Karen and John SandersHow did you first become involved  with Northern Stage?
We first began attending Northern Stage productions in the fall of 1996—one year after we moved to the Upper Valley from Chicago. For years, we had enjoyed both large and small theater, including the Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, and others. We learned about Northern Stage from a friend, and found its work every bit as delightful as Chicago’s. We have been fans, subscribers, and donors ever since!

You decided to make a planned gift through your IRA. Can you talk a bit about the benefits of using this gift vehicle?
We revisited our Estate Planning this year, and realized that we should begin to allocate some of our assets to charitable organizations. While it is possible to do this in our Will, it is easier and more flexible to use IRAs and other pre-tax retirement vehicles. It is also easier to add additional organizations without going through an attorney. We chose to donate a series of gifts directly from one of our IRA’s Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) over a period of years. This decreases our taxable annual income, and is easy to set up with a phone call. We also set up Contingent Beneficiaries (With Karen as the Primary Beneficiary), so a percent of our IRA and TIAA/CREF account will pass to Northern Stage and several other organizations when both of us are gone. This is easily done online or with a phone call. 

Inherited IRAs passing to children as contingent beneficiaries can be potentially problematic for them. The full amount must be taken and taxes paid within 10 years under current laws. This means it is most likely that their overall tax bracket will be moved to the maximum possible. By adding charitable organizations to receive a percentage of the remaining amounts, this effect is reduced, while benefiting organizations we love. Karen and I immediately knew Northern Stage would be at the top of our list.