The Power of Giving

In the next 10 years, nearly $3 billion will transfer from one generation to the next in Berrien and Cass Counties. That is just our slice of the $53 trillion transfer of wealth that will ripple through this country over the next 50 years.

Much of this wealth is currently invested in family homes and farms, retirement accounts and other appreciated assets – some of which may be heavily taxed if given to heirs.

With most estates in the U.S., the vast majority of assets go to heirs. For generations, people lived their entire lives close to their birthplace, and as wealth passed from one generation to the next, most stayed in the same town or county. This is no longer the case and once wealth leaves our communities, it may never return.

Michigan Gateway Community Foundation urges you to consider designating a portion of your estate, IRA, 401(k) account or insurance policy to an undesignated fund at the community foundation. This will ensure that southwest Michigan, your home, enjoys the long-term benefit of this one-time opportunity.

We estimate that in our service area of Buchanan, Niles, and Cass County, as much as $ 1.25 billion could transfer from one generation to the next over ten years. If only 5% of this wealth was earmarked for a Michigan Gateway Community Foundation endowment fund, the resulting $ 62.5 million addition to our existing fund balances would generate over $ 3,000,000 every year for local community projects and priorities, forever.

Endowed funds are forever, and grow over time because the principle is never spent. Earnings are used to make grants in the name of each fund, supporting charitable causes and creating personal legacies of giving in Buchanan, Niles, and Cass County.

IRA’s, 401(k)s and life insurance policies are excellent vehicles for planned giving to Michigan Gateway Community Foundation. They can be designated to the foundation without modifying an existing plan. Retirement accounts may be the best asset to earmark for your legacy, since these can be highly taxed when given to heirs, losing up to 70% of value in some cases.

Donors choosing to promise an estate gift are welcomed into Michigan Gateway Community Foundation’s Legacy Society – a group of generous donors we recognize for remembering their community with a planned gift.

Now is the time to make sure that the Transfer of Wealth issue is a transformative force for good in Buchanan, Niles, and Cass County. Gifts of all sizes will add up to big benefits our communities will experience for generations. Are you ready to join others in creating a secure future? Contact Robert N. Habicht, President/CEO of Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, at 269-695-3521, or email to


Transferred in 10 years