By Alice Wood, JD

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Although he has been gone for more than 200 years, his words still ring true. Given the talk of increased taxes and an unprecedented transfer of wealth expected to take place over the next 10 years, now is the time to consider how to maximize benefits for yourself and your loved ones as well as see more impact for your community and favorite causes. According to a new study titled “Illinois Transfer of Wealth Opportunity,” published by LOCUS Impact Investing with support from Forefront, the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations and others, it is estimated that $434 billion will transfer through Illinois estates over the next 10 years, with nearly $53 billion passing through DuPage County estates alone. While it’s hard to know what the tax ramifications will be, imagine what good could come from this transfer of wealth if as little as 5 percent of it were directed to charitable causes. Although death and taxes will never go away, we each have the ability to take advantage of existing opportunities to benefit our loved ones, support our community and make our mark.

“The idea that five percent of our estate or an inherited windfall can be donated to create a lasting impact for our community is something we should all consider. DuPage Foundation is a fantastic partner to help people explore their charitable options and see more impact with their philanthropy.”

CARSON R. YEAGER, Retired Senior Executive, The Northern Trust Company, DuPage Foundation Trustee Emeritus and Legacy Society Member

At a local level, just five percent of that estimated wealth to be transferred could create a $2.65 billion community endowment to annually support DuPage County’s most pressing needs and other causes that enrich our local quality of life: from area food banks and homeless shelters, to mental health service providers, humane societies, arts and cultural groups, educational programs, environmental organizations, and scores of other worthwhile organizations. Furthermore, as this endowment grows over time, 20 years from now it could generate as much as $151 million annually in vital grant support. My former career as an estate planning attorney has been a real eyeopener regarding the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. Working with competent advisors can make all the difference. People need to make sure they are looking out for any special circumstances involving their beneficiaries, including those with disabilities. Minimizing taxes always seems to be top of mind, but thoughtful planning includes having the foresight to be prepared for all of the “what ifs” including what if we take advantage of this monumental transfer of wealth to do a little something to make our world a better place? How Can You Help? We are so much more impactful when we combine our resources to meet the needs of our community. That’s what DuPage Foundation does best—matches passions and resources with needs and opportunities. Whether you choose to give in support of the DuPage Forever Fund, which addresses all of DuPage County community’s needs, or through a particular field of interest, or a fund to accomplish your personal goals, together we can raise the quality of life for the residents of our county for generations to come.

Create a Legacy

Another easy way to make a difference is through DuPage Foundation’s Legacy Society which exists to provide people who share a love for our community a means in which to unite in making transformational change by committing a charitable gift from their estates. Consisting of 171 known members and representing tens of millions of dollars in commitments, the Legacy Society honors generous and forward-thinking donors who have included DuPage Foundation in their estate plans. Work with DuPage Foundation and your attorney, financial planner, and other advisors to facilitate your wishes. From naming DuPage Foundation in your will or trust to including it as a beneficiary of your retirement assets, or a life insurance policy, there are a number of ways in which you can see more impact for the causes and organizations you love—throughout our community and beyond.

It’s As Easy As a Phone Call

Please join us and become part of the DuPage Foundation family by increasing your charitable impact and partnering with us in Doing a World of Good in Our Own Backyard®. Call us today at 630.665.5556 or visit the website at to learn more.

About the Author:

Alice Wood, JD, is director of gift planning for DuPage Foundation. Prior to joining DuPage Foundation, Alice founded Wealth Watchers International®, a company dedicated to promoting financial education and financial literacy. She authored Wealth Watchers – A Simple Program to Help You Spend Less and Save More. Alice received her law degree from DePaul College of Law and practiced as an estate planning attorney for many years.