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ACGA Board Member Interview - Cam Kelly, Duke University

We want to take this opportunity to thank Cam Kelly for providing her leadership and talents to the ACGA Board for 25 years as she steps out of her Director role on the ACGA Board of Directors. She has served as Chair of the Conference, Rates, and Frank Minton Leadership Initiative Committees while volunteering for the ACGA.  We are so thankful for her many contributions.

KellyCam Morin Kelly, CFA
Senior Assistant Vice President for Principal Gifts Programs
Duke University
ACGA Board Service 1994 - 2019

How did you become involved with the ACGA?

In 1994 when I was Director of Planned Gifts & Bequests at my alma mater, Smith College, my counterpart at Mt. Holyoke College nominated me to the board of ACGA. At the time, the board was beginning to diversify its membership from an organizational and gender perspective. There were many religious organizations represented on the board, and few women represented which was a different world for me coming from a women’s liberal arts college.

In light of the changing philanthropic environment over the course of your time on the board, how would you describe the changes in the ACGA over the years?

The philanthropic landscape at times seems much more complex than it was 25 years ago as donors hold assets in different ways and are looking for creative gift plans. Still, you can have a strong program focusing on the basics of charitable bequests and longstanding programs where charitable gift annuities are their most popular gift vehicle. ACGA has continued to support the young or small programs while making sure that educational offerings offer more complex discussions and situations. I think we’ve done a very good job of providing a wide range of educational programming over the years, with a special emphasis on suggesting actuarially sound rates for CGAs and providing the latest information on state regulations of CGAs.

What initiative(s) are you proudest of accomplishing during your tenure?

An indelible part of my board experience with ACGA was how we worked so diligently to protect our organization and America’s charities against the 1994 Texas lawsuit. Many gift planners today do not understand how serious a time that was in ACGA’s history and how the lawsuit threatened every charity’s charitable gift annuity program. I am proud of how the board worked proactively in Washington (and through our donor contacts in important states) on legislation that would shut down that lawsuit. I encourage every gift planner to look up the history of that activity because ACGA and its board member organizations spent significant amounts of money defending our organizations and our work. I am also proud of the many years I served as chair of the Rates Committee for ACGA as suggesting maximum gift annuity rates is one of our most important bodies of work.

What impact has serving on the board had on your career in fundraising?

Volunteering on the ACGA board has allowed me to meet extraordinary individuals who serve charities of all kinds from the gift planning side of the desk as well as the business office, partnering to make sure that nonprofits understand the value that a strong gift planning office can add to an organization’s philanthropic efforts. I’ve also learned how legislation is created and passed, from that Texas lawsuit, and who can have influence in those situations. I have enjoyed cultivating a vision that understands and supports all charities doing great work, not just colleges and universities, on a national level.

What would you tell someone who is contemplating becoming an ACGA member?

The ACGA does important work that has bearing on all charities, especially those who issue charitable gift annuities. ACGA also provides important educational resources around all gift planning topics, not just CGAs, and we focus on delivering information that is important for business office partners to have. Each and every member organization’s support through dues is vitally important to keeping this all-volunteer board financially stable so that it can continue to deliver excellent resources and education.