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ACGA Terry Simmons Scholarship Applications

terrysimmonsThe 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 provides scholarships to worthy individuals who would otherwise be unable to attend the Conference on Gift Annuities.

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 was 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.

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 the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP, formerly NCPG), being a founder 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 PPP 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.

At the ACGA’s 2016 Conference in St. Louis, The Terry Simmons Scholarship Fund will be making grants to up and coming gift planners who might not be able otherwise to attend the conference.

The application process closed on December 18, 2015.  Applicants will be notified the week of January 4, 2016.

David Ely
ACGA Scholarship Committee Chair