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Anonymous donor initiates challenge with gift to the Annual Fund

by Louisville Seminary | Dec 18, 2006

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has received a gift of $40,000 to the Annual Fund, which supports scholarships, student aid, and the daily operations of the institution. Along with the gift, the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has initiated a challenge to other friends of the institution to match or surpass his gift amount with new or increased gifts to the Seminary before the end of the fiscal year, May 31, 2007.

The donor’s gift was a result of the Pension Protection Act recently passed by Congress, which allows a person of age 70½ years or older to transfer up to $100,000 per year during 2006 and 2007 from their traditional or Roth IRA to a qualified charity without including the gift in income for tax purposes. This provision is particularly helpful to fulfilling charitable giving objectives if an individual must take a mandated distribution from their IRA but they do not need it to cover living expenses and they do not want to pay income tax on it. It is also helpful to individuals who have reached the 50% of adjusted gross income limit on their charitable gift deductions.

“News of the Protection Act has generated action among Seminary constituents as they have chosen this time-limited method to make substantial gifts to LPTS,” said Don Ragsdale, associate vice president for Seminary Relations who helped the donor process a gift under the temporary plan. “This situation is a good example of how the plan provides opportunities for individuals to support the work of LPTS, particularly scholarships and student aid.”

“I have a sense of calling to support the Seminary,” said the donor. “While I also support my Alma Mater, only the seminaries are doing the important work that will help sustain Christian work and service into the future.”

Though the donor is not a graduate of Louisville Seminary, a connection was nurtured through a local Louisville parish, and a deep affection for the institution was developed through the influence of the school’s professors.

“During the sixteen years I lived in Louisville, my home church hosted lay academies at which LPTS professors would come to teach. I was impressed with the quality of their teaching and grateful for the relationships I developed with them and with the students who served their field education there.”

“I believe in the Great Commission in the Gospel of Matthew,” the donor continued, “but I feel ill-equipped to carry it out myself. Who is better to work with than individuals who have been prepared by the Seminary for this ministry? I believe that all I have belongs to God, and I have been called to share it.”

Through the gift, the donor hopes to contribute directly to preparing quality leaders for the church and challenging others to accept a similar call.

Ragsdale says he anticipates several more donors to take advantage of the tax break as they make their year-end gifts before December 31.

Annual challenges such as this one have encouraged friends of LPTS to give more than $290,000 since 2003. Over the past three years, 1,305 individuals have participated in the challenges, and 221 of them have been first time supporters.

As a premier seminary in the mid-west, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has prepared individuals for ministry since 1853. It is recognized nationally for theological education that is offered in conjunction with practical, hands-on experience in the field. One of only three seminaries to offer an accredited marriage and family therapy program, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors rates LPTS as one of the top in the nation. Twenty-two faculty, nearly half of whom are female, have shaped a curriculum that is based on theological excellence in the Reformed tradition, encompassing critical thinking, pastoral experience, and participation in the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ. Helping to nurture excellent leaders for the church in these ways is made possible through the generous support of churches, foundations, and institutions, seeking to ensure the future of the church for generations to come.

To learn more about LPTS or how to support its mission and purpose through the provisions of the Pension Protection Act, contact Don Ragsdale, Cathy Dawson, vice president for Seminary Relations, or visit www.lpts.edu/mygift

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