Staff Blog: Sarah Weaver

Sarah Weaver is a senior gift planning advisor at Central Indiana Community Foundation

As senior gift planning advisor, Sarah works to develop and maintain relationships with financial and legal advisors and to support and advise donors on gift planning options.

Major milestones like birthdays or anniversaries often leave us contemplating big questions: What have I accomplished in my life? What’s next? How will I be remembered? As CICF celebrated a slew of anniversaries in 2016, we found ourselves asking many of these same questions about how far we have come as an organization and how far we have yet to go. In our conversations throughout the year with donors and other stakeholders, we noted that one word came up over and over again: legacy.

While the basic meaning of “legacy” refers to “a gift by will especially of money or other personal property,” Merriam-Webster includes a second, more nuanced definition, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” Insofar as we at CICF talk about this concept of legacy, however, the dictionary omits a crucial piece from its second definition. We believe that meaningful legacies are not carried passively into the future. Meaningful legacies actively transform the future.

CICF helps donors of all estate sizes create their legacy through custom planned gifts every day. Generally, planned gifts are plans established during life to give some portion of one’s assets or estate to charitable cause(s) and/or organization(s) after death. Partnering with CICF to incorporate planned giving into a donor’s estate planning process ensures that his or her legacy will be permanently woven into the philanthropic fabric of Central Indiana.

What do donors love about making a planned gift to a fund at CICF?

1. It’s flexible!

One of the best parts of my job is sitting down with a donor and figuring out what they’re passionate about. By learning more about their interests, I have the privilege of helping them write their charitable legacy.

  • Often, a donor will have a few favorite charities that he or she would like to benefit forever. In that case, we recommend a donor-designated endowment fund, a fund that pays a 5% annual distribution to a charity or charities designated by the donor.
  • Sometimes, a donor won’t necessarily have an organization in mind but a cause. For these donors, their best fit is a field of interest endowment fund, which is a fund that pays a 5% annual distribution to organizations making the greatest impact in their field of interest, as determined by the CICF philanthropic experts.
  • For donors who want to benefit students from a particular geographic area or interested in a particular field of study, one of our scholarship fund types is a great option.
  • For many donors, passing on the family tradition of philanthropy is incredibly important. A donor-advised fund with an advisory committee of the donor’s children and/or grandchildren is a wonderful vehicle for family philanthropy.
  • Perhaps most frequently, our donors want to combine two or three of our options or to do something else entirely. I love thinking outside of the box with our donors to come up with something that is uniquely them—the planned giving options for our funds are as varied and unique as each of our donors.

Any of our fund types can be established as a current fund, to be funded today, or as a future fund, to be funded with planned gifts—or a combination of the two.

2. It’s easy!

Many donors expect a complicated fund setup process, but starting a fund with CICF can be done in almost no time at all. For a donor who already has a CICF fund but wants to make a planned gift, we work alongside their advisors to ensure that their existing fund will continue beyond their lifetime, celebrating their legacy in perpetuity. Many donors are surprised to learn that in most cases, it is easier and cheaper to set up or amend a future fund agreement than it is to change a will or other legal document.

3. It’s impactful!

Our donors love that planned gifts—gifting assets when you no longer need them—allow them to maintain assets during their lifetime and to make larger and more impactful gifts after their death.

While many people assume that size equals impact, we have found that large one-time gifts can overwhelm small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations. With a CICF endowment fund, a donor’s favorite charities or interest areas can receive annual 5% distributions forever rather than a massive one-time gift.

Donors tend to give to many of the same charitable organizations or causes, year-in and year-out; in essence, creating a fund with CICF through planned giving allow donors to forever endow the annual gifts made during life.

4. It’s enduring!

At CICF, we not only work to address the needs currently facing our community, but we also invest to provide a better, stronger, and more beautiful Central Indiana for future generations.

Our endowment funds are invested for slow and steady growth. Our goal is that over time, a 5% annual distribution from an endowment fund is outpaced by our investment returns. Donors choose CICF as their trusted philanthropic partner because they know that their gift will be responsibly managed, that their donative intent will forever be honored, and that their fund—and their legacy—will live in perpetuity.

The core of everything we do at CICF revolves around the transformative power of philanthropy. I love working with donors and their advisors to create a planned gift that prioritizes their goals, makes a substantial and enduring charitable impact, and realizes their vision for their legacy. Call us today to learn more about how planned giving can transform you, your family, and your community for the better.

So the only question now is: What will your legacy be?

For more information about legacy giving with CICF, contact Sarah at or 317.634.2423 x510.

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