Leaving a Legacy

October 31. 2022

By R. Stephen Scott

Treasurer & Chair of the IBF Finance & Investment Committee 

The Illinois Bar Foundation is currently in the process of refreshing its planned giving initiative, otherwise known as the Lincoln Legacy Society, which was formed to provide stability and long term support for the Foundation.

The IBF has a two-fold mission of ensuring meaningful access to justice to those living in the margins and also assisting legal colleagues and their families who are no longer able to support themselves, primarily due to disability, death, and unforeseen financial hardships.  The IBF provided $245,000 in fiscal year 2022 to organizations and projects to support access to the civil legal system for those most vulnerable among us, such as victims of domestic violence, families facing eviction, and those seeking lawful asylum.  Also in fiscal year 2022, the IBF provided $120,000 to Illinois lawyers and their families who have suffered financial hardships and required support to survive.

Making planned gifts to the IBF not only provides tax benefits to the donor but fulfils the donors’ charitable and philanthropic social goals.  Large and small contributions fill these goals and there is no standard other than one’s own social conscience.

Charitable giving, both short and long term, is easy and IBF stands ready to assist those wishing to support its mission.  Simple contributions can be made by:

  1. Making cash contributions to IBF and/or become a Champion (formerly a fellow) of the IBF. A minimum donation of $1,000.00 (or $100.00 per year for ten (10) years) places a lawyer within this status.  Higher contribution levels are also available to those who desire.
  2. Making qualified charitable distribution, also known as an “IRA Charitable, Rollover Gift,” through direct transfer of funds to IBF from an individuals’ IRA or retirement account. For gifts made from required minimum distributions (RMDs) for those who have retired, the reportable RMD for tax purposes is reduced by the gift – more significant than a direct tax deduction.
  3. Specific gifts or bequests made through Wills or Trusts designating the IBF as a beneficiary.

Of course, there are more creative gifting devices available like charitable remainder trusts and split interest trusts, for which there are many qualified Illinois estate planning attorneys to assist the donor.  Please contact the IBF for information to make a charitable donation at by calling or emailing Executive Director Stacey Meehan at (312) 920-4683 or Smeehan@illinoisbarfoundation.org

Anyone making a planned gift to the IBF becomes a recognized part of the Lincoln Legacy Society.  Abraham Lincoln, as the initiative’s namesake, left an indelible mark on the Illinois legal system, so too can your legacy gifts to the IBF.

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