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The Gift That Grows

May 11, 2015
For Judy Kutz and her two sisters, JoAnne Huney and Suzan Huney, honoring their parents by creating the Alice and Judd Huney donor-advised fund seemed like the perfect way to continue a legacy of community and church involvement. What they hadn’t expected when they established the fund in 2008 was how much enjoyment they would get out of doing it – and how the gift would multiply.
 
Kutz and her sisters inherited their parents’ modest but significant savings. “The more we thought about it,” remembered Kutz, “the more we wanted to do something substantial to honor who they were and the kind of work they did.”
 
Their parents were both children of the depression. Their mother was from a large family in North Dakota and at 13 their father lost his own father. “He and my mom came out to the west coast from the Midwest during World War II,” shared Kutz. After the war ended, they started a small store on Washington state’s Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound where Kutz’s father was a charter member of the Rotary Club, part of the Chamber of Commerce, and active in community life, later involved in the church community. “My mother was one of the most forward-looking progressive people I can think of,” remembered Kutz. “She was a good listener – the kind of person that people loved to talk to,” she said.  “Mom was always very  active  in  the  church,” explained Judy Kutz. You name it she did it – from being a deacon to a camp counselor to a Stephen Minister.
 
Kutz and her sisters wanted to find a way to honor their parents and continue their legacy. Kutz contacted the Foundation’s local representative to discuss possible options.  The sisters decided to set up a donor-advised fund that would, after an initial gift, allow them to disperse the funds when and where they saw fit to do so.


Sisters Judy Kutz, Suzan Huney and JoAnne Huney enjoy lunch. Together they decide on ministries to receive grants from the Alice and Judd Huney Creative Gift Fund.
 
The donor-advised fund with the Presbyterian Foundation, is a flexible and informed way to create a lasting legacy. The donor(s) make grant recommendations to those ministries they wish to support, they decide the amount of the grant and when the grant is made. They can set up recurring grants to a specific ministry to continue support on a regular basis.
 
The sisters decided that they would make grant recommendations from the fund on an annual basis over the course of a decade. But after the first year of the fund, they were in for a surprise.
 
“We discovered that we had more money in our fund than we had after giving the initial gift,” explained Kutz. “It was quite an amazing thing!” That amazement has continued each year since, despite the overall economic downturn.*
 
“Each year we have granted more money, but each year it continues to grow,” explained Kutz.
 
When it comes time to make grants each year, the sisters coordinate via telephone to determine the ministry they would like to support. Some of the recipients have included the Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church (the church their parents attended), Friends of Tent of Nations, Hurricane Sandy relief, and an orphanage in Haiti.


One of the key advantages of the Creative Gift Fund is the ability to respond to various needs, whether local or global. The Huney sisters have made grants to support an orphanage in Haiti.

 
“The really exciting part of giving using the donor advised fund is that there are so many opportunities out there for giving that we didn’t know about,” shared Kutz. She and her sisters use the Foundation’s website frequently to find out about programs and opportunities.
 
“It has been nice for us to be able to direct the funds, since ours was a memorial to continue our parents’ work,” she said. “Initially I thought we were going to make a donation and that would kind of end it,” continued Kutz. The ongoing nature of the fund has changed not just the way she looks at giving, but mission as well, as she has found herself researching the work of the organizations that will receive funds.
 
At the beginning, Kutz was concerned that if they were to make larger grants that there would not be anything left to give at the end of the 10-year commitment. It has been exciting for her to see how the fund continues to grow.
 
“The part that has been the most rewarding for me is that it has been ongoing,” said Kutz. “It’s not just a gift you forget about.” Instead, every year as they meet and discuss the grants, it is an opportunity for the sisters to think about their parents and how they can continue their legacy.
 
“My husband and I are in the process of redoing our will and this is something that we are adding to it so that our own children can do it as well,” said Kutz.  The legacy, it seems, will continue.
 
To learn more about the donor-advised fund contact your regional Ministry Relations Officer or click here to find the MRO serving your area.
 
* Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate and current market performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted.
 
 
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