Heidi and Christina Speak at the SUNY Plattsburgh Legacy Giving Event

May 14, 2021 | Filed under: Newsroom, Community_NY-VT


On April 26th, 2021 Heidi Clute and Christina Ubl were the keynote speakers for the SUNY Plattsburgh Legacy Giving Event, held virtually to educate attendees about the options available to people when looking to give a legacy gift to the college, as well as honoring Heidi's generous contribution to the school. We'll be updating this page with a video recording of Heidi and Christina's keynote presentation soon! (Page updated with video 6/14/21)


You can read the script for their presentation below:

(Heidi Clute Speaking)

Thank you for this opportunity to discuss philanthropy strategies. We are honored to spend this time with you.

I would like to begin with what we do, Why we give to PSUC (both personally & professionally), and some options & benefits for giving.

What does CWM do

We are a full-service financial planning firm we specialize in working with women & couples in transition align their money with their goals. From helping with estate planning, investment, retirement readiness, business planning, & establishing planned giving strategy.

I would like to share my story, My Why PSUC is an important part of my legacy plan. I was on my own at age 15, I worked multiple jobs in high school as a result my grades suffered. Had it not been for thoughtful philanthropists that gave me a scholarship as well as EOP geared for educationally and economically disadvantaged I would have never had an opportunity to attend PSUC. What a game changing event & life altering opportunity that was created for me by some thoughtful individuals. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been without it.

I went on to get my CFP, establish a FS FP firm in Plattsburgh & South Burlington Vermont for the last 41yrs. I hired 2 graduates from PSUC one 20yrs ago Christina who is my partner and Co-owner of CWM, as well as an international student Akemi from Japan who has been with the firm for 21yrs.

We enjoy supporting PSUC in a variety of ways by hiring graduates, provide internship opportunities for students as well as job shadowing.

I established a perpetual scholarship fund thru PSUC. I contribute to yearly. I also made PSUC part of my legacy strategy. It gives me joy to create a legacy & I am grateful to help others to make a difference. One of the most powerful gifts is a gift of an education.

(Christina Speaking)

Like Heidi, I attended SUNY Plattsburgh as an EOP student – while I had decent grades in school, I was economically disadvantaged (my sister & I were raised by our single mother). And like most of us here, the opportunities that were provided to me, have taught me to “pay it forward”. Whether that’s in the form of time, money or a combination of both, giving has a way of becoming part of our everyday life because it’s tied to our values. For instance, my strongest values are tied to helping women & young adults. Women because I watched my mother struggle raising two daughters on her own without financial help from anyone. She worked multiple jobs, spent much of her time traveling to & from work, and missed out on a lot. However, she made sure that we had opportunities that she didn’t – but she still struggles today. The fact that we specialize in “providing financial strategies for women in transition” is unquestionably tied to my values. Young adults are equally as important to me as I remember the struggle of navigating through the years without much guidance – and not really understanding the impact of some financial decisions on my future. So since graduating in 1999, I’ve been back to SUNY Plattsburgh many times to talk with students about everything from financial choices to my personal path & opportunities, and even mentoring. Mentoring became so important to us as a firm that that’s what led us to provide SUNY Plattsburgh students internship opportunities.

So, while we’re here today to discuss the financial aspects of giving, it’s important for us to acknowledge that giving of time is equally beneficial for the school & the students.

(Heidi speaking)

Philanthropy, or charitable giving, has always been part of our conversation with clients. However, over the past year a number of our clients expressed an increased interest to learn more about gifting options & optimal timing for planning their legacy. This isn’t unique to just our clients, according to a survey of 32 community foundations, philanthropy has increased 80% year-over-year during the pandemic. And while each client’s journey and “why” are distinctive, as we listen & explore their wishes, we hear many of the same questions. But the most common question is: when should I/we give?

Three basic options when you consider when & how to make a gift.

  1. 1. Give Now
  2. Give over time
  3. give after you die (legacy).

Christina & I help our clients with legacy planning we would like to go over some strategies at a high level that you may find helpful.

Giving now: Cash

I like to gift non-qualified or after-tax investments that have appreciated. By gifting appreciated investments you don’t have to pay income tax on the gain. And may be able to get an income tax deduction by giving to a qualified charity/nonprofit. The good news is the nonprofit will not have to pay income tax on the appreciated asset they receive the gift income tax free.

(Christina speaking)

Over time: You can give over time, make annual and or periodic gifts

If over 70 ½, you can make distributions directly to a 501c3 organization from your IRA – these can count as a gift (similar to writing a check to an organization), while also potentially minimizing taxes since the distribution won’t be included in your taxable income. This is called a qualified charitable distribution (or QCD). You minimize paying tax on the gift, so does the nonprofit. This is especially attractive for people who no longer itemize tax deductions due to the higher standard deductions.

There are also more complex ways to give over time – such as using charitable trusts or Donor Advised Funds (DAF’s). SUNY Plattsburgh has even had the opportunity to be a part of a couple of charitable trusts, but in the interest of time, we’ll save these conversations for either another get-together or a one-on-one meeting.

(Heidi speaking)

Legacy gifts

One of the simplest & common gifting options: bequests thru a will or trust and beneficiary designations.

You can name the nonprofit as a beneficiary of your:

  • IRAs
  • Bank and or brokerage accounts
  • Life insurance and or annuities easy to do you just update your beneficiary designation.

Determine if a Planned giving strategy will work for you.

Making charitable gifts during life or death as part of your overall financial or estate plan.

You can make gifts of your assets rather than current cash flow may be more desirable.

Most commonly, a future gift that does not affect your current financial security.

People give because they are motivated by a desire to make an enduring impact on a cause they are passionate about.

(Christina speaking)

Everyone needs to know their “why” for doing something – including charitable giving. Maybe it’s because of something in their lives (like me & Heidi) or something as simple as the economic benefits such as:

  • Tax savings (income, capital gains, Gift & estate)
  • Asset diversification & risk reduction
  • Unlocking income from underperforming assets
  • Retirement buildup
  • Investments in a tax-free environment
  • Wealth transfer at a reduced tax
  • Improved prospects of family wealth succession

Whatever your why is, we recommend talking to your family about it. Not only will they possibly want to get involved with your passion now, they’ll understand why it’s so important to you. And in understanding it, they’ll want to honor that legacy for you when you no longer can.

Advisors provides services through LPL Financial who does not provide tax/legal advice. Clients should consult with their personal tax/legal advisors regarding your specific circumstances.

Read more about your options for gifting in our article: Gifting and Your Legacy: When is the best time to give?

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