Planned Giving From My Retirement Account
By Madison McClendon
In middle school, I spent a period of time studying Baptist history for a school project. I became captivated with BJC, especially because I was dedicated as only a child can be to certain core ideals: love for one another, defending those who have less power or prestige than others and the rights of friends of mine to live their faith without discrimination. I was enamored of the organization’s commitment to stand up for religious liberty for everyone, and I was impressed that they did so not in spite of but because of a uniquely Christian and Baptist faith commitment.
I was in high school when BJC announced that it was looking for supporters willing to make a monthly gift to the organization’s mission. In honor of their 70th anniversary, they were asking people to make a gift with a “7” somewhere in the monthly amount. I had just begun working as a youth assistant at my church; so, with a regular biweekly paycheck of about $100, I didn’t think twice – for a teenager, my disposable income was through the roof. I started giving $7 each month. Since then, I’ve increased my monthly gift, and through college, grad school, post-school unemployment and my professional career, I’ve managed to maintain a monthly gift.
When BJC announced they were looking for members to join the James Dunn Legacy Circle, it was a natural next step in my own philanthropy. I had a small 403(b) growing, and it didn’t take much work to designate BJC as one of the percentage beneficiaries on the policy, alongside my important family members.
I know, too, that although my retirement accounts are small, after a long career of dedicated saving, they will be much larger in the future. Given all BJC does educating our community, hosting and traveling to events, advocating for our values with legislators and judges and proclaiming our commitment in the public square every day, I am thrilled to know that one day I might be able to make a much larger gift to this work than I ever could during my lifetime, simply by living and saving as I am now.
If you are considering an estate gift to join the James Dunn Legacy Circle, consider no more. Each of us has the opportunity to give every day to the causes and people we see in front of us. But this is an opportunity to do something more: to give to the brothers, the sisters, the siblings of our faith and of different faiths who will be born into the world we leave for them. Their hearts will beat in them as free as yours and mine, with the God-given right to believe or not believe as their own convictions guide. My gift, planned in advance, is for those of all and no faiths, so that they, like me, might secure the same and greater freedom in a country that maintains and expands its commitment to free souls, free people and free consciences.