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pla nned giving & trust ser vices O ne bright and sunny summer day, I set out on an unusual yet vital mission: to drive out into the farmlands of Alberta’s west country to arrange a rather unique donation. The streets of town gave way to the highway and then to long, straight paved roads that cut through the landscape of vast green crops and pastures dotted with cattle and large machines; modest brick farmhouses and long, low outbuildings; barns bearing family names dwarfed by towering silos. After many miles and turns I spotted them in the distance—five tall steel grain bins, all in a row, with the majestic Rockies in the background. I was back at Charlie and Marie’s farm (see Canadian Adventist Messenger, June issue, page 11). Advanced in years, this couple was in the process of unwinding their family farm, working closely with their farm specialist in the dissolution of their assets. They had already donated some of the farm’s machinery to the conference, and now they had contacted me to arrange their latest planned gift—these grain bins. They had done the right thing, as it is very important to get professional and legal advice before arranging the donation of anything in one’s estate/financial planning. I pulled up to the gated area and climbed out of the car to the soft flapping sound of birds flying overhead. The creaking door of the first bin broke the peaceful silence, as did the noise that erupted from inside a split-second later when a flock of startled Starlings, which had gathered inside the bin to feast on the grain remnants, flew suddenly and swiftly up and out through the top of the bin. When I looked up, I noticed that a missing hatch had provided them easy access to their feast. The door latch was broken, and there were bird droppings everywhere. From ground level I checked each bin as carefully and as thoroughly as I could, making notes and taking photographs along the way. With the Rockies in my rearview mirror, I drove back to the office to prepare a Donor Report 1 for Charlie and Marie. The following week, I spoke with Charlie and Marie about my findings. I suggested they have all of the bins professionally inspected, properly cleaned, replace three missing hatches, and contact a professional appraiser to determine their fair market value 2 before selling the bins at auction. Charlie and Marie agreed to pay for the cleaning and repairs, as well as the appraisal and auction fees, as they wanted to get the highest value possible for the bins. Once all the terms of their gift were agreed upon, Charlie and Marie and the conference vice-president of finance signed a Gift Agreement, and the conference provided a charitable tax receipt to Charlie and Marie for the fair market value of the bins. The bins were then sold at an onsite auction. The unusual errand that took me on a scenic drive that sunny summer day ended with Charlie and Marie gifting $32,250 to their elementary school’s Technology Fund. Charlie and Marie’s unique brand of giving is an inspiration to the rest of us who want to make a difference but don’t know how. The ways in which we can give to our church, community, and institutions are as broad, vast—and, in their own way, beautiful—as the fields and pastures of Alberta’s west country. n Inspiring Generosity Frances Chant is a retired planned giving director. 1 2 Although not required by law, a Donor Report can form part of a Gift Agreement. The Canada Revenue Agency Charities Directorate requires the charity to ensure that the fair market value is documented; otherwise the agency cannot issue a charitable tax receipt. Also, the agency does not require an appraisal by a third party but strongly recommends it when the value of the gift exceeds $1,000. M Aug u st 2 015 11