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The Terry L. Simmons Scholarship Fund

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The American Council on Gift Annuities has established an endowment fund to assist promising gift planners with their professional development. The Terry L. Simmons Philanthropic Endowment Fund will provide scholarships to worthy individuals who would otherwise be unable to attend the Conference on Gift Annuities.

On June 27, 2008 Lindsay Lapole and Frank Minton presented to Terry Simmons a plaque commemorating the establishment of an endowed philanthropic fund in Terry’s honor. Also present for the occasion were Terry’s wife Karen, his son, Adam, and his daughter, Shannon. His oldest son, Jordan, was unable to attend because of work responsibilities.

Income from the fund will be used for grants to enable young gift planners to further their professional development by attending an ACGA conference.

The inscription on the plaque reads:

To assist aspiring gift planners in their professional development.

Created by the American Council on Gift Annuities and his friends, in recognition of his leadership and outstanding contributions to the charitable community.
April, 2008

The fund was created through contributions by the ACGA and hundreds of Terry’s friends. At the time of the presentation, more than $54,000 had been contributed or pledged, and gifts were still being received.

Frank Minton, Terry Simmons & Lindsay Lapole

Frank Minton, Terry Simmons & Lindsay Lapole

Were it not for Terry, the ACGA might not exist today and planned giving programs throughout the United States might be greatly diminished. In 1995, a class action lawsuit had been filed against the ACGA, its directors, and all charities that had followed the maximum rates suggested by the ACGA or that had commingled funds in the investment of gift annuity reserves and charitable trust assets. Terry swung into action, creating Charitable Accord to rally support from charities, drafting legislation, and haunting the halls of Congress until it was enacted.

The result of his efforts was three federal laws: The Charitable Antitrust Relief Act of 1995, the Charitable Donation Antitrust Immunity Act of 1997, and the Philanthropy Protection Act. The first two exempted gift annuities from antitrust law, enabling charities to follow common rates, and the third exempted the commingled funds from securities regulation. Since all of the laws were retroactive, the pending class action lawsuit was dismissed.

Terry also secured passage of a statute in Texas exempting gift annuities from the normal regulation applicable to insurance companies. That statute evolved into the model exemption act, which has now been adopted by numerous states, relieving charities of burdensome compliance requirements in those states.


Terry, his wife Karen and two of his three children, Shannon and Adam, share a moment with Frank Minton and Lindsay Lapole.

If Terry had done nothing else, these legislative achievements would have been a tremendous legacy. However, he has done much more, including serving as conference chair and president of NCPG, being a founded of Charitable Gift Planning News, serving on the ACGA board, writing numerous articles on gift planning, and being a very popular speaker. His annual updates on legislative, regulatory, and judicial developments at NCPG and ACGA conferences were eagerly awaited.

At the peak of his career, having just been selected as one of the country’s top lawyers, Terry was struck by a car while crossing a street in Dallas. The injury has severely impaired his physical mobility and left him in almost constant pain. He is now largely confined to his home and has had to give up his law practice. Yet, he continues to keep abreast of professional and political developments and offer wise counsel as a participant in teleconference meetings.

If you or your organization is interested in supporting this endeavor, click here. Many thanks to those who have already made a gift.


Past Scholarship Recipients


IMG 2683At the ACGA’s 2016 Conference in St. Louis, The Terry Simmons Scholarship Fund made grants to 4 gift planners so that they were able to attend the conference. The 2014 Scholarship recipients are:

  • Matthew Hilgendorf
    Development Coordinator, Office of Planned Giving
    Atlanta, GA
  • Laura Sidla
    Partners In Health
    Planned Giving Associate
    Boston, MA
  • Katy Sparks
    Montana State University Alumni Foundation
    Director of Estate, Trust, and Gift Planning
    Bozeman, MT
  • Julie Wilkinson
    Illinois College
    Director of Development- Major & Planned Gifts
    Jacksonville, IL


DSC 0033At the ACGA’s 2014 Conference in Baltimore, The Terry Simmons Scholarship Fund made grants to 3 gift planners so that they were able to attend the conference. The 2014 Scholarship recipients are:

  • Michelle Cline
    Capital University
    Director of Planned Giving
    Columbus, Ohio
  • Cynthia Oliver
    Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh
    Director of Advancement
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Patricia Roberts
    St. Anthony Foundation
    Development Director
    Carroll, Iowa


At the ACGA’s 2012 Conference in San Francisco, The Terry Simmons Scholarship Fund made grants to 4 gift planners so that they were able to attend the conference. The 2012 Scholarship recipients are:

  • Lisa Bennett
  • Larry Croman
  • Diane Thornton
  • Susan Zellner


scholarship recipients 2At the ACGA’s 2010 Conference in New Orleans, The Terry Simmons Scholarship Fund made grants to 8 gift planners so that they were able to attend the conference. The 2010 Scholarship recipients are:

  • Robert Barr
  • Chad Clark
  • Margaret Hotchkiss
  • Jennifer Jennings-Davis
  • Erin Kathleen Jones
  • Stacey Loomis
  • Trina L. Planchon
  • Bonalynn Wallach