I've had the good fortune this week to do quite a bit of thinking about legacy giving.

I've had the good fortune this week to do quite a bit of thinking about legacy giving.

Legacy gifts are those charitable instructions you leave in a will that make a difference in the lives that follow and allow you to continue to support the nonprofits you supported in life.

Legacy giving is not to be confused with the German Village Society's Legacy Circle Memberships -- our top level of annual membership support at $1,000.

Here's why it's on my mind:

I was opening the mail three Fridays ago when an envelope from the Columbus Foundation made its way to the top of my pile. The German Village Society received a check from the Fred and Howard Fund of the Columbus Foundation for $1,046.20. An adviser I spoke to said that this is the first distribution to a set of Fred and Howard's charities from their fund at TCF.

The payment is a percentage of their investment and will be paid to us each February and August. Our grant is unrestricted.

It is a true honor to have men who worked so hard on behalf of this village in life to continue to support our mission even after death. In order to honor their longtime dedication to and investment in the Society, board of trustees President Bill Case has named a committee to decide how best to use the funds in the men's honor. Trustees Michael Cornelis, Beth Ervin and Bill Curlis will suggest a plan for the money.

Also this week, we had a splashy party to celebrate the photography of Villager Adi Mizrahi (whose exhibit "Night in the German Village" is on display through March 31) and to reopen Brent Warner Fest Hall. As you know, Fest has just undergone $45,000 worth of improvements.

In my remarks to our 250 gathered guests at that Sunday party, I noted the two men's bequests that made the project a reality. Brent Warner left the German Village Society money that trustees at the time chose to designate to maintain and update the Meeting Haus. Those funds, along with a gift last year from the estate of Gene Owen, allowed us to freshen up our meeting space for members and the community alike.

Mr. Owen asked that his gift be used to keep the Meeting Haus a place for fun and camaraderie -- which, he said, were his favorite parts of membership.

Planned giving to a charitable organization such as the German Village Society -- either in a will or during your life -- can result in a wonderful benefit to an organization that you value.

It can also lead to real tax advantages to you as you develop your estate plan. For example, through planned giving, with certain assets, you can create income tax deductions today for gifts that pass at your death.

You may also be able to eliminate capital gains tax on the sale of appreciated assets. You can also structure gifts over time and avail yourself of current tax benefits, thereby avoiding the risk of these benefits being eliminated in the future.

We appreciate all that everyone does to support the German Village Society and its mission. Some thought to estate planning and planned giving might provide a strong mutual benefit to you and the Society in the future.

Shiloh Todorov is director of the German Village Society.