For many of us, our religious beliefs play a major role in shaping our personal values and guiding our actions. As a committed Catholic, George Resnik believed that philanthropy was both a privilege and a responsibility. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus, the Archbishop John Carroll Council, the Serra Club, and the Knights of Malta. A member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Mr. Resnik “joyfully sang with their choir,” as his obituary noted.
A lifelong resident of our community, Mr. Resnik was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in chemical engineering. For over 60 years, he worked at Watcon, a company which provides water treatment programs for industrial, commercial, and institutional operations.
Mr. Resnik diligently built his IRA account throughout his career. At the end of his life, he used those retirement assets to create a permanent fund with the Community Foundation that will support causes that he cared about forever.
Giving through an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or Keogh plan is a particularly savvy way to maximize the power of philanthropy. When these retirement savings vehicles are bequeathed directly to children or grandchildren, federal estate taxes, state inheritance taxes, and federal and state income taxes can reduce the value of the gift by as much as 70%. As an example, a recipient could receive as little as $300,000 from a $1,000,000 IRA after taxes.
But when IRAs are bequeathed directly to a qualified charity, the funds bypass the otherwise applicable taxes. As part of an overall estate plan, a good strategy is to specify that assets qualifying for a “step up” in basis at death be transferred to children, while retirement funds make up any intended charitable bequests.
For George Resnik, “giving back” was a central part of life. His large family—nine children, six stepchildren, 27 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren—knew this about him, and appreciated it.
“Generosity was a big part of what my dad was about,” his son, George Resnik, Jr., says. “It was very important to him to be able to help. He worked long and hard to make sure he was in a position to do this.”
During his life, Mr. Resnik generously supported many causes, including the Women’s Care Center, University of Notre Dame, LOGAN, and St. Vincent de Paul. Now, through the George Resnik Fund at the Community Foundation, his generosity will continue to support causes true to his personal values forever.