Friday, December 20, 2013

Before We Bid Farewell to 2013, See if the Charitable IRA Rollover is Right for You

The week of Thanksgiving, we described National Philanthropy Day and highlighted the generosity of long-term donors and volunteers Tia and Ken Scigulinsky. Now, before the end of the year, we'd like to describe the vehicle by which the Scigulinskys have made their charitable contributions to Rhode Island PBS, in hopes their story will benefit you as well.

Since being introduced in 2006, the charitable IRA rollover has become a favorite of charitably-minded taxpayers. Many have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to transfer up to $100,000 each year to charity without being treated as a taxable distribution. It's a simple but powerful planning strategy for taxpayers 70 ½ or older who are required to take a minimum distribution from their IRA, but may not need the income to live.

Such is the case for Ken and Tia Scigulinsky of Portsmouth, RI.

Ken and Tia Scigulinsky
Devoted to their family, their community, and their country, Ken and Tiagenerously give of their time as well as their money. They volunteer with several education-related organizations and committees in the greater Newport area where they live.

Ken and Tia have supported Rhode Island PBS for more than a decade. Tia served consecutive terms as a member of the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority, the station's former governing body, and currently serves as board secretary on the Rhode Island PBS Foundation Board of Directors.

The Scigulinskys recently sat with Rhode Island PBS Director of Development and External Affairs Molly Garrison to discuss why the charitable IRA rollover made sense for them.

"We've worked hard all our lives and now enjoy a comfortable financial position in retirement that permits us to support our favorite organizations," Tia said. "We appreciate Rhode Island PBS on several levels - the format that lets us enjoy our shows without commercial interruption; the abundance of music, cultural, and performing arts from the best stages in the world; the subtle but very real learning that permeates the entire schedule--"

"Turn on the channel and learn something new every time," Ken interjected.

"Plus, the station's commitment to producing and presenting local stories," Tia concluded. "All of those reasons define Rhode Island PBS's role in the community and why it's important to us."

"You can call it the lure of 'convenience, culture, and community,'" said Ken.  

"It sounds like a scripted commercial, but it's true," Tia laughed. "Rhode Island PBS really is the local trusted source of quality programming that actually makes a difference in the lives of viewers. I know it makes a difference in our lives, and we want to preserve that experience for future generations by giving what we can now," she said.

"As fond as we are of Rhode Island PBS, our motives are not exclusively philanthropic," Ken grinned broadly. "There's also a practical advantage to giving this way. We trusted our financial advisor's recommendation that it would be better to make our contribution directly from an IRA so that the money is not considered income to us, as opposed to receiving the IRA money as income, then making a tax-deductible donation." 

Plus, as Ken noted, donating these assets, rather than taking minimum required distributions, may also enable older donors to avoid certain penalties that come with a higher adjusted gross income, such as higher Medicare premiums.

"And it was easy to do, too," Tia explained. "A Web search summarized the process with clear, simple directions and included a sample letter to send to the IRA manager to request the transfer. A call to our financial advisor confirmed the move."

We at Rhode Island PBS appreciate the inspiring generosity of spirit and deed Tia and Ken demonstrate every day. We hope you find their story inspiring as well, and useful in your year-end financial planning.

These are the summarized requirements and restrictions for making a charitable IRA rollover gift:
  • The donor must be 70 1/2 or older.
  • The gift must be made directly from the IRA to an eligible charitable organization by December 31, 2013.
  • Gifts to all charities combined cannot exceed a total of $100,000 per taxpayer for the year.
  • The gifts must be outright, and no material benefits can be received in return for the gifts. 
  • The gift is not included in taxable income, and no charitable deduction is allowed.
  • The gift can only be made from an IRA. Gifts from a 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans must be rolled into an IRA first, then the gift can be made from the IRA.
To complete an IRA charitable rollover, the first step is to contact your IRA provider to learn the provider's specific procedures. 

The charitable IRA Rollover is set to expire on December 31st.  If Congress renews this vehicle in the New Year, we will be sure to update you.  However, there are other creative ways to support Rhode Island PBS that never expire - where you and that station you love benefit at the same time. Such giving techniques are called "planned gifts" because, with thoughtful planning, you create win-win solutions for you and Rhode Island PBS. 

For example:
  • You can make a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime, by including Rhode Island PBS in your will.
  • You can give stock to Rhode Island PBS and avoid paying capital gains tax.
To learn more, call Molly Garrison, Director of Development and External Affairs
401-22-3636 ext. 336.

Mr. Stink, a magical, heart-warming story (and Lord Grantham like you've never seen him!)

Get ready for an unexpected and heartwarming treat this holiday season, coming to Rhode Island PBS Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Mr. Stink, a feature-length drama adapted from the popular children’s novel written by David Walliams, will air at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. December 24, and at 5 a.m. December 25.

Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville stars as Mr. Stink, a homeless man who is befriended by a lonely twelve-year-old girl named Chloe who invites him to live in the shed at the end of her family’s garden. It’s a role that seems to be about 180 degrees removed from the ultra posh Robert, Earl of Grantham, which is part of the reason it should be so fun to watch.

The film description according to the official press release:

Chloe (played by Nell Tiger Free) sees Mr. Stink every day, but she’s never spoken to him, which isn’t surprising, because he’s a tramp — and he stinks. But before she knows it, Chloe has an unusual friend hiding in her garden shed when it seems Mr. Stink and his stinky dog, Duchess, might be driven out of town.

As Chloe struggles to make sure no one sniffs out Mr. Stink, she also has to cope with an overbearing mum who is more interested in her own political ambitions than her daughter, her put-upon dad who has a secret of his own, her “perfect” younger sister, Annabelle, and the nasty girls who make her life miserable at school.

There is also one other person with an extraordinary secret, as it turns out that there is more to Mr. Stink than meets the eye ... or nose.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

World War I Christmas Eve Truce Subject of "Silent Night"

This opera recounts the true story of the World War I Christmas Eve truce. For one magical evening on December 24, 1914, French, German and British soldiers laid down their arms and joined in a spontaneous celebration reflecting the peace, fellowship and humanity of the season.

Based on the Academy Award-nominated film Joyeux Noel, this two-act production was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera and premiered in November 2012 to national acclaim, including a Pulitzer Prize for Music for composer Kevin Puts. With a libretto by Mark Campbell, "Silent Night" is sung in French, English, German, Italian and Latin with English subtitles.

Rhode Island PBS premieres Silent Night at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 19, with re-broadcast at half after midnight and again at noon on Saturday, December 21.

Gloria Gemma Foundation Hope Bus Subject of New Documentary

“For the first time in 17 years, you have allowed me to let my breast cancer go. I can now move on with my life,” a breast cancer survivor told the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s Maureen DiPiero aboard the Hope Bus.

“And even still, it touches me and that was three years ago,” DiPiero tearfully said of the encounter. “The thought that this bus can have that impact on someone, just takes my breath away.”

Since 2011, the Pawtucket-based nonprofit has used the Hope Bus—a pink 38-foot recreational vehicle—to directly reach thousands of people in all 39 towns and cities of Rhode Island. Free breast health education, awareness, and support programs are offered to the community aboard the Hope Bus, which is a comforting environment where individuals have shared their personal stories and experiences with breast cancer.

Now, the Hope Bus will make its way to Rhode Islanders in their homes when the third installment of Behind the Ribbonthe Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s documentary series, airs Sunday, December 29 at 6PM on Rhode Island PBS.

In "The Hope Bus" episode, viewers are taken behind-the-scenes and offered access to intimate stories of triumph and perseverance from breast cancer survivors, and learn the approach behind the Hope Bus and how it has become what it istoday. Additionally, viewers join staff and volunteers on the Hope Bus as it travels to locations including South County Hospital in East Greenwich, CVS|Caremark in Woonsocket, Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, and Lincoln High School.

"The Hope Bus" will re-air on Saturday, January 4 at 11PM on Rhode Island PBS. Behind the Ribbon premiered on Rhode Island PBS in March. The first two installments, "Young Survivors" and "Beauty and the Beast," can be viewed at