"Cancer just sucks the life out of a person. It's so hard to watch. The thought of it happening to a kid," Penny's voice trails off and she quickly changes the subject. "My dad died of cancer, and I see a lot of it though my work," she adds.
Penny is Penelope Hart, Dream Builder and financial plannerwhich gives her several connections to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Penny has watched several family members and clients affected by cancer, and a friend's daughter was treated in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute. It has made an impression.
"This hospital really means something to me, especially when it comes to what it is doing for children with pediatric cancer, so I recently joined the Foundation's Planned Giving Cabinet, which is just being assembled," she says. "There are five of usbusiness owners, financial and wealth planners and attorneyswho all meet to find ways to get the word out about charitable giving. Our goal as a cabinet is to spread the word about the benefits of giving, especially planned giving, so I've made that my mission as one more way I can help a hospital that I care about."
Another impressionable moment for Penny was a friend and coworker sharing her own Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital story. At 3 years old, the friend's daughter had a stroke. The hospital reconstructed her aorta using a vein from the little girl's left arm. "The care she received was as if she were the child of the doctors and nurses. She is now a mother of four," Penny shares.
"What impresses me so much about Penny is her passion for everything in her life," explains Lydia Bailey, planned giving director for the Johns Hopkins All Children's Foundation. "She cares so much about what she does for her clients, her expert advice is used in her own life as well. She saw a need at the hospital, she knew she spent her days explaining the benefits of legacy giving to her clients, and decided to do the same in her own life. It's that kind of passion that we wanted on our Planned Giving Cabinet."
Penny built her career around the financial needs of the boomer generation and as she gets closer to her own retirement and begins considering estate planning and planned giving, she realizes her clients are in the same position.
"As my clients age and their needs change, I've started learning so much about nonprofits over the past few years and it made me look at my own philanthropy, especially after finishing my Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® designation," she says. "I knew I needed to find something I was passionate aboutand that is now the advice I give my clients. What do they really care about?"
Penny is affiliated with New York Life, a company that matches donations to specific types of organizations including childhood bereavement, accredited schools and educational partners. She has leveraged that opportunity as part of her charitable contribution to the hospital. She is eager to get the word out to business owners that matching programs are a win-win for everyone, especially the charity.
Although she doesn't recommend specific charities to her clients, Penny appreciates the opportunity to help them determine what is meaningful to them, and she loves sharing little tidbits that people don't often realize. For instance, if you determine that you don't need your life insurance benefits any longer, rather than canceling the plan, you can choose to make a charity the beneficiary. "It's one more way to give," she says, "and in fact, giving to Johns Hopkins All Children's is what I've also done through my own life insurance as well."
As Penny continues to help her clients plan their financial futures, she is comforted to know that her own plans are firm and that her own legacy will include helping the patients and families at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in more ways than one. Her hope is that others will too.
This article about Penelope Hart, ChFC®, CLU®, CAP® is written by Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital (JHACH). She is a Financial Adviser with Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor offering Investment Advisory Services & a Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, A Licensed Insurance Agency, 309 W. Dr. M. L. King, Jr. Blvd., STE 300, Tampa, FL 33607. JHACH is solely responsible for the content, which may not represent the opinions of NYLIFE Securities LLC or any affiliates. Consult your own professional as neither NYLIFE Securities LLC nor representatives/affiliates provide legal, tax or accounting advice.