Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Chris Brekke volunteers for The Salvation Army

Volunteer sees firsthand how his donations are used

Added on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Editor’s note: Here’s a story that originally published in 2016 about a donor who chose a charitable gift annuity benefiting The Salvation Army. We’re refreshing this story as taxes are due to remind others that there are ways to both help others and cut your tax bill next April.

People like donating to The Salvation Army because it’s one of the world’s most trusted charities. They give confidently knowing The Salvation Army is a credible steward sure to deliver quality services to those most in need.

Although Chris Brekke (pictured) gives to The Salvation Army for those same reasons, he doesn’t really require the assurance. He’s a regular volunteer who gets to see, with his own two eyes, precisely how The Salvation Army uses his donations to impact lives.

Adult Day Center activitiesBrekke volunteers at The Salvation Army Adult Day Center (pictured) in Maplewood, Minn. Once a week, he stops by for a few hours to bring happiness into the lives of the program’s participants.

“I enjoy it a lot,” Brekke said. “I love the people. The staff members – you can tell it isn’t just a job for them.”

The center serves seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s, younger guests who typically have a traumatic brain injury, and other adults with challenges (read in-depth story about a participant).

Brekke is a retired pastor who spent the past nine years living with his wife on a hobby farm near West Concord, Minn. When they moved to the Twin Cities last year, Brekke began searching for something productive to do with his spare time.

“One of my prayers, every day, is for God to help me find the right places to use my time, talents, and treasures,” Brekke said. “We all have just a little time here on earth – might as well do something good with it.”

Dancing at the Adult Day CenterHe discovered the Adult Day Center online after ringing bells during the Christmas season. He knew helping out at the Adult Day Center would be the perfect volunteer opportunity.

“My dad’s in a nursing home and I admire the people who care for him,” Brekke said. “So I’m kind of doing it in his honor.”

He’s doing it in honor of one other person as well – his brother, who lives in a Salvation Army supportive housing complex.

“I’m thankful The Salvation Army is there helping him and other people, so that’s part of my story as well,” Brekke said.

Special way of giving

Brekke and his wife donate to The Salvation Army in a special way: through a charitable gift annuity. In exchange for these gifts, The Salvation Army makes guaranteed payments to them for life and they receive a charitable tax deduction. Once God calls them home, The Salvation Army will use whatever money is left to help people in need.

A charitable gift annuity can be made in virtually any amount.

“It’s a pretty smart financial deal,” Brekke said. “I don’t know why more people don’t do it. It’s a win-win.”

Historic photo of Salvation Army food lineThe Salvation Army has offered these gift options for close to a century.

“Throughout all the wars, depressions and recessions, The Salvation Army has never missed a payment,” said David Overstake, Planned Giving Director for The Salvation Army of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Overstake likes these gifts because they allow Salvation Army donors to leave a lasting legacy.

“Charitable gift annuities help people in need long after the donor is gone,” he said. “Although the people will never know the donor, they will never forget what The Salvation Army has done to help them.”

A child eats a mealCharitable gift annuities are just one way The Salvation Army can transform your estate plans into a bona fide legacy that helps you, your loved ones, and people served by The Salvation Army.

In addition to gift annuities, The Salvation Army can also help you donate stock or gifts from your IRA account, write The Salvation Army into your will, donate land, and more.

For more information:

No matter what type of gift you give The Salvation Army, you should first consult with your professional tax advisor, financial planner, or both.