By David and Alice Bullwinkle
Over the past year, all of us at Adventure Unlimited have been exploring the idea of what it means to live generously – to live with a clear sense of the abundant good God provides. David and Alice Bullwinkle have been living generously with Adventure Unlimited through their philanthropy, volunteering and participation; David is currently serving on the Board of Trustees, and their daughter and grandchildren attended Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches. We recently asked the Bullwinkles to share their approach to charitable giving as one way they’re living generously.
Our views on charitable giving began taking shape early in our marriage. That first Christmas, we visited David’s family in Dallas. During our visit his father, Dick Bullwinkle, took us aside and shared a thoughtful write-up on philanthropy. This was our first introduction to the concept of intentional philanthropy, something potentially way beyond taking a dollar to Sunday School every week. Dick explained that, as people likely to be blessed with a growing ability to give, we needed to do so.
He was not talking about amounts but about regular, consistent support to those objectives we thought merited our giving. We took his guidance completely to heart. There has never been a year that we did not carefully determine in our financial planning for that year what we intended to give by year end.
So wherever we have lived, we have contributed time and treasure to institutions we believed made our communities better. We have many communities, but one focus: youth and education. We have been blessed with many interesting opportunities to serve in our local communities wherever we have lived.
Adventure Unlimited first became a special interest when our children attended the A/U Ranches in Buena Vista, Colorado. Several years later when we told our daughter, Susan (by then almost a senior in high school in New Jersey), that we were moving to Denver, she responded, “My bags will be packed in 10 minutes!” Through the A/U Ranches, she had come to love both Colorado and Christian Science.
For the past nine years, David has had the opportunity to serve on the Adventure Unlimited Board of Trustees, and in that capacity he gained significant insight into the organization’s investment, governance and management processes. This insight has given us the confidence that Adventure Unlimited has the senior leadership and structure in place that reassure us they will continue to make good decisions about what is needed for the future of the organization. So we are contributing mostly to the General Fund now, and that’s the designation for our legacy gift as well.
We had one additional intentional principle. We realized that for the most part, it is Christian Scientists who give to Christian Science causes, while many institutions in our communities receive funds from a far more diverse universe of givers. So we decided that for us, it was appropriate to place special emphasis on Christian Science institutional recipients, as long as we felt confident in the long-term sustainability of their operations. And within that arena, we focused mostly on those organizations that actively promote means by which youth are more likely to remain actively involved in Christian Science. In that regard, Adventure Unlimited and one other organization are the highest beneficiaries of our focused giving.
One important consideration still remained: We didn’t want our charitable giving to squeeze out what might be left to give to our children if our estate were to decline in value. Accordingly, we decided to structure our estate plan to give specific percentages of our estate to various charities. If the size of the estate were to shrink, the amounts left to the charities and our children would shrink together. Alternatively, if the estate were to grow in value, both the charities and the children would benefit.
After a year of much consideration, we’re very comfortable with our intentional philanthropy.