Texas Tech graduate program to use innovative philanthropy app GIFTABULATOR ®


Toronto, ON – October 27, 2014 – GIFTABULATOR is now being used by students enrolled in Texas Tech University’s Graduate Certificate Program in Charitable Financial Planning. 

GIFTABULATOR, the intuitive, interactive app that shows how to minimize taxes while demonstrating the potential giving capacity of every individual, now offers U.S. taxation scenarios. GIFTABULATOR, the must-have tool for charities and financial professionals, helps project future assets, understand the impact of charitable giving on one’s lifestyle, calculate the burn rate of assets and the tax implications for both the client and the beneficiaries of an estate.

“The GIFTABULATOR app is a great addition to our program helping the students – professionals working in the areas of financial advising and fundraising – develop more effective charitable financial plans,” said Texas Tech Professor Russell James.

GIFTABULATOR was developed in the FUNDING matters inc. Research and Development Lab in North Bay, Ontario, in cooperation with Canadore College.

FUNDING matters inc. is one of Canada’s most innovative consulting firms specializing in fund development, philanthropic sector advisory services, and software and app development.

For more information on GIF TABULATOR and activating your free trial visit www.giftabulator.com.


Contact: William Petruck

President and CEO, FUNDING matters Inc.




Anaheim NCPP 2014 – Disneyland, the Angels and Philanthropy

The Imagineering of Disneyland has transformed the landscape for families across generations. Who hasn’t experienced the magic of Disney or been touched by its amazing storytelling? This was always Walt Disney’s dream. Today Disney is a global brand recognized and loved by children and adults alike.  When asked by football players after winning the Super Bowl where they want to go, it has become a familiar reply – Disneyland.

Well, Anaheim, California is not only home of the world’s greatest place for family memories, Disneyland, but also home of the world champs in baseball.  For decades the Angels of Anaheim were founder and owner Gene Autry’s true passion, long after he rode into the sunset with his horse Trigger.  In Autry’s mind, his crowning moment would be winning a World Series championship. Autry never gave up on his team, even when faced with multiple losing seasons. It was in 2002, after Autry had passed to become an angel in his own right, that the Anaheim Angels brought magic to the “Heart of Orange County” by winning the big one for their founder. Autry’s dream of winning the World Series was never realized in his lifetime; however, without his vision and passion for the game, the Anaheim Angels would not have achieved that glorious victory 12 years ago.

The same is true in philanthropy.  Giving and making a difference is about making magic happen.  In some cases we can see it unfold before our eyes through a major gift and in other cases it’s a waiting process before a planned gift is realized. We’ll have to wait to see magic take place in Anaheim again with the imminent launch of Giftabulator USA.

We look forward to showing you how magic can be created with your donors through Giftabulator USA. Please join us for the launch of Giftabulator USA at the 2014 National Conference on Philanthropic Planning on October 14-16, 2014 in Anaheim to see how transformative funds can be created for your organization.

William Petruck


Peter Gilgan – Power Donor® Extraordinare

Why do I call Peter Gilgan a Power Donor®

It’s simple, just imagine a world where everyone donated 1% of their net worth; if you are worth $1 million that would be a $10,000 donation to charity.

Now, imagine donating 8.3% of your net worth in your lifetime to charity using the same net worth calculation – your donation would be $83,000. Well that is just what Peter Gilgan, the founder of Mattamy Homes in Canada did today, adding to his philanthropic record by donating $30 million to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. This donation brings his lifetime giving total to $150 million against his $1.8 billion in holdings.

What can Peter Gilgan’s giving teach us?

It shows that he could never conceive of how much to give if he did not undertake any planning for his finances, his estate and leading to his philanthropy. The same can be said for a recent donor to a local charity who took the time to understand that she lacked personal financial planning. She spoke with us at FUNDING matter inc. to say that she didn’t understand if she had enough money to live the lifestyle she was accustomed to while still providing for her heirs and leaving something to her favourite charities. After walking her through an illustration of a proper estate and financial plan, she quickly understood and saw first hand the looming tax that could be used for charitable giving. In the end she became a Power Donor®,  actually donating more than 1% of her net worth to her favourite charities.

Each professional advisor can leverage their client relationships to help achieve them establish unique and inspiring legacies through philanthropy, much like Peter Gilgan’s recognized legacy of landmark donations to the charitable sector.

William Petruck


Who Doesn’t Want to be a Leader?

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t want to be a leader. No matter what your personality type, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it’s ok to admit it… you long for people to regard you as the best at something.

Some people seem to be born with the personality to be leaders. Some people need to cultivate and practice these qualities.

No matter who you are, you need to know leadership is within your grasp. You just have to open yourself up to the possibilities. You don’t have to be up front and centre to be a leader; some of the most effective leader’s I’ve ever met never take credit for their ideas or accomplishments.

In my mind, Disney is the absolute benchmark for creating positive experiences. They just do it right, no matter what they do. I mean who can say that Disney hasn’t had an effect on their life? You’ve seen their cartoons, their movies, visited their theme parks, etc. From animation, to leadership, to customer service through to innovation, they’re it. No one else holds a candle to them.

Here’s your chance to learn from the best. The Disney Institute is bringing its distinguished program, Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence, to North Bay at the beginning of October. Sponsored by DeGroote School of Business and Canadore College, this unparalleled program will help you learn how to proactively. You’ll learn how to assess and ignite your own leadership style, establish a vision for your own leadership future, learn how to communicate effectively with the ranks of your organization and set goals for sustained success.

Disney is the master of experience. Learn from the best – you won’t want to miss this opportunity.

The Disney Institute Leadership Excellence Program

Canadore College, North Bay, Ont.

October 2, 2014

7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Program and registration information available here.

Grow A Relationship – Agree About Money

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Money is often cited by relationship experts as the number one reason for relationship failure, in particular marriage. Why is money such a strong factor in determining one’s success in marriage, longevity and health?

Maybe it really isn’t money that is the major factor but that the underlying issues which relate to the money that are the problem.


How can couples get on the same page?

It is important for each partner to understand why the other feels the way they do and develop a mutual understanding. Whether it’s generosity or thriftiness, communication is the key to understanding one another’s views and unspoken preferences and bias.


When gifting is made, how are the spouse, children and charity taken into consideration?

Discussing money topics in detail is the beginning of the process. When I meet with lawyers, they tell me that couples often don’t have an idea of how to split up or allocate their life’s assets to family and community. In many cases this is the first time that the couple has given thought to who gets what. It’s not surprising then that 70% of individuals don’t have a current will.

I recently had dinner with an accountant who is acting as trustee for an estate that is being contested by two sisters in their 60s. They are not talking because they can’t agree on how to divide their mother’s antique teacups and fairly apportion her funds to her grandchildren. These sisters are literally throwing 60 years sibling friendship out of the window by failing to communicate.

Plan your estate through effective communication to ensure minimal headaches and heartaches for your loved ones and to minimize legal fees and taxation to benefit family and community.




What Does Wall Street Know About Charitable Giving that Main Street Charities Don’t?

Did you know that major fund companies such as Fidelity and Schwab are now getting into the charity game on behalf of their clients? They are educating their advisors on how to discuss setting up donor advised funds to ensure they continue to manage their clients’ assets for generations to come.

Charities too often take the position that their donors do not care about taxes when they think about giving. I understand this if the charity is simply looking at the $50 or $500 a donor is giving; however,  why would a charity give up the opportunity to build themselves into the estate and financial plans of their donors and members?

A lack of initiative by the charity will lead to declining revenues when many of their $500 annual donors pass away. The fact is that most people do not have charity built into their wills. It is then safe to assume that the charity’s donors will unlikely pass on any assets in their will to the charity or move to a higher giving amount without the proper insights and illustrations by the charity.

Clearly, financial institutions have been able to sharpen their focus on this key group of individuals who will be passing billions if not trillions to the next generation.



Donate to Eliminate


I was encouraged to see the Laura Saunders’ article Tax Smart Philanthropy Made Easy in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). This has been a key element of what we have been speaking to advisors, charities and individuals about in getting their estate, financial houses in order to minimize taxation on their capital gains now and in their estates. Tax planning means that advisors and their clients need to take an inventory of all assets now and over time to ensure that what is left over and taxed can be put to other uses like philanthropy.


The WSJ article talks about the increase in popularity of Donor Advised Funds such as those offered by Fidelity, Schwab and Rowe. The other option is to give directly to charity and see the impact of your giving. The Donor Advised Fund model is a very smart approach if you are undecided about which charities you may want to leave your money to, and the taxman is not one of your chosen beneficiaries.  It is also a wise strategy for future generations who will invariably be approached to give to charity.  Imagine having the luxury of helping society with pre-tax dollars.


An important element in smart tax planning is being able to see or have someone illustrate to you how lowering taxes can be achieved and what is required.  All too often, advisors do not spend the time to engage in these types of discussions for a number of reasons including, lack of knowledge or not having the tools to educate and illustrate these concepts to their clients.  Not-for-profit organizations are equally guilty of not informing and engaging their members with the information in a concrete manner. That is why historically, the number of bequests to charities has remained in the 4% to 6% range for many years.  Guess who is getting the rest after the family? You got it, the taxman.


The solution to this is GIFTABULATOR, an estate, financial and philanthropic planning app with an easy to understand model for planning purposes. GIFTABULATOR easily calculates how much money an individual will be left with, can pass on to their heirs and how much should be donated now or as part of an estate to reduce taxes at any point in the investment cycle. Can you imagine now how much you should give now to reduce your taxes on various assets? Call it Donate to Eliminate.


Laura Saunders’ article in the WSJ hits home about leaving a legacy for yourself, your family and your community.


Connect with GIFTABULATOR at app.giftabulatorusa.com


e. wpetruck@fundingmatters.com

School of Hard Knocks


I have attended the school of hard knocks when it comes to planned giving.  When I look back  over a 20 year period on my experiences engaging donors about making a bequest, each and every instance has taught me valuable lessons about the psychology of estate planning.

Dr. Russell James, Researcher and Professor at Texas Tech University, has given me valuable insight and successful strategies over the years.  Dr. James points out in his presentations and in his book Inside the Mind of the Bequest Donor that often a charity is 40 years away from actually realizing if their approach to a donor was effective.

In fact, I have learned in the past 20 years in fundraising that discussing major giving and setting up bequests for charities are two of the last things people really think about in their daily lives.

Why did my first Leave a Legacy or Planned Giving sessions feel like busts at the time?  I would organize  sessions in which donors and supporters only showed up for moral support (and to be perfectly clear, none of my family members came out to support me). During these meetings we even provided  coffee and continental breakfast in a comfortable setting.

Only years later did I realize these events really were successful. Of the four people who came to one of my first Planned Giving sessions, three have now passed on and one is still living.  Of the three that have since passed, I can say that all three left bequests in their estates, with two of the three making donations which are in the top five largest gifts to this organization.  During their lifetimes, all three continued to make annual contributions to the organization.  Of interest, at the time none of the three had an updated will.

The key to my success with these Leave a Legacy sessions was to reference the research of Dr. James. When approaching a donor, instead of using the planned giving terminology, I invoked a term Dr. James calls “symbolic immortality” when addressing leaving a legacy in estates or tax planning with donors.  The discussion then moved from an ask for the charity to a discussion about the donor’s heirs and how they can have a lasting impact in the world.

This technique has been replicated countless times in the past eight years with increased success. More individuals are attending these information sessions and taking estate and philanthropic planning discussions and the completion of their wills to the next stage.




Your Most Important Assets Are Outside Your Portfolio


You might have been advised that the most crucial elements of wealth creation and preservation centres on your investment portfolio.  It doesn’t.

As I see each day in our practice at FUNDING matters the huge financial issues in our lives are the success of our marriages, the ability of our children to live productive and fruitful lives and our commitment and engagement to create wellness by healthy eating, exercising and living.

If any of these lifestyle elements aren’t working smoothly or worse, if they are in a destructive mode then there is generally a heap of money going out the door to fix these problems.

If you are glued to your portfolio without paying much attention to your world outside of your financial statements chances are you are setting yourself up for failure, regardless how your investments perform.

Discuss family matters with your children, update your wills, take care of your affairs.  Make a provision for charity to benefit society and in the end benefit by reducing your taxes through your philanthropy.  Leave a legacy for your family and society.