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Building on a lifetime of nonviolent action

Building on a lifetime of nonviolent action

Louise and Severyn Bruyn

Louise and Severyn Bruyn join others who have included AFSC in their estate plans as Friends for the Future members.

If you talk to Louise and Severyn Bruyn long enough, you'll hear about protests, acts of civil disobedience, and decades of work centered on economic justice, antiwar activism, and environmental concerns.

Through their 67 years of marriage, AFSC has served as a source of support for the Bruyns' activism. That's one of the reasons they're longtime donors to AFSC and have included a bequest to the organization in their will.

"Our commitment [to nonviolent social change] came from learning about what happens when war and violence are viewed as a solution," says Louise. "Finding out about Quakers and AFSC, knowing what they stood for—nonviolent action, caring, and compassion—we knew we wanted to be on that side."

Louise, a former school teacher, made national headlines in 1971 when she walked from Newton, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., to protest the Vietnam War. Severyn, a sociology professor at Boston College for more than 40 years, taught a course on nonviolent action and authored 10 books—all while taking part in "more demonstrations than I can remember" he says. Louise founded an environmental action organization in retirement. And both also served with AFSC—Severyn as a board member and Louise with a 1980s-era program in Economic Conversion out of the Cambridge, Massachusetts office.

For Louise and Severyn, ages 88 and 90, respectively, giving to AFSC is another way to contribute to social change.

"We just think AFSC is wonderful," Severyn says. "We've been giving for many years and we are happy to continue doing so."

For information on the variety of ways you can include AFSC in your estate planning, please contact Alyssa Chatten at 888-588-2372 or

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the American Friends Service Committee a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

Bequest Language

I devise and bequeath to the American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (tax ID #23-1352010) (Insert amount of gift or insert the word "all" or the percentage of the estate) to be used for its general purposes.

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to AFSC or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to AFSC as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to AFSC as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and AFSC where you agree to make a gift to AFSC and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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