While many know Stafford Manion as the ardent head of Gladys Manion Real Estate, a longtime leader in the St. Louis real estate market, he is also a passionate supporter of charitable organizations that serve the community. A member of the board of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital since 2016, Stafford says much of his enthusiasm for philanthropy stems from wanting to set a good example for his son, Ford.
“I want to do what’s right,” says Stafford. “Hopefully in his life he’ll do the same. And then if he does it, maybe his children will do it and their children will do it and that’s how good trends get started.”
One of the ways that Stafford gives back is by naming the Foundation as one of the beneficiaries in his will, a type of legacy giving known as a bequest.
“I see legacy or planned giving as a way to give money in which people who aren’t uber wealthy can do it and still have the comfort and security of hanging on to their money until they pass,” he says. “That way, you can leave money to both your loved ones and different organizations.
“With my son, if I have X amount of dollars, he’s not getting X amount of dollars. Obviously, I care about him and I want to leave him enough money to get by on and enhance his life, but there are other things I want to enhance. There are people and places I want to say thank you to, and a lot of them are charitable organizations. Once you start thinking this way, it’s pretty easy.”
By making a gift to the Foundation, Stafford is saying thanks to the outstanding health care and community service partners that it supports. As co-chair of the Foundation’s philanthropy committee, Stafford’s goal is to raise public awareness about the impact and importance of giving and the Foundation’s mission to enrich lives, save lives and transform health care.
“There’s a big misconception you have to be really rich to donate, but that’s not the case,” he says. “Some people believe if they don’t give $1 million, the Foundation won’t want to talk to them. That’s not true. No gift is too small.”
Easy Ways to Give
Stafford says that in addition to making a bequest in a will there are other simple ways of making a legacy gift. Among them are:
Beneficiary designation: You can name the Foundation as a beneficiary to receive assets after your lifetime. These assets can include retirement plans, life insurance policies, bank and brokerage accounts, and donor-advised funds. This is a flexible way to give that allows you to review and adjust beneficiary designations at any time.
Charitable gift annuity (CGA): A CGA allows you to make a gift to the Foundation and in return, the Foundation agrees to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life. In addition to supporting your cause, a CGA with the Foundation provides a variety of tax benefits, including a federal income tax charitable deduction.
Charitable remainder trust: A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years. The payments come from assets you give to the trust that you create with the remainder going to your favorite charity, such as the Foundation. Benefits of a charitable remainder trust include the potential for a partial charitable income tax deduction as well as the potential for increased income. It also allows for up-front capital gains tax avoidance.
“Call your advisors and talk to them about this because one way will be better for one person than it is for another,” Stafford recommends. “Before I made my planned gift, I sat down with my financial advisor, my lawyer and my accountant and talked to them about the best way to do it.”
Stafford’s legacy gift was made to the Foundation’s unrestricted fund so that the money can be applied where it is most needed rather than being applied to a specific area.
“My gift is unrestricted because I think the Foundation’s leadership knows where the money should go more so than Stafford,” he says. “The Foundation should be the one to decide where the money is best placed and would be best utilized. I’m entrusting the Foundation to do what’s right and I’m sure it will.”