A Word from the President - June 2024
Written by Joseph O. Bull, JD   

Greetings ACGA members and potential members.  Spring has sprung which means that summer vacation season is not far behind.

Throughout the summer, ACGA will continue to monitor the factors behind our suggested maximum rates and maintain its vigilance on state legislation that could impact the issuance of charitable gift annuities.  Yes, members of ACGA’s board and administration do take much needed time off, but we pick up for those who are on vacation so that ACGA’s work continues seamlessly. 

Highlights from Houston 

The Hyatt Regency Houston hosted the 36th ACGA Conference on April 29 – May 1.  

Attendees were enthusiastic about the opportunity to dive deeper into the break-out session topics due to an innovative, new format in which participants returned, after a break, for an interactive workshop on the topics presented in the initial break-out session.  

Our dynamic opening keynote speaker, Dr. Raj Ramachandran, Senior Partner- Leadership Advisory at WittKieffer, launched the conference on a great note with his presentation, Under the Microscope: Understanding Your Leadership Lens, which also included interactive components for those in the audience. 

It was an honor to welcome 9 recipients of the Terry Simmons Scholarship, an ACGA-endowed fund, to their first ACGA Conference.  Each of them was grateful for the opportunity to attend our conference which their limited budgets would have otherwise prevented them from attending.

We were also honored by the presence of Dr. Frank Minton, who could rightfully be known as the Dean of Gift Annuities.  Frank celebrated his 90th birthday last November, but you would never guess that after a conversation with him.  His vibrancy and dedication to charitable gift planning inspire all who know him.  Frank is the first of only two individuals who have served as President of the ACGA and Board Chair of CGP.  

Finally, we are grateful for the support of our loyal ACGA partners and exhibitors, who made the exhibit hall lively.

Kudos to Cathy Sheffield, ACGA’s VP for Programs, and her committee: Alex Brovey, Jamie Holzer White, Pam Leonard, Rochelle Makela Goodman, Jeremy Stelter, Corliss Taylor, and Mike Welling. The conference would not have happened without their hard work. 

Steady as She Goes…

The ACGA was founded in 1927 to provide actuarially sound maximum suggested charitable gift annuity payout rates, which offer a reasonable income to annuitants and a solid gift to issuing charities.  At its meeting in Houston before the Conference, the ACGA Board of Directors voted to make no changes and keep the suggested maximum gift annuity rates at current levels.  

At a plenary session at the conference, the ACGA Vice President of Rates and Regulations, Dave Ely, provided an easy-to-understand lesson on ACGA’s rate-making process and then announced the Board’s decision to maintain current rates.

Under the direction of our Rates and Regulations Committee and with the advice of our Actuary, the ACGA constantly reviews the variables that go into the suggested rates and will make modifications to the suggested rates when our model and formula show that the time is right to do so.  

Other members of this dedicated committee are Ed Cable, Bob Coffman, Kristen Jaarda, Larry Katzenstein, Shane Leib (ACGA’s Actuary), Dave Libengood, Rebecca Locke, Chris Long, Edie, Matulka, Kevin McGowan, Frank Minton, Phil Purcell, Cathy Sheffield, Melissa Sylvester, Bryan Taylor, and myself.   

Thank you, Rochelle and Edie

The ACGA Board of Directors meeting in Houston marked the end of the tenure of two dedicated ACGA volunteers.

Rochelle Makela-Goodman completed her term on the Board of Directors.  When she started on the Board, she worked at Princeton University, and shortly thereafter, she moved across the country to the Oregon Health & Sciences University.  Despite the enormity of that move and the responsibilities accompanying starting a new job in an unfamiliar new city, Rochelle provided thoughtful insights and hard work on behalf of the ACGA.  We wish you clear sailing, Rochelle.

Edie Matulka announced her retirement as a non-board volunteer on the Rates and Regulations Committee.  Edie provided over two decades of service to ACGA as a Board member and in this volunteer role.  Very few people have the breadth and depth of Edie’s knowledge of the laws of the various states that regulate the issuance of charitable gift annuities.  She has been an invaluable asset for the ACGA’s state regulations work.  We are grateful for all you have done for the ACGA and the nation’s charities, Edie. 

Passing the Gavel

It hardly seems possible, but this is my final letter to you as the ACGA’s President.  Three years ago, I was honored to accept the gavel from Rebecca Locke, and it is now my privilege to hand it to Phil Purcell.   

As ACGA nears its 100th anniversary, it is important to note that ACGA has been able to fulfill its mission over time through the smooth transition of leadership.  In the early years, ACGA presidents served for decades.  Just before the pandemic hit, we implemented a new leadership structure that shortened presidential tenures.  Beginning with Phil, ACGA presidents will serve two-year terms.

Consistency has been a hallmark of the ACGA throughout its history.  Yes, there have been highs and lows, but we have never wavered from a relentless focus on issuing actuarily sound suggested maximum rates.  This work has benefited literally tens of thousands of annuitants and the thousands of charities that issued those gift annuities.

Volunteers come and volunteers go, but the one constant over the past decade has been the work of ACGA’s association executive, Alicia Gilbert.  Alicia is ACGA’s unsung hero.  She manages all of the back-office functions that keep the organization going, and she is the principal administrator for our conference.  The ACGA is one of several association clients that Alicia and her team manage.  But you would think that ACGA is her only client given the amount of time and energy she devotes to our organization.  Thank you, Alicia, we could not do it without you.

It has been a personal honor and professional privilege to serve as your President.  I look forward to assisting Phil and our new President-elect, Nev Major, in continuing the ACGA’s important work.  I also will enjoy helping to define the activities of a newly-created role, that of the Immediate Past President. 

Keep up the great work you do daily for your donors and the nation’s charities, and I hope to see you someday soon.

Last Updated on Thursday, May 23, 2024 12:00 PM