Verna Ehlers, a retired special education school teacher and volunteer for LCFS always takes her time to think through decisions. "I call myself a muddler," said Verna; "I have to muddle things over before I take action".
A few years before she turned 70, Verna learned she could use her IRA to support charitable causes in which she had a strong interest and belief. She began researching and contacted her financial planner to learn more.
"The more I learned about it, the more it appealed to me," Verna recalled. "I learned that I didn't have to take the entire required minimum distribution and that I could spread it out to support more than one charity. I also found out that I could review my decision annually and make any changes that I saw fit. It was important for me to know that if something came up, I could switch things around. I also loved that by supporting charity, I could reduce my gross income and therefore my taxes."
"Later, when I turned 70 1/2, I was ready," said Verna; "I choose to support LCFS because it's a faith based organization that puts faith in action. I served on the board in the 80's after some of my church friends asked me to become involved. I was impressed and inspired with how the staff and volunteers carried out LCFS' mission and served people of all races, faiths, ethnicities, and zip codes".
Recently, Verna's sister moved from California to live with her. They have been working to consolidate their belongings with the future in mind. "It's definitely a marathon project," Verna laughed. "We decided to combine our resources and conquer the world together. It's a real blessing because in recent years, due to some of my health issues, I haven't been able to get out to church. Because of my sister, I am able to attend again."
Verna encourages everyone she knows to look at their lives and see what impact they have made. "Too many people look back on their lives and say, 'I haven't done anything.' I remind them that in God's eyes, we have all made a difference in the world. Just because it might not have been a big explosion, it still matters. It still makes a difference. It's in the small things, one action at a time."
Verna says her philanthropy is an extension of her values; "I give because God has directed us to love thy neighbor. I am grateful for organizations like LCFS that have the confidence, the expertise, and the experience to do things that I cannot do on my own. Giving to LCFS through my IRA allows me to continue to put my faith into action, to love my neighbor and to make a difference."
If you are 70 ½ years old or are approaching it and would like to learn more about how you can put your faith into action by using your IRA to make a gift to LCFS CLICK HERE or contact Marylyn Rodgers at (708) 488-5557 or Marylyn_Rodgers@lcfs.org.