Wistar Supporters Look to the Future with Gifts of Life Insurance

Wistar Supporters Look to the Future with Gifts of Life Insurance

Bruce and Judi Goodman are not only generous contributors to The Wistar Institute; they also put a great deal of thought into their gifts, both present and future.  The Goodmans, owners of Jenkintown-based Goodman Properties, came to Wistar offering to make the Institute the beneficiary of a significant life insurance policy. Since then, they have become advocates for using life insurance policies as a means of planned giving.

“Life insurance policies are a great way to demonstrate a commitment to an institution over a longer period to time,” said Bruce Goodman.  “I think most people are unaware of this type of donation and would be surprised to realize how many benefits it has for both the donor and the charity.”

Bruce first became involved with Wistar through two good friends, Robert Fox and the late Ed Sickles. 

“These are very dear friends of mine and they told me about Wistar, and I soon realized that it was a great facility engaged in outstanding research,” said Goodman. “Judi and I wanted to do something that would provide substantial benefits to Wistar. Life insurance is an approach that leverages the gift over time.”

Robert Fox is also the person responsible for linking another donor, Robert Miller, CLU, ChFC, president of Charlap & Miller, Inc., to Wistar. A life insurance broker, Miller shares Goodman’s enthusiasm for turning policies into donations.

“Life insurance is cost effective and mutually beneficial to the donor and the institution,” Miller said. “This is a way of doing something meaningful that allows the donor to make a substantial gift while still retaining the assets for family members.”

The Goodmans’ gift involved purchasing the policy and naming Wistar as the beneficiary. The annual premiums are paid in the form of a charitable donation to the Institute. Wistar will receive the full payment after the deaths of both Bruce and Judi, or Wistar can opt for the cash value of the policy at any time. 

“My wife and I are comparatively young, and we hope to live for a long time,” he said, “but this is a way of thinking of gifts today that make a difference for tomorrow.”

Miller has put his professional advice into practice buying life insurance policies for several beneficiaries, including Wistar. “This is really a good way to meet your charitable goals at different stages of your life,” Miller explained.

Both Miller and Goodman stress that giving life insurance is not a substitute for other forms of giving. The Goodmans have backed up that statement with a very generous gift to Wistar’s capital campaign Building Wistar, Changing the World. Judi Goodman is also very active with the IMAJNZ Foundation, whose “A Date with a Plate” event raised over $500,000 for the Noreen O’Neill Foundation for Melanoma Research to benefit the research of young scientists at Wistar.

“When you support the work being done at Wistar, you are really seeing the big picture for research, the work that is going to make a difference for people who are suffering with melanoma and other diseases in the future,” Goodman said. “I want to be thinking of that future in a strategic way, and I think that life insurance is an excellent way to do that."


Gifts of Life Insurance Policy

Advice from an Expert


Albert E. Gibbons, CLU, ChFC, AEP, president of AEG Financial Services works with clients to address their full range of life insurance needs. He views gifts of life insurance policies to charitable institutions as an excellent option for many individuals interested
in making planned gifts. 

“There are so many positive aspects to this kind of gift,” said Gibbons. “It’s simple. It’s guaranteed, and it has a predictable value — unlike stock for instance.”

As Gibbons explains, the charity is the owner and beneficiary of the life insurance policy from the beginning. The donor then pledges to forward a gift every year to the charity that the charity can use to pay the premium.

“If you do it this way, there are no real tax issues,” Gibbons said. “The premiums are deductible to the extent that deductions are allowable under the law.”

Life insurance is what is termed a “self-completing” gift, meaning that once the donor dies, the money passes directly and almost immediately to the beneficiary without going through probate. The gift cannot be successfully contested and does not generate any legal fees.

Gibbons advises working through an established, knowledgeable life insurance professional who can help choose the type and amount of the policy, and emphasizes the importance of having a relationship with the beneficiary institution.

“The one thing that donors need to be aware of is that they are making a pledge to pay the required annual premium payments per their agreement with the charity,” he said.

“It also means that it is critical to assure that the product they purchase fits their needs and financial abilities, Gibbons said. “If those issues are addressed, then this is a very clean, straightforward way to make a significant contribution. There’s no way I can think of to improve it, and no downsides.”

To learn more visit www.algibbons.com.