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Before You Give, Please Plan

Before You Give, Please Plan

Posted on 17 April 2016 by editor

By Paul Ludacka, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor based in Omaha, NE

Charitable giving – to Grace University or another beloved nonprofit – is a top priority for many of us. These causes are extensions of who we are. And often times, these organizations helped make us who we are.

Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” That is true – but there are strategies to make your charitable gift go farther for an organization.

Many people ask me for advice before they give, because they want their financial contribution to make a lasting and meaningful effect. It’s wise to pause, think and plan before you give. As part of a full-picture financial plan, you can understand your options, identify and prioritize your long-term goals, and ensure that your charitable giving doesn’t sacrifice any other financial goals.

That’s the main difference between “giving” and “planned giving.” Through planning, you may be able to minimize the impact of income taxes, capital gains taxes and estate taxes – and give even more to charity.

As part of a comprehensive financial plan – I recommend three giving strategies to today’s philanthropic families:

  1. Be direct

Giving directly to a charity can make a lot of sense, especially if you already have a planned charitable giving strategy in place and if it’s important to send your gift to the nonprofit immediately. However, what you give and how you contribute matters. Generally, gifts to a public charity are eligible for a larger tax deduction in comparison to a private foundation. Additionally, gifts of cash may be eligible for a larger deduction than gifts of stock or retirement savings. It’s wise to work collaboratively with a financial advisor and a tax professional to identify that most efficient and effective giving plan for you.

  1. Give life

For many, life insurance is often an overlooked and underestimated strategy for charitable giving. Through this strategy, a donor can gift a policy or name a nonprofit as a beneficiary, helping to provide a sizeable donation to a beloved cause. This may allow the giver to make a more substantial contribution than would otherwise be possible. As an added benefit, a charity that owns a life insurance policy has the option to access the policy cash value with loans or withdrawals, if needed. These benefits are generally tax-free for the charity.

  1. Trusts and foundations

For some givers, a charitable trust helps them to give and also keep their more complex estate plans intact. For others, a private foundation may be of interest, enabling them to build a lasting legacy of giving for generations to come.

Giving is great – but “planned giving” may help you to maximize your charitable gift. Consider working with a financial expert and a tax expert so you can leave behind the kind of legacy you want.

NM_Mutual_paulfinal-1Article prepared by Paul Ludacka, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP® with the cooperation of Northwestern Mutual.
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Ludacka is a Wealth Management Advisor with Northwestern Mutual, the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and its subsidiaries.  Ludacka is an Insurance agent of NM based in Omaha, NE.  To contact Ludacka, please call 402-891-2304, email him at paul.ludacka@nm.com or visit his website at paulludacka.com.

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Dr. Z Celebrates 25 Years

Dr. Z Celebrates 25 Years

Posted on 14 April 2016 by editor

25987205330_ba81e9a651_kThe students of the Grace University Chorale recently honored Dr. Greg Zielke, chair of the Music Department, for his 25 years of service to students and the Grace University community. They celebrated his accomplishments during the final concert of the Spring Tour, which included an Easter Sunday concert at Carnegie Hall.

To see photos of alumni who attended concerts during the Spring Tour click here.

“Dr. Zielke has poured so much into each of the students’ lives.  He is so encouraging and believes that every Chorale member is extremely important,” said senior Claire Dupré, Music Education major. “He knows how to pull the most out of a choir, and I’m still astounded by how large the chorale is for the size of this campus and that most members are not music majors.”

In addition to teaching conducting, choral methods, church music, voice, and directing the Chorale, Dr. Zielke directs the Chamber Singers and Front Four quartet. Under his direction, Grace choirs have performed across the U.S. and in Australia and Europe. He also has been Conductor and Artistic Director for the Omaha Symphonic Chorus since their 2002-2003 concert season. As a church musician, he is blessed to serve a wonderful church, Community Bible. He especially enjoys the opportunity to lead church music seminars and choir festivals.

“Congratulations to a master musician who loves Jesus, loves music, loves his students and his choirs—and has the unique capacity to put all of these virtues together to produce rapturous music!” said Dr. James P. Eckman, President Emeritus.

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IS Students Train in Spain

IS Students Train in Spain

Posted on 14 April 2016 by editor

spain41416Junior Intercultural Studies students Lauren Witteveen and Cassidy Burkholder are serving and studying in Spain this semester as part of their coursework. During this program, they are immersed in the culture and language of Spain, while completing academic courses related to evangelical mission work. The Grace students have the opportunity to live with host families and see first-hand how religion and culture are intertwined during celebrations such as Holy Week, which focuses on Jesus’ death and Mary’s suffering.

The Grace students are busy teaching English and building relationships with their Spanish tutors so they can share the Gospel in a meaningful, culturally appropriate way. They are also preparing to work in an upcoming camp hosted by missionaries.

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Students Serve in Guatemala

Students Serve in Guatemala

Posted on 14 April 2016 by editor

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During Spring Break, 12 Grace University students who have been trained in making disciples through the art of biblical storytelling served in Guatemala. While working in Antigua, San Pedro and Tecpan, the team worked with Pat Duff, missionary for Casa de Esperanza of the Josiah Foundation, to reach out to children and youth who have not heard the Gospel.  They also served  people with special needs. The GU students shared Bible stories so that the people they met could understand the Gospel in their own language in a culturally appropriate way. Students also led soccer camps with kids they met in the villages and played a game with a local youth group. The team raised enough money to deliver a month’s supply of food to 20 families. In each home, the students shared testimonies and prayed for the family’s needs. The team also experienced Holy Week festivities from the local perspective.

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Dr. Tara Rye, Dean of Women, described the trip this way:
I feel that this trip was a Joseph trip. Just as Joseph glorified God in whatever circumstance he was placed in this is what our team did. It did not matter that it was hot, dirty and extreme poverty, the students immediately connected with the people we met and served. Truly, the students lived out being relationally Jesus to those we served. I could not be prouder of our student body. One way God showed Himself to our team was through toothpaste. We had two huge cases of toothpaste given to us. I could not understand why people gave us toothpaste because we were not doing dental missions. Well, one of our main sites where we were to serve backed out a few days before our trip. Our missionary had met a young new mission couple so she set it up for us to meet with them. So, our first two days was serving with a brand new mission plant. On the first day of serving, the missionary shared that someone had given them toothbrushes and only one tube of toothpaste. After one month in this community, they already had 39 children attending their feeding center. She shared that after the children are given food, they have the children brush their teeth. The missionary told us that they prayed and asked God to provide more toothpaste. They did not know we had toothpaste. We were able to give them enough for a long time. God used this to increase the faith of the missionaries and of the team. It was a powerful moment in realizing that God knew where we would serve and provided the toothpaste three weeks before the mission couple had even met our missionary.

Thanks to everyone who supported the team and made the trip possible through your financial gifts and prayers.

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Posted on 26 February 2016 by editor

56abc71b2d2e2.imageGU has been in the news! Make sure you are staying connected and up-to-date on how God is moving on campus and using students and fellow alumni for the cause of Christ. Check out a recent story in the Omaha-World Herald.

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Praise Reports

Praise Reports

Posted on 26 February 2016 by editor

share22616Share your news! Send your wedding photos, birth announcements, job changes, prayer requests and praise reports to alumni@graceu.edu so we can rejoice and pray with you.

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Share Your Alma Mater

Share Your Alma Mater

Posted on 26 February 2016 by editor

April 10-11, 2016

imageShare your alma mater with your child or grandchild who is praying about where to go to college. Bring your favorite high school junior, senior or transfer student back to campus and share the Grace experience with them.  See how students today are reaching God’s call on their lives.

The benefits of attending this event include the opportunity to:

  • Meet other juniors and seniors considering attending Grace University
  • Stay overnight in the residence halls
  • Attend a class and visit with faculty
  • Get to know current students
  • Experience the “culture” of Grace first-hand
  • Experience campus life
  • Attend GRACE L.I.F.E (chapel)

AND there are financial aid and admission workshops for youth workers, parents and grandparents as well.

Seniors who have already been accepted and paid the tuition deposit can register for classes during the weekend. They will get personal attention from their faculty advisor who will walk them through the registration process and discuss academic course options.

Register today Grace Days Page or for more information contact Allison at (402) 449-2870 or Allison@graceuniversity.edu.

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Support Fellow Alumni

Support Fellow Alumni

Posted on 26 February 2016 by editor

CHINA TOUR LOGO-2016Fellow alumni are raising funds to travel to China with the Grace University Community Concert Band in May. Deb Osmanson ‘13, Susanna Fohner ‘14, Rob Benson ’16 and Janelle Applegarth ’15 hope to be sharing music and building relationships during school concerts in Beijing and Taiyuan on their 17-day trip. This is the fourth trip the band has taken and the relationships band members have developed have proven to be lasting and impactful.

“I am going to China this spring for my third time with the Grace University community band,” said Osmanson, assistant vice president of administration. “I saw God work in mighty ways on our last trip in 2013. I had prayed for one donor to give us a large $5000 gift but when we left, no such gift had been received. I was a bit disappointed but we had raised enough money for our planned expenses so I wasn’t worried. During the trip we had some unexpected costs and I was having a hard time getting the Chinese currency that we needed for them. A lady come up to us at one of our concerts and gave us 30,000 RMB (which is $5000 US) This was the answer to my prayer, God knew that I would need Chinese currency not US and gave us the right amount at the right time in  the exact currency we needed. This was such a faith builder for me. I loved attending the Chinese church, I was able to recognize the songs they were singing by the melody and I sang along with them, although we spoke a different language, we were worshiping the same God. The Chinese people are so fun to get to know and I am excited to visit them again.”

This year’s tour is particularly exciting because of the breadth of the percussion and string sections, which is opening up new opportunities as well. But expenses are greater because percussion instruments rental and transportation costs.

“I am going to China because it is the dream of Rob (my fiance) and myself to perform God’s gift of music all over the world,” said Applegarth. “We had the incredible opportunity to go to Germany in 2014, Chicago last Spring, and this Easter we will be performing in Carnegie Hall in New York. God has blessed us with amazing opportunities and has been faithful to provide for us to go. So when the chance came for us to go to China, we could not pass it up.”

Funds are needed to support individual band members and equipment rental in China. To support this important outreach, go to www.graceu.edu/give and click on GU Band China Tour. All gifts are tax deductible. For more information on how you can support the band, contact Jeff James, associate professor of music, at jjames@graceu.edu or (402) 449-2853.

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All In for Missions

All In for Missions

Posted on 26 February 2016 by editor

The annual week-long mission conference focused on going “All-In” to reach the lost. During the keynote and breakout session, seasoned missionaries challenged the GU family to meet God’s call on their mission field and to not hold back. Highlights of the week included a refugee simulation, prayer meetings, testimonies from alumni missionaries, and international food night. Check out what Kyle Schnitker, freshman class vice president, had to say about his first mission conference:SI0A9815

This year’s Jared Burkholder Conference on Global Engagement featured John and Kristi Barnes of the House of Moses in Haiti. They spoke on various topics from marriage, one’s past, “me, God?”, etc.; yet, in spite of the varied subjects of the week’s main sessions, they were all approached from the perspective of being “all in” (which, interestingly enough, is the 2015-16 theme of the Grace University student body). Their passion for God and what God has allowed them to experience and do emanated from their words, even as they were in the midst of personal loss, was inspiring to say the least.

In addition to the Barnes’ main sessions, there were also several smaller “breakout sessions” run by a plethora of other missionaries who spoke about or in reference to their various ministries. From relating the divinity of Jesus to Muslims, revival in Mali, and the need for effective and accurate Bible translation, the breakout sessions provided the student body with the opportunity to choose what sessions they wanted to attend based on their interests and passions.SI0A9835

Finally, throughout the week there were also morning prayer sessions for various countries (such as Guatemala and China), worship sessions with diverse styles and languages, and a refugee simulation. Overall the conference was a rousing success, helping all in attendance to better understand the Great Commission given to us by Christ in Matthew 28:20 and Acts 1:8.

 

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Job Searching?

Job Searching?

Posted on 26 February 2016 by editor

16686984470_32ce3a9250_k copyJoin us on campus for the 2016 Career Fair on March 30 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Burkholder Center. There will be more than 40 companies and organizations on hand ready to review your resume or do a brief interview. Alumni, students and community members are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Jim Santoro  at csantoro@graceu.edu or (402) 449-2910.

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