Did you know that there is a quick and easy way to increase your support of Commonwealth Foundation and help ensure a legacy of freedom for Pennsylvania? Your fellow supporter, Andrew Terhune, recently changed the beneficiaries of his Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to include Commonwealth Foundation. Recently, Andrew spoke with Senior Director of Development Roger Custer about what motivated this decision and his advice for others who might be considering this kind of investment.
Roger Custer: Why do you support Commonwealth Foundation?
Andrew Terhune: I support Commonwealth Foundation (CF) because of the things that they are trying to do with the state Legislature, including educational choice, reducing the burden of unnecessary regulation, and holding the line on taxes and spending.
How did you first become involved with Commonwealth Foundation?
I first encountered [former Commonwealth Foundation CEO] Matt Brouillette at an event that was co-sponsored with the Institute for Justice about 15 years ago and have been involved ever since.
What changes did you recently make to your retirement account?
I transferred management of my IRA to someone new and removed an entity as a beneficiary that no longer furthers my values. I decided to change the beneficiaries of my IRA to institutions that do further my values, including CF, along with others that may be familiar to CF supporters.
Was there a particular event or pattern of events that caused you to focus your philanthropy on organizations that further your values?
There wasn’t a specific event. I will no longer support organizations that are more interested in being “woke” than in furthering my values, simple as that.
What advice do you have for other philanthropists who might be considering similar changes to their philanthropy?
Look very closely at where you plan to be giving, and make sure that where you give is somewhere that furthers your true beliefs and interests. Many people leave a bequest to their alma mater, their church, things like that. I think it’s important that we look at them and try to look for the ones that are going to do the most good with what it is that we have. It’s our choice.
How did you find the process of changing the beneficiary of your IRA?
It’s very easy. Anyone who has an IRA, life insurance, regular investment accounts, an annuity, or an account like that can do it. You can either do it online or get the documents you require. Simply put in the name and address of the entity to which you want a portion of your funds to go.
What have you learned from this experience?
I’m the executor of two estates and not going through probate is big. Each state’s laws are different, but listing a beneficiary makes the gift happen almost instantaneously and automatically. For example, one estate I am doing donated certain assets by designating a beneficiary. It was easy—within a month of when the person died, these funds were disbursed. It never went through probate, and the beneficiaries, which were charitable organizations, got the money right away. The same estate has other assets in probate as part of the residual estate that have not been distributed after a year and a half. If you designate a named beneficiary in an account, you avoid all of that.
Is there any other advice you have for Commonwealth Foundation supporters who are looking to advance freedom in Pennsylvania in the long term?
Don’t wait. You can only make these changes when you are still around. It is something you don’t want to be doing at the last minute or under duress. Contact whoever manages your accounts and tell them what you want to do. CF has the information readily available, and get it done. Then tell CF so they know to expect something when that day comes.
Thank you for your time and for your support of Commonwealth Foundation.