Ep. 02: Giving Through A Personal Foundation

Brighter Wealth Giving

Intro about the episode:

Hi everyone and welcome to the Brighter Retirement Radio™ Podcast. Making your retirement years Bigger, Better, and Brighter means adding confidence and purpose in what you do. In this week’s episode you will hear from two guest speakers, Kathy and Carolyn, and all about how they give their personal foundation. Tune in each week on Thursday Mornings to hear another great episode of the Brighter Retirement Radio™ Podcast.


>> Devin Peterson: (00:00)

Devin welcomes us back to Brighter Studios and introduces the guest speaker this week, Kathy and Carolyn, and how they will be talking about foundation.

>> Kathy: (00:30)

Kathy introduces herself as born and raised in Utah Valley Provo and then moved to California which changed the broadening of what life is about. She went to high school there and her curriculum was focused on secretarial. She had an opportunity to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in England and loved that experience. It gave her an opportunity to have a feeling of what teaching can do to impact people’s lives. When she came back from that, she went back to Brigham Young University and completed a degree in Elementary Education and that became her profession. She lived in Provo and moved back to Provo and taught there all her career. She taught basically three years in California in fourth grade and loved it. But then decided there was too many kids that had special needs that she didn’t know how to handle it. So she went back and got a master’s in Educational Psychology and became a resource teacher at an elementary school.

>> Carolyn: (02:24)

Carolyn describes herself as Ohio bred and proud of it. Following college, she had an opportunity to go to Long Island and to teach. She taught elementary physical education for seven years and was approached by a university in Iowa, Iowa State. She went there to set up a program for teachers that would be teaching children. When she took the job they told her that she could stay for three years, but at that period she would have to get a doctorate degree. That didn’t happen which is what brought her out to Brigham Young University and how she got to Utah. She had professionally met and served with a woman that was just kind of the idea what she wanted to be like. It was really because of her that Carolyn came to Utah and came to school at BYU to work on her doctorate and because she thought you could learn the same things from any book in any library, but people are what make a difference in your life.

>> Devin Peterson: (03:46)

Devin stated people are what make a difference in your life. He explains the conversation for the podcast today and the intention is to talk a little bit more about charitable giving and Kathy and Carolyn introduced themselves kind of on the primary focus of your introduction was some of your background with education, elementary education. Devin states here’s nothing more giving or charitable than helping children and youth to progress and to learn. He goes on to say that the conversation and episode is a lot about a foundation, meaning a tax vehicle to be able to further give and live on purpose. He tells Kathy and Carolyn he would love to hear from both of them a little bit of your background on how they’ve approached giving in general before they started their foundation.

>> Carolyn: (04:58)

Carolyn states she has done a lot of public speaking and never charged. She didn’t realize that this was a way to make money. For Carolyn, it gave her an opportunity to share on a variety of subjects. She also states that she also appreciates the joy in giving. She gave to the American Cancer Society and different places like that.

>> Carolyn: (05:52)

She explains that giving that way was not joyful for her so she tried to find ways that made giving joyful. At Christmas time 15 years ago she started taking out however much money she had as extra in $20 and $10 bills and would go to places where she thought people might need the money. One of the first places she went was to the grocery store where she shops. She noticed a woman there earlier that looked unkept and was on a ladder stocking and thought to herself that the lady probably didn’t want to be doing that but must have had some needs that needed to be focused on.

>> Carolyn: (06:58)

One day Carolyn deliberately went into the store with money in her pocket and waited and waited and waited for her to get down off that ladder. Carolyn waited and eventually asked her to come down off the ladder and at that point had a $20 bill in her hand and just reached over and put it in the worker’s hand. She asked the worker if it would help her have a merrier Christmas? The worker just looked down, broke into tears and Carolyn gave her another $20. The worker just threw her arms around Carolyn. Carolyn thought $40 was nothing to her but saw what it meant to the worker so she started doing that.

>> Carolyn: (07:55)

Every Christmas Carolyn would get $50’s, $20’s, $10’s, $5’s and head out. She’d walk the streets, go to stores where she thought people might be. She then describes an experience she had. She was in a store and a woman came up to her and said, I’m so glad to see you. Carolyn thought to herself that she didn’t know the woman. The woman said you’re smiling. Carolyn said I am, I love to smile. The woman said, everybody walks around with those things in their face and she obviously had an accent. Carolyn said, where are you from? Uruguay? They started having a conversation and Carolyn just felt to reach in her pocket and said, have a Merry Christmas, and kind of held onto the woman’s hand.  The woman looked at it and she said, I don’t need this. I don’t need this. You take it. I don’t need this. Carolyn said, do you know of anybody that might need it? The woman said I don’t know. Carolyn said, you keep it and think about it because Carolyn thought it’s another way to share the joy. As Carolyn is looking around in the store all of a sudden the woman comes running down the aisle and said, I thought of somebody and they are going to be so excited when I get something for them.

>> Devin Peterson: (09:56)

Devin explains what he loves about what Carolyn shared is she not only realized within herself that she wanted to give, but she realized that there’s a deeper way to share that full emotion of giving because, for all of us that write out a $5 check to the American Society Foundation that you are giving, you are giving you’re being charitable, however, it’s the full range of that joy and emotion that she felt and saw that she could do on an individual basis.

>> Kathy: (10:35)

Kathy says she is a little quieter person than Carolyn, but loves to give, but does it with a check. Kathy tries to be very generous a lot through her church donations. Humanitarian aid is included in that vast offerings she helps to help support the needy. She also gives to others like Habitat for Humanity and Community Action Food Bank. Kathy explains a sign they have over their fireplace in their family room that says, “Because I have been given too much, I too must give because I haven’t been given too much,” and she feels that it’s easy to give because of that.

>> Devin Peterson: (11:36)

Devin explains that prior to a foundation both of them have always been charitable minded. They’ve always tried to reach out to the individual, always thought of many organizations that have great causes and felt that through a checkbook you are able to give and make a difference. He then asks for them to share a little about their foundation.

>> Carolyn: (12:32)

Carolyn says she’s always looking for classes to take whether they’re online or whether they’re onto podcasts. She loves to take classes which is how they became acquainted with Devin. A friend of hers said, have you ever thought about a foundation? Carolyn didn’t even know what a foundation was.

>> Carolyn: (13:38)

They talked quite a bit about it and both of us are quite involved in family history and both of them wanted to go to the places of our ancestors and also recognized that they had a lot of money that they were beginning to pay into required minimum distribution. They thought, why can’t they use some of that for some worthy causes? They made the decision they would use it for doing family history. Carolyn don’t speak German but her mother wanted to teach her because she spoke it. Long ago Carolyn hired a woman that did family history for her which made her want to go to the places.

>> Carolyn: (15:22)

One of the things they learned in the class was you have to have a mission statement, which takes longer than they thought but they were finally able to come up with something acceptable. They then had to determine how much money they could put in it initially. She remembers there were a lot of papers that had to be filled and it was finally approved. They then had to apply to the government for a 501C. She explains the day that that came back saying your 501C has been approved was exciting. They then had to come up with a name.

>> Carolyn: (16:15)

Carolyn’s name is Carolyn Joy so the name of their foundation is capital C with the Joy.  When you look at it and say it, it’s see joy and they want people to see joy. They started it in 2008 and had it just for family history and then realized how limiting that was. They then rewrote the mission statement, expanded it and instead of just family history, it involves learning and growth for families and community members.

>> Devin Peterson: (17:53)

Devin asks for a little more understanding of what a foundation is. A foundation is similar to a trust. It is a legal entity that was formed and that’s why you need the IRS’ approval for that 501C-3 entity. It’s an official entity or tax entity where it’s set apart just for a charitable cause.

>> Kathy: (20:35)

Kathy says they’ve became acquainted with a family who had come from Argentina and they were here on the woman’s student visa. There was a husband and three children that had come with her and she was engaged with education at Utah Valley University. She had the visa and she had the schooling, but money wasn’t flowing in. Kathy and Carolyn were assigned to the church to work with the family and serve them and realized that tuition was going to be forever a problem for them. Kathy and Carolyn talked and decided that they could at least support part of that tuition each semester. It’s allowed them to see the joy out of their going to school.

>> Carolyn: (27:01)

Carolyn explains that one of their young grandsons through adoption wanted a nice job, but he wanted to go change into becoming a programmer but make more money for his young family that was beginning to grow. His grandson and his wife came to talk to Kathy and Carolyn and with the foundation, they withdrew funds to pay for that tuition. For him, it was a loan. When he’s ready he will make donations back into the foundation. It’s become kind of a little bank in that sense for him, it’s not an outright donation, but you pay back as you can and that keeps the foundation a little more in balance.

>> Devin Peterson: (33:16)

Devin explains so far on the show, they’ve talked a lot about the excitement of the giving, the benefit from those families as they’ve received some tuition, the opportunity to plan for service by receiving some funds to help them prepare. He explains that he wants to play the devil’s advocate a little bit here and say there is some work involved in creating and maintaining that foundation. He mentions tax returns have to be filed, accounting book has to have a ledger. He asks, “Is it really worth it?”

>> Kathy: (34:26)

Kathy explains that it is worth it and the work is minuscule when you look at it.

>> Devin Peterson: (36:50)

Devin asks Carolyn and Kathy, “What makes you feel alive and what makes you feel very relevant in the world and the community that, that you live in?”

>> Carolyn: (37:16)

Carolyn says she loves to learn. She enjoys finding lectures online, listening to podcasts. I love this kind of learning. She feels strongly about knowing what’s going on in the world. They take two newspapers that come to their home and she reads two online. She stays relevant by knowing what’s happening in their community and what’s happening in their state.

>> Kathy: (41:32)

Kathy says it goes back to the service issue when you’re helping, you’re happy and so she tries to take advantage of opportunities to help to share. She still has that overwhelming feeling that she just reached 80 and hopefully have a number of more years to live, but she has so much and can’t use all that much on meaningful things unless she gives it out. Kathy says that’s what brings her joy is when she’s able to contribute to somebody either in an emotional way or in a financial way. In a loving way.

>> Devin Peterson: (42:25)

Devin thanks Kathy and Carolyn for being on the podcast and explains how he’s impressed with how they show up as a light to each other, as friends and to others around them.