In our capital campaign presentations you have heard the term “Legacy Giving”.   A curious few of you have asked me “What does this mean?”

Most of the time, legacy giving means giving larger sums of money from your estate your death.  The dictionary defines legacy as “an amount of money or property left to someone in a will”.   

In reality, one does not have to be dead in order to give a legacy gift.  An example of this type of legacy gift is the generosity shown by Bill Gates and others who have given away large portions of their wealth while still living.

A legacy gift is seen as a visionary or proprietary gift.    It is made to sustain a good organization for future generations.  These gifts can be in the forms of endowments, or cash gifts as a percentage of an estate or dollar amount on the closing of an estate.    Universities often receive large gifts to guarantee the salary of a specific professor or field of study.    This is called endowing a “chair”.  

 My alma mater St Louis University is the king of the legacy gift.    St Louis U has a very active legacy program. Graduates love the university, so they give from their estates to keep the university growing. There is almost a competition amongst the alma mater to see who can give the most.  St Louis U has purchased miles of the former dilapidated area of the city and turned it into dormitories, classrooms,  private parks and soccer fields. All of this has helped to transform the area.

What can legacy gifts mean for Holy Cross?

Through estate type gifts we can significantly reduce our debt.   We as a church have never asked this before.  Now it is time.   We have an opportunity to preserve and continue what God has helped us create for our community and yes, our nation and the world.

We all agree that Holy Cross is a very special place.  We are a strong liturgical, confessional congregation in a place that does not seem like it is possible to exist.   Yet, we thrive.  Why is this?  It is both the blessing of God and the constant catechesis and forward thinking of all of our called workers, Pastors Meyer, Jordan, Peperkorn, and Deaconess Boehle-Silva.  We have grown through the generations of elders, council members and congregation members that have worked in lock step with our called workers. 

We are known for taking mission risks and working very hard to see that these risks are given the best opportunity to succeed.  We have been blessed by God with skilled teachers, administrators and school board members that have built a solid reputation with the Holy Cross Lutheran Academy in our Rocklin community.

We are a beacon of light to other confessional congregations, to key members of our synod and our seminaries.   We are known regionally and nationally because of the great reputation of our pastors, our deaconess, Academy staff and our congregational members who are willing to serve not only this congregation but our synod, seminaries, and the mission field both locally and abroad.

 As I travel around the country, and I walk into any other confessional Lutheran church, I can’t help but feel proud to be a member of Holy Cross.  I have been received with open arms and with statements of good will for our Pastors, Deaconess, and members.

As a congregation I know we want to not only keep our reputation living, but keep building on the mission we have already established.  The world needs us.  Our community needs us.

How can you help?

Please think about putting us into your will or estate plans with a gift of any size.  Or, if you have been blessed by God and you don’t want to wait until later, think about a gift that could go straight to our lenders to pay down the debt. 

If you do not have a large estate; there a variety ways to use your IRA and 401 k funds or regular savings combined with insurance products to create much larger donations than you may think possible. 

On May 12th our local Thrivent Representative, Nathan Mahnke, will be giving a seminar that will touch on these topics.  Nathan is very professional and well thought of by our local Thrivent members. This is one of his areas of expertise. I know that this seminar will present giving ideas that are unknown to most of us.

If you have already have placed Holy Cross in your estate plans please let us know.   We do not want to know the details, just that you have done so.  You can just put a note in the Stewardship mailbox or give a note to Richard Schultz or Walt Wismar directly.   We will keep this information in the greatest confidence.

I have personally experienced a young church (just like ours), that struggled with debt for years, (just like we have), burn their mortgage because members used their estates to create legacy gifts to payoff that ugly debt.  What a blessing that would be.

If you have questions, talk to myself, any elder or council member or to Richard Schultz.  We would be glad to help.