Couple chooses philanthropy

Jan 15, 2011

Simplicity combines enduring community support with tax advantages

Art&GingerNowak-1.jpgArt and Ginger Nowak's first planned gift to the Community Foundation of Johnson County (CFJC) followed a financial planning discussion with their attorney, who suggested the couple "give where they live" through the Community Foundation of Johnson County.

"Ginger and I, like many others, didn't know much about the Community Foundation. We found it was easy to support our favorite local charities, and contributions through the Community Foundation offered tax benefits. Since then we've made a gift every year," says Art, who is the executive director of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and professor emeritus of the University of Iowa Colleges of Dentistry and Medicine in Pediatric Dentistry and Pediatrics, and U.S. Navy Dental Corps Capt. (Ret. 27 years).

The Nowaks also discussed doing more when it came time to rollout their 401(k) retirement plans. The couple established a trust, which identifies how their estate will be divided among family and their much-loved local organizations through the Community Foundation.

401(k) financial plan regulations oblige investors to take a required minimum distribution at age 70½ years. The allocation, which must be reported on federal tax returns as income, may also be subject to state taxes. During 2010, pension fund transfers could be made directly from trustee-to-trustee, thereby avoiding a distribution into income for that taxable year.

Corporations and individuals who contribute to charity endowment through the Community Foundation may apply on a first-come, first served basis for a possible 25 percent state tax credit.

In their estate plan, the Nowaks chose to benefit four primary local programs that Ginger supports with her longtime volunteer service – Iowa City Hospice, DVIP, Pathways Adult Day Health Center and the Iowa City Community School Foundation. Ginger has been connected to Iowa City Hospice as both an employee and as a volunteer since the nonprofit agency formed in 1979.

"I wear lots of hats," Ginger says. She is also an RSVP volunteer, and the couple supports the community art programs through contributions to The Englert, Riverside Theater and Hancher Auditorium.

Although Art and Ginger have past the customary retirement age, they both continue to work. Ginger, who was a substitute teacher in Special Ed classes for Iowa City Community Schools, now scores essays at ACT and loves her work, says, "I work to support my charities. Seventy is the new 50."

Art says they are very fortunate. "Our kids are doing well and we've planned for our retirement years. We have everything we need. We live modestly and relatively inexpensively compared to others in large metropolitan areas. We're pleased that we can provide our community lasting support and help others during our retirement years."

Category: Donor Stories