I made my first gift to SSA after I came to work at the Academy as Director of Development in 1982. As a Development professional, I certainly knew that I could not ask others to contribute unless I did so myself. I have continued to support SSA every year since then because I believe that it is an institution worthy of my support. I will continue to do so because I truly believe that the school offers an educational opportunity which I value.
My initial planned gift was made because there was a pooled income fund opportunity which was advantageous for three reasons: a) it offered a tax deduction to me; b) it provided a guaranteed quarterly income to my aging mother; c) the remainder would be paid to SSA.
Overall, I would encourage planned gifts because there are varied vehicles available which can be suited to a donor's circumstances and needs, while helping an institution like Shady Side. Often, through planned gifts, donors who care about SSA are able to make larger gifts than they had thought possible.
By including SSA in your estate plans you can help to ensure that you will support SSA after you can no longer make current gifts. By the Academy's policy, unrestricted bequests go into the endowment. So, with a bequest, you are adding to endowed funds to support financial aid, faculty salaries and facilities maintenance.
Betsy Watkins is the Former Head of Shady Side Academy Middle School, Former Academy Director of Development, an SSA Past Parent and Former Board of Visitors Member.