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Suggested Maximum Gift Annuity Rates, Quality Training Opportunities, and Consumer Protection Advocacy

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Recent postings highlighting educational opportunities, state regulation and rate changes, and relevant information for planned giving professionals and donors.  If you would like to view our archived articles, click here.

A Word from the Chair March 2018

Valentine L32 Exhibit Booths / 27 Breakout Sessions / 8 Networking Opportunities / 5 General Sessions / 3 Educational Tracks / 2.5 Days of Education / 1 Great City

The above are the quick facts and figures about the ACGA’s 33rd Conference on Charitable Gift Planning to be held in Seattle, Washington April 25-27, 2018.  The details are that, as it has been doing since 1927, the ACGA has put together two and half days of quality education covering the entire spectrum of charitable gift planning for experienced gift planners, those new to the field, and the non-profit business officers who support gift planning programs.

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Terry L. Simmons Scholarship Winners

In 2008, the American Council on Gift Annuities established an endowment to assist promising gift planners with their professional development.  The endowment was named after Terry L. Simmons in recognition of his leadership and outstanding contributions to the ACGA and entire charitable community.  The endowment provides scholarships to worthy individuals who would otherwise be unable to attend the ACGA Conference.  Along with the Simmons family, the ACGA is pleased to announce the following winners of the 2018 Terry L. Simmons Scholarship:



Sophie Davidson
International Rescue Committee, Planned Giving Associate

Sophie's deep relationship with social justice, women's liberation and class equality have empowered her to challenge those which exploit the worlds most vulnerable. Sophie was a former organizer for actions aimed at the 2008 financial crisis and created coalitions to support people affected by financial trauma. Her work fundraising for educational centers spans from an Earth Justice Preserve in North Carolina to gender awareness cooperatives in Uganda and special needs centers in Morocco. Today, Sophie works for the International Rescue Committee in New York City providing emergency aid and resettlement services to refugees. A Seattle native, Sophie graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Human Rights and Peace and Conflict. She's thankful for the opportunity to be here representing the international humanitarian sector.


Shelley DeLeon
Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gift Planning Manager 

Shelley De Leon currently works at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association as the Manager, Gift Planning. She is in charge of all of the marketing, stewardship, prospect management and trust administration for the Gift Planning department. Shelley acts as a back office for three frontline fundraisers at the LA Phil who have the audacious task of raising $100 million in planned gifts by the end of LA Phil’s Centennial Campaign. The team has a secondary goal of raising the number of legacy members from 360 to 625 by the end of the campaign as well. So far the team has successfully raised over $51 million in planned gifts. Shelley is very excited to start using her degree at her job and by the end of this June, should finish building her predictive model for gift planning, which takes information from the LA Phil’s database of over 1.5 million records, and uses a statistical model to provide predictive scores for prospects.

Shelley came to the LA Phil from the Caltech Gift Planning Department.  Before that, she worked in several major law firms, including Proskauer and Latham & Watkins. Shelley received her Bachelors from Brown University and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern.


Sara Golden
Amnesty International, Direct Response Manager

Sara Golden is the Planned Giving Manager at Amnesty International USA, where she oversees marketing, estate and annuity administration and cultivation of legacy donors. She began working in planned giving over two years ago, and is responsible for growing the existing membership of the “Circle of Light” legacy program and increasing planned gift inquiries, intentions and confirmations.
Sara began her Amnesty career in 2012 as the Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director of External Affairs, where she was involved in coordinating the work of the Development and Communications teams. From there she worked in Direct Response, where she helped develop and implement an ambitious and collaborative fundraising strategy and manage a small team responsible for direct response administration and member services.
Prior to joining Amnesty, Sara worked at UNICEF in New York and the Kosova Women’s Network in Pristina, Kosovo, where she co-authored a report titled “1325: Facts and Fables.”
Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in International Affairs focusing on Governance and Rights from The New School.


Yolanda Rahman, CFRE
Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Director Legacy Giving

Yolanda Rahman joyfully brings nearly 20 years of fundraising experience. This includes fundraising roles at Chicago State University, The John Marshall Law School and the Alzheimer’s Association. She has also served as a Senior Philanthropy Advisor for The Osborne Group. Yolanda is currently a National Director of Legacy Giving for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which is her first role completely focused on planned giving. 

An accomplished speaker, Mrs. Rahman has been a member of Toastmaster’s International and has been an expert guest speaker for fundraising classes at Spertus Institute and Olivet Nazarene University. She is also an AFP certified Master Trainer and has taught the CFRE review course. Yolanda is honored to receive the Terry L. Simmons Scholarship and truly appreciates the opportunity it will provide her in gaining more knowledge and expertise in charitable gift annuities and other charitable giving vehicles.

Geoffrey VanderWoude 

Geoffrey VanderWoude
SUNY Canton, Planned Giving Director

Geoffrey C.S. VanderWoude is the Director of Planned Giving for the State University of New York, College of Technology at Canton (SUNY Canton). He has served in this role for a year and has been fundraising for the College for approximately 3.5 years. VanderWoude grew up in Central New York and has attended SUNY Potsdam (Philosophy, Classics, and Literature), University of Colorado – Boulder (Classics), and Clarkson University (MBA). Prior to his career in fundraising, he spent time as the manager of consignment and sales for an internationally renowned ancient art gallery.

VanderWoude takes pride in being able to connect a donor’s passion with projects at the College. For him, there is nothing more rewarding than helping to facilitate access to higher education and opening up the door to change a person’s life. While still very new to planned giving, he looks forward to a long career in the field and helping to strengthen higher education through his work. Outside of SUNY Canton, VanderWoude enjoys traveling with his wife, spinning old vinyl on his record player, and serving as the president of the local arts council.

Congratulations to the scholarship winners!  We look forward to meeting you at the conference.

For more information about Terry L. Simmons and the scholarship, please click here.

Conference Scholarships

ScholarshipThe 2018 American Council on Gift Annuities Conference is fast approaching.  We are excited the conference is being held in the beautiful city of Seattle.  The conference is designed to provide an educational opportunity for seasoned gift planning professionals and those who are new to the world of philanthropic planning. 

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ACGA Committee Spotlight - State Regulations

iStock 681407458 copyEver wonder how all that state-specific information ends up on ACGA’s website? It’s the handiwork of the State Regulations committee! The Committee works continuously to keep the information as current as possible, with updates occurring quickly as it learns of changes. The process is both proactive and reactive: the Committee does its own reviews of the site and reaches out for updates, but action is also prompted by incoming emails from state agencies, or as a result of comments from ACGA members. If you learn of a change affecting a particular state, or find an out-of-date link when using the site, please let us know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Why ACGA Members Renew Each Year

top10While representing the ACGA at the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning in Baltimore, I asked attendees why they renew their membership each year.

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A Word from the Chair - November 2017

Valentine LThe ACGA board and its committees held their fall in-person meetings in Atlanta November 5th and 6th. It was a time to learn what all of our hard-working committees have been involved with since we last met in April and for the committees to receive input from board members not serving on their committees.

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ACGA Membership Reminder

Strengthen your charitable mission! Your partnership is vital to ACGA’s ability to provide:

  • Sound Suggested Charitable Gift Annuity rates. ACGA’s suggested gift annuity rates are the industry standard which adds credibility to your donor relationships and your organization’s gift annuity program. Simply, without it you lose third party validation with administrators, donors, families, professional advisors and prospects.
  • Quality training opportunities. ACGA has consistently brought top experts in the field of charitable giving to train and mentor our members and all who want to attend our renowned planned giving conference- the longest running conference in the planned giving profession.
  • Appropriate consumer protection. ACGA monitors and responds to state gift annuity regulation issues that arise from time to time. Membership in ACGA gives each organization that issues Charitable Gift Annuities an opportunity to have impact on the regulatory process in their state.

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Keeping Current with State CGA Regulations

StateRegsWe consistently hear from members that the State Regulations section of ACGA’s website is an invaluable resource. This state-by-state information recently received a thorough review by the ACGA’s State Regulations committee. This comprehensive updating, performed by the committee on a recurring basis, is in addition to changes made throughout the year as we hear from our agents, state regulators, and other users of the site.  Since the adage “the only thing constant is change” is oh so true, if you learn of any changes relating to state gift annuity regulation please send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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2018 Survey of Charitable Gift Annuities Report is On Its Way

SurveyThe ACGA Research Committee has been busy working on the 2018 Survey of Charitable Gift Annuities Report.  The gift annuity surveys conducted by ACGA are the best source of information about charitable gift annuity policies, practices and trends.

ACGA emailed the 2017 Gift Annuity Survey to ACGA members and contacts beginning in September of 2016.  It was made available through a web link on the ACGA website and marketed in the ACGA newsletter.  ACGA also sent a hard copy mailing to organizations that did not respond to the initial email request.

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A Word from the Chair - August 2017

Valentine LWhile we may be at the closing of summer, the ACGA Board has not been “vacationing,” but has been hard at work in many of its signature areas of service to the charitable community and its donors.

Key among those activities is the Research Committee’s hard work on the 2017 Survey of Charitable Gift Annuities.  Their work began over a year ago as they designed the survey and worked to get a good response sample. The responses received from 409 charitable organizations have been analyzed and the first draft of the report was sent out to the committee for review in early July. The final report will be presented at the 2018 ACGA Conference next April. Research Committee Chair Kristen Schultz Jaarda’s article in this newsletter provides more details about this important work of the ACGA board.

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ACGA - Getting Better with Age


In celebration of 90 years of promoting responsible philanthropy, the ACGA has a refreshed and improved look.  Our logo is updated; our colors brightened; the website streamlined; and member benefits enhanced.   While the look has changed, our focus continues to be on supporting strong and flourishing nonprofit organizations, and nurturing generosity.  Our focus for the future remains on you – our members. 

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A Word from the Chair - May 2017

Valentine LAt the close of the April 24, 2017 ACGA board meeting I stepped into some big shoes as I took off my Supporting Co-Chair hat and put on the Lead Co-Chair hat following Lindsay Lapole’s nine years of outstanding service as Chairman/Lead Co-Chair of the ACGA board. And while he has rotated off the leadership team, I am thankful Lindsay is continuing on as a member of the ACGA board.

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The Members Have Spoken: Why ACGA Membership is Important

SurveyACGA’s 2017 membership survey confirmed why planned giving professionals continue to support the ACGA through membership:

  • Access to information on state gift annuity regulations compiled in a single location;
  • Detailed report on gift annuity rates including rationale for rate changes;
  • White papers on legal and current developments in planned giving;
  • Newsletters with pertinent content including case studies; and
  • Discounted rates to our industry-leading conferences covering all aspects of planned giving

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In Memoriam - Terry Simmons

Terry 2017IMOOn April 3, 2017 Terry succumbed to long term after-effects of an accident that took place in 2005 and had robbed him of much of his mobility, vitality and presence with us.  No single person is more significant to the life and viability of Charitable Gift Annuities and the American Council on Gift Annuities than Terry L. Simmons.

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Charitable Gift Annuity Rates: What Has and Has Not Changed

At its semi-annual meeting in April 2018, the Board of Directors of the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) unanimouslyapproved an increase in its schedule of suggested maximum charitable gift annuity (CGA) rates.   From time to time, we receive questions from members and the general public about how the rate schedule is determined.  We thought it would be helpful to address the nature of the important work of our Rates Committee in this FAQ piece.  For more detailed information, please see our 2017 Rates Paper, which is available to members for free on our website.

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ACGA Welcomes New Board Member - Michael Welling

WellingMichael S. Welling was elected for service with term commencing April of 2017. Michael will serve in the Class of 2020.

Michael comes to the ACGA Board with a history of extensive planned giving experience having spent 24 years with the Arthritis Foundation, including National Director of Planned Giving, for eleven of those years. His experience is inclusive of most all aspects of a Planned Giving program, from the field, to marketing, to management and working with investment advisors in the supervision of gift annuity assets.

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Celebrating 90 Years

acga logo 150px   ACGAColorWeb

In celebration of our 90 years, we've developed a whole new look.  We've refreshed our brand, updated our logo, website and member benefit offerings.

Our members are vital to our organization. The inspiring work of our members motivates us to evolve and innovate new ways to help keep their charitable missions thriving. Our members' support of ACGA helps preserve a long-time pillar of the philanthropic community and its meaningful work.  Check out our exclusive members-only benefits:

  • Online Directory Listing with website link
  • Electronic Rates Report
  • Electronic Rates Brochures
  • Discounted purchase price on Printed Rates Brochures (25)
  • Electronic ACGA Survey Reports
  • Discounted purchase price on Printed ACGA Survey Reports
  • State Regulations Information
  • Online Resources (PowerPoints, Videos, White Papers, Case studies)
  • Discounted Conference and Webinar pricing for all employees of member organization
  • Early Access to electronic conference proceedings and videos (post conference)

Visitors to our website who are not members will be able to continue their access to the rates tables, basic state regulations information and ACGA newsletters and announcements.  Those who are not members may purchase electronic copies of rates reports, surveys, and register for events, but without the discounts offered to ACGA members.  For more information on membership in ACGA and how to join, click here.

A Word from the Chair - February 2017


Since April 2008 it has been my honor and privilege to serve the ACGA as the Board Chair.   To say it has been an exciting and challenging ride would be a serious understatement.  First came the awareness that the Board chair was also the President and CEO of the Corporation.  The fall of 2008 brought a major economic restructuring involving the real estate, banking and insurance industries around the world.

Many organizations went through the process of reevaluating their desire to have a charitable gift annuity program and the ACGA found itself in the midst of communicating risk/reward and giving interpretation to the real liability of operating and shutting down and existing gift annuity program.

During 2009 and 2010 we went through the transition of our administrative management to The Association Group in Smyrna, GA.  Like any transition, the practical implementation took a little longer than anticipated and also told us things about ourselves that we never knew before.  This transition gave us the basis for greater interactions with our sponsors and a recommitment to our core mission.  Our interactions with state regulators increased as consumer protection became a major concern in a volatile business environment.

Our rates work was also been somewhat of a roller coaster between 2008 and 2012 only to settle in to a flat economy for the last four years.  For the first time in five years the economy is showing enough movement to generate serious rates consideration by the committee.  The factors that go into the rates consideration are reviewed on a weekly basis and this is the first time in five years that any significant movement has taken place.

Meaningful ACGA Conferences in New, Orleans, San Francisco, Baltimore and St. Louis pushed the creative edge of planned giving forward and endeavored to provide charities with the new ideas and concepts to expand their giving programs and individual missions.

Just one more thing to do.  Allow me introduce Laurie Valentine to those of you who may not have met her yet.  Serving on the ACGA Board since 2001, Laurie quickly became a trusted voice of reason and professional expertise.  In April 2015 Laurie was elected as the Supporting Co-Chair of the Board and in April 2017 she will assume the primary leadership role of the ACGA as the Lead Co-Chair.  We, on the ACGA Board, are thrilled by her acceptance of this leadership role and look forward to great things ahead for the ACGA and the charitable community.

Thank you and let’s continue promoting Responsible Philanthropy!

Lindsay L. Lapole
ACGA Lead Co-Chair

ACGA Welcomes New Board Members - Class of 2019

With the expansion of the ACGA Board, two new board members were elected for service with their terms commencing November of 2016.  Both Pamela Bennett and Kevin McGowan will serve in the Class of 2019.


Pamela Bennett comes to the ACGA Board with a history of extensive planned giving experience having spent eighteen years at Memorial Sloan-Ketterling Cancer Center in New York with fourteen years as director of planned giving. In 2011 she took her skills to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee dramatically increasing their planned giving activity seven fold in a few short years.  Having spent a couple of years in the practice law in New York after graduating from Vanderbilt law school, Pamela has spent most of her career using her professional skills raising funds to advance the causes of abused and neglected children, AIDs, cancer research and treatment, and other humanitarian assistance programs on a local and international level. 



Kevin McGowan brings his MBA (University of Chicago) training combined with over twenty-five years of experience in the private sector to the ACGA Board.  No stranger to the non-profit world, Kevin has spent the last nine years as Chief Financial Officer for the Catholic Church Extension society where, among other duties, he coordinates the board, committees, and the senior management team in the implementation of strategic initiatives in fundraising and administration.  Thoroughly familiar with charitable gift annuities and other planned giving tools, Kevin oversees the marketing, donor outreach and follow-up, and the investing and administration of the Extensions 3,500 plus outstanding CGA contracts.    

Frank Minton Leadership Initiatives Update

At the April 2016 Conference in St. Louis, the ACGA announced the launch of a new virtual academy with a goal of providing content specifically for business officers about important topics in gift planning that intersect with their areas of responsibility. In honor of Frank Minton’s decades of thought leadership in the gift planning industry, ACGA has named this new effort the Frank D. Minton Leadership Initiatives.

Since its early years, the ACGA has offered a curriculum at its conferences dedicated to information that will improve partnerships between gift planners and business officers, providing practical knowledge on how organizations can maximize their gift planning efforts while managing the risks associated with these programs. From topics such as “Managing the Risk of a Gift Annuity Program” to “Investing CRTs for Remainder Value,” the ACGA is a proven source for solid information to help charities run healthy gift planning programs.

As the ACGA builds out and communicates its planned offerings from the Minton Leadership Academy, we hope that you will avail yourself of the information, share it with your business office, and share your feedback and questions with us. We look forward to hearing from you, and to presenting sessions from the Frank D. Minton Leadership Initiatives at our April 2018 conference in Seattle.

Cam Kelly
ACGA Frank D. Minton Leadership Initiatives Chair