In The News... | Sharpe Group
Posted October 1st, 1998

In The News…

Omaha–a new regional headquarters for philanthropy?

Omaha, Nebraska, may now be emerging as a new center of philanthropy. Why? Because many Omaha residents who invested with fellow Midwesterner Warren Buffett 40 years ago are reaping the financial benefits of this investment guru’s golden touch, and they’re sharing their wealth with nonprofit organizations.

Many of Omaha’s millionaires began by investing moderate amounts of money in Mr. Buffett’s original partnership. Then, when Buffett formed his Berkshire Hathaway holding company, the investors transferred their funds into his new venture. Since then, Berkshire Hathaway has consistently outperformed the stock market averages, making many of Buffett’s original investors very wealthy.

Leland and Dorothy Olson, millionaire Buffett-investors, have given away millions to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Another Buffett-investor, Robert Soener, used $1.7 million of his wealth to create his own foundation. Soener originally invested a $10,000 bonus with Buffett in the 1950s. Another couple who invested with Buffett, the Othmers, left a fortune estimated at almost three-quarters of a billion dollars consisting of Berkshire Hathaway shares to a number of charities. (See last month’s issue of Give & Take for more on the Othmer estate.)

Source: Philanthropy Journal Alert, August 21, 1998

IRS figures reveal who’s who among charitable states

The Internal Revenue Service has issued state-by-state data regarding the money Americans gave to charity in 1996. Here are two lists of significance to gift planners: first is a listing of the top ten states with the highest average charitable deductions based on itemized returns; the second list shows the top ten states with the highest percentage of returns claiming charitable deductions.

Top 10 for Average Charitable
Deductions by Itemized Returns

1. Wyoming $5,822
2. Utah 4,845
3. Tennessee 4,123
4. Washington, D.C. 3,952
5. Texas 3,702
6. Arkansas 3,601
7. Mississippi 3,531
8. Alabama 3,423
9. Louisiana 3,312
10. Florida 3,234

Top 10 for Percentage of Returns
Claiming Charitable Deductions

1. Maryland 38.1%
2. New Jersey 36.5
3. Connecticut 35.5
4. New York 34.1
5. Minnesota 33.8
6. Massachusetts 32.9
7. Utah 32.2
8. Delaware & Virginia 31.5
9. Rhode Island 30.9
10. California 3 0.8

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 27, 1998

Gift Annuity Issuers Take Note–U.S. Life Expectancy Increases

For those born in the United States in 1996, life expectancy rose to 76.1 years. The previous record for life expectancy at birth was 75.8 years set in 1992. The following life expectancy chart shows data according to gender and race:

                                                               Men                                                          Women
Black                                                   66.1                                                              74.2
White                                                  73.8                                                              79.6
Other than white/black                73.0                                                              79.0

According to other reports, the life expectancy of persons at advanced ages also continues to increase over the years–a matter that can be of significance when considering the rates of payment for charitable gift annuities.

Source: USA Today, August 3, 1998

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