Equal Justice Legacy Society Planned Giving

By Leslie E. John, partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, and president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

Financial gifts to the Bar Foundation make a profound impact on the lives of Philadelphians. Only one in five low-income individuals and families receive the civil legal assistance needed for critical problems affecting their lives, often putting their homes, families, and livelihoods in jeopardy. 

Research shows that every dollar invested in legal aid yields, on average, an $11 benefit for individuals, their family, and the community. Through grants, programs, and fellowships, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation supports nearly 40 nonprofit civil legal aid organizations, providing crucial services to our city’s most vulnerable residents. Civil legal aid services may help an individual or family obtain medical care that was otherwise unavailable, facilitate continued access to needed educational resources, or enable a family to stay in their home. 

As an individual supporting our community through philanthropic giving, your financial donations to legal aid are life-changing.

With the Bar Foundation’s Equal Justice Legacy Society, you have the ability to combine lasting philanthropy with effective financial and estate planning through planned giving. A bequest to the Bar Foundation allows supporters to include our organization as part of their estate planning for a significant and lasting donation. 

Legacy gifts provide you with many options including the ability to make gifts from a will, retirement plan or life insurance policy. One misperception about legacy gifts is that they are always large investments, but they do not have to be. For example, you may choose to make the Bar Foundation a 10% beneficiary in your qualified retirement plan. This will have little impact on the overall plan but will make a meaningful difference for our organization.

Lifetime Gifts and Bequests: You can make a gift at any time during your life, simply by writing a check payable to the Philadelphia Bar Foundation or making a donation at www.philabarfoundation.org. This gift may generate a federal income tax deduction, reducing the cost of the gift to you. Remembering the Bar Foundation in your will or bequest is another popular method of charitable giving. Your gift costs nothing now but offers the satisfaction of knowing that your legacy will safeguard the Bar Foundation’s future.

Gift of Stock or Other Securities: A gift of stock is an ideal way to expand your giving.

Retirement Plan Assets: By marking the Philadelphia Bar Foundation as the beneficiary of your retirement plan, your retirement assets can be used to make a charitable gift. 

Life Insurance: A gift of naming the Bar Foundation as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy may carry the benefit of a significant charitable deduction.

Charitable Trusts: Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Lead Trusts may yield an income deduction in the year the trust is established.

To learn more about planned giving, please consider attending our CLE, The Complete Story of Estate Planning and Support for Legal Aid Organizations in One Hour, on Monday, May 20th. 

Many people do not pursue planned giving options because they believe that the process will be overly complicated and lengthy. However, many types of gifts can be made quickly and easily. I encourage you to speak to your financial planner, lawyer, accountant, or insurance agent about making a planned gift. The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is grateful for the continued support we receive, and we thank all of our donors.