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Philanthropists are wanted in county

By BRIAN FERRY

bferry@timesobserver.com

Anyone can be a philanthropist.

The Community Foundation of Warren County is encouraging people to become just that.

“The past year has taught us that nothing in this life is certain,” Executive Director John Lasher said. “Many of our community members are experiencing unexpected loss and we all suffer from the strain of a global pandemic, lockdowns, businesses closed, a world completely disrupted.”

“These challenging times have caused many people to think about the future, to plan for a time when they will not be here to enjoy these beautiful surroundings, their families, friends, and neighbors,” Lasher said. “The Community Foundation of Warren County is here to help people who want to make a difference in the future of Warren County – to help preserve this wonderful place where we all live.”

The Five Forever educational program is intended to help.

“Set against this backdrop of need is the transfer of wealth that will take place in the next 10 to 20 years, the greatest transfer of wealth in history,” he said. “Over the next 20 years, individuals and families in Warren County will leave close to $1.75 billion to their children, grandchildren, and relatives through their estates.”

“Much of this wealth is currently invested in family and vacation homes, retirement accounts, and other appreciated assets – some of which may be heavily taxed if passed on to heirs,” Lasher said. “To help people plan for the future, their own future as well as the future of Warren County, the Community Foundation is launching Five Forever, an educational program to assist individuals who want to make a difference in the health and well-being, not just of our communities, but also of those who live here now, and those who will live here for many years to come.”

The premise is simple and the amount is small.

“If everyone would leave just 5 percent of their estate to the Community Foundation of Warren County, they can help improve the future of Warren County,” Lasher said. “Five percent is such a small amount, but it can do so much good if everyone adopts this powerful idea.”

It’s not one-and-done – the donation will grow and continue to do good over time.

“When someone gives through the Community Foundation, they can establish a fund in a family name, in the name of a loved one, or in the name of a cause that’s important to them,” he said. “The fund they establish will last forever and grow over time. Earnings are used to make grants from established funds – insuring a legacy of giving in and for Warren County, helping to keep this a great place to live.”

“If all Warren County residents left 5 percent of their estate to the Community Foundation, it would result in nearly $87 million in charitable gifts over the next 20 years,” Lasher said. “That would yield more than $4 million annually for our non-profit organizations as well as the people and communities they serve. All of our non-profits — large and small — would benefit from this exceptional generosity, as would each and every person in every community in Warren County.”

Anyone curious about the Five Forever program and looking for more information is encouraged to contact the Community Foundation.

“The Community Foundation will outline ways for every interested person to consider establishing a fund at the Community Foundation through estate planning,” Lasher said. “The staff will be happy to work with anyone but ultimately the choice is up to each individual. For more information contact the Community Foundation of Warren County by phone at (814) 726-9553, on the web at CFOWC.org, or by stopping by the office at 310 Second Avenue in Warren.”

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