledges from my neighbors. Mr. Anderson promised to give a dollar a lap, while others pledged nickels, dimes, and quarters. I remember Mr. Anderson informed me: “Betsy, you can’t swim 20 laps.” I swam 82 laps. That same night I heard my mom on the phone letting Mr. Anderson know he did not have to give $82. The neighbors fulfilled their commitments, even Mr. Anderson. He told me, amidst laughter, “I learned my lesson.”

As fundraising professionals, our Avow Foundation team prefers that neighborly feeling of knowing our supporters. In the next six weeks, each one of us will experience impersonal solicitations through e-mails and mailings. In some cases, our names will be misspelled. Salutations on letters will reflect loved ones lost, the letters will pile up, offering opportunities for charitable tax deductions, while nobody truly knows our personal tax situations. This is what we do, as 501(c)3 organizations, it is the nature of the fundraising beast at the end of the calendar year. We want all giving opportunities to be personal, none-the-less, impersonal solicitations remain a part of the process, with our genuine attempts to connect with so many people.

Knowing our donors is important as we plan for Avow’s future through collaborative gift planning. We see an invitation to take a seat at the table with you, your estate attorneys, CPAs, and/or wealth managers as an honor and a privilege. Your interest in gift planning with Avow is a motivating reflection of the importance of our mission, and we see your interest as a representation of your interests, values, and beliefs as donors.

Indeed, a click of the button online or a check in the mail is an excellent way to support Avow. We appreciate every penny given towards our mission and efforts. Please know, though, we welcome the opportunity to discuss bequests, estate plan gifts, life income gifts, charitable lead trusts, and other opportunities. Avow appreciates your friendship and the chance to plan for our futures, together.

At this point, I should include a link to our website (and I will): “Learn More about Avow’s Planned Giving Opportunities.”  Alas, call me realistic or old-fashioned, these gift planning charts are also impersonal; if Avow’s work inspires you, if Avow’s future is important to you, and a gift planning opportunity is right for you, I hope you will call me. Here’s my direct phone number: (239) 649-3697. Let’s have an honest and authentic discussion about your gift planning needs and Avow’s obligations as an organization. Let’s become good neighbors.

Betsy Keteltas
Senior Director of Development

P.S. We could use your support in any way. By clicking this link you will be connected to a philanthropic opportunity, our online giving page. We are so much more because of you.

Six General Charitable Giving Considerations

Contact Avow for complimentary copies of “Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform” and the “2018 Federal Tax Pocket Guide.” These independently produced booklets provide insight to help make your charitable gifts cost-effective under the new tax law.

Confirm a charity’s nonprofit tax-exempt status by using the IRS online search tool, “Tax Exempt Organization Search.” Avow is a not for profit 501(c) 3 organization registered in the State of Florida.

Consider a direct charitable rollover of your IRA’s required minimum distribution – by excluding up to $100,000 from gross income, it is effectively deducted.

Consider gifting appreciated securities. You may receive a full fair market value deduction and eliminate the need to pay capital gains taxes on the appreciated securities given to charity. For example, a few shares of highly appreciated Amazon stock would name a bench on the Avow campus in honor/memory of someone you love.

Visit, a free service, where nonprofit 990 tax returns are available for review. You can visit Avow’s Guidestar page by visiting here. Transparency is important to us.

Double check your records from your 2018 donations. Donations of $250 or more require a written acknowledgment from the charity containing the date and the amount of the donation. Avow sends tax letters for all donations greater than $1.