Dave and Ann Vogelpohl grew up in different households, but shared similarities: Both grew up in loving families with three children and middle-class homes where their fathers were business owners. Their families did not have a lot of extra money but Dave and Ann experienced that they always found a way to give something.
They shared another key similarity: both grew up Catholic, attending Mass weekly and on Holy Days, and praying the rosary and other devotions. They both also have youthful memories of using the children’s donation envelopes to make gifts to the churches where they were raised (Ann in Indianapolis, IN; Dave in Quincy, IL), and at Lent to the Catholic Relief Services rice bowl in a little cardboard box.
“No doubt our values have come from our parents. While we have quite different personalities, our values have been the foundation of our marriage,” Dave and Ann say.
Their philanthropic journeys began independently as children, and merged when they married in 1976, during their mid-20s. The couple made a gift to St. Lawrence Church in Indianapolis where they were married, laying the foundation for a lifetime of family giving. Dave’s success in business followed, as did children – and passing on Catholic values to their children.
As they did a generation earlier, Dave and Ann watched their children experience the joyous beginning of their own philanthropic journeys when their kids gave the family’s offertory gift during Mass and donated their allowances to the church or charities during Lent. “They were exposed to the importance of charitable giving from an early age,” said Dave and Ann.
As the years passed, Dave did well in the corporate world. The Vogelpohl family continued to give what they could at Mass, the occasional capital campaign, and to other charitable causes. But they wanted to do more, give more. Shortly after moving to Orlando in 2013, their strong belief in Catholic education caused them to make a sizable donation to the Sr. Elizabeth Murphy Endowment at St. John Vianney School in Orlando, where their grandchildren attend. They attribute growing spiritually in their relationship with Jesus as the most important part of their process in determining their philanthropic aspirations.
As they studied stewardship and discipleship it became clearer, “Everything we have is from the Lord and as a good steward, we should be fruitful and return what he has given us 100-fold,” said Dave and Ann. “This conversion was more than just reading the Gospel. It was indeed a conversion of the heart in attitude, belief, and humility. In the end, we have come to believe that we should live only for Him and return everything we have back to the Lord in humility and thanks for all the things we have received from Him. This is the philosophy we now practice and want to impart to our children as much as possible.”
In addition to their spiritual research and growth, Dave also researched different forms of giving including family foundations, donor advised funds and trusts. The Vogelpohls did internet research, read articles and engaged others in the research including their attorney, financial advisors, accountant and some members of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida team. The Catholic Foundation offered them a book, which they highly recommend, Wealth in Families. Dave had also served as an operations manager for a nonprofit organization in Orlando where he learned about fundraising and donor services, as well as how major donors make decisions.
Through their process, Dave and Ann implemented two best practices in philanthropic planning, which The Catholic Foundation encourages: engage an advisory team and engage your family. Their financial advisor team, which they have worked with for years and trust, helped them to clarify how various giving options matched their values; their attorney, a fellow parishioner at St. John Vianney who is engaged in the church and diocese, and also trusted, helped them to understand the implications of endowments, family foundations and other gifts; their accountant, trusted for serving their business and professional needs, helped them understand the tax implications of giving; and The Catholic Foundation offered advice about gift planning and Catholic social screened giving vehicles, which matched their values. Dave and Ann credit the presence of the Holy Spirit on their team, “This entire journey has been the result of our relationship with the Lord and He, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has led us to the right people to travel this path with us”.
Building a holistic advisory team, and including their children, has proven fruitful, said Ron Conte, the couple’s attorney who has known them since they joined St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Orlando as parishioners in 2013. The strategy “will create opportunities for philanthropy in the Vogelpohl family name for generations to come,” said Mr. Conte, an Orlando-based attorney. “The Catholic Foundation team certainly was quite instrumental in helping Dave and Ann achieve their estate planning objectives.”
As they were determining the details of their estate plan, Dave and Ann invited their children to join them in a meeting with their financial advisor that included a discussion about their estate planning and their philanthropic values. The Catholic Foundation provided copies of Wealth in Families for each of their children. Dave and Ann wrote a personalized letter titled “Our Philosophy of Wealth” and included this in the book. At this meeting, the Vogelpohl children asked technical questions, provided their input and agreed to jointly become endowment advisors and to meet annually to consider the suggestions about giving opportunities.
This letter expressed why Dave and Ann placed such importance on their family’s engagement, which was not only about establishing a legacy of philanthropy but also for the salvation of the souls of their family members. (Please click here to read the letter online). The book, the letter, and discussion laid the groundwork for the next major step in their philanthropic journey when the Vogelpohl family established The Catholic Foundation’s first Endowed Donor Advised Fund. Their estate plan includes inheritance for their children and grandchildren, including an educational trust and insurance policies. The bulk of their taxable assets will be left through the Endowed Donor Advised Fund which makes the most tax efficient option for distribution of their wealth. “A key part of our plan was to involve our children in managing the Endowment so that they develop their own sense of philanthropy that hopefully will include their choices for wealth management, which will include the inheritance we pass to them and their children directly.”
The couple’s attorney, Mr. Conte, said this inclusive approach will positively affect generations. “One thing that impressed me the most about working on their estate plan was Dave’s and Ann’s commitment to involve their children at every step of the process. The final plan that Dave and Ann created very much reflects the many conversations and discussions that they had with their children,” he said. “Dave and Ann wanted their children to be invested in the process and in their plan as it was being developed. In the end, I am quite confident that the Vogelpohl children not only understood what their parents were doing but why they were doing it. By involving their children in the planning process from beginning to end, Dave and Ann set an excellent example for their children who will be both the beneficiaries and stewards of a plan that reflects the Catholic values and identity of their beloved parents.”
Dave and Ann are looking forward to further discussing as a family their decision and the implications to each family member. They noted the three primary values they found with the Endowed Donor Advised Fund offered by The Catholic Foundation: “1) Management of the funds we give with the benefit of a larger pool of money
2) Catholic values are the priority and are included in The Catholic Foundation’s policies for investments and distributions
3) The terms and conditions provide healthy boundaries that are consistent with our values after we are gone”
They added: “By setting up the Endowed Donor Advised Fund with The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, we hope to make it easy for our children and grandchildren to make the right choice for the Lord regarding charitable giving. We pray our children stay involved in reviewing suggestions for donations from this fund and that the annual consideration of these choices serves as a reminder to them of us and our values in the hope that they might emulate us.”
Connecting donors to philanthropic opportunities that support their faith values is a defining service, said Kimberlee Riley, The Catholic Foundation’s President & CEO.
“The Catholic Foundation is here to support individuals and families on their philanthropic journeys so they can align their goals and values and maximize their opportunities to provide for themselves, their families and make an impact with the ministries on their heart,” she said. “It was truly a pleasure for our team to have the opportunity to walk with Dave and Ann on their journey because they are so faith-filled. Our team celebrated with the Vogelpohls when they welcomed their newest grandchild recently as we felt connected spiritually and through this beautiful philanthropic plan engaging their family today and generations to come.”
When asked about advice they have for other families, Dave and Ann shared: “Build your relationship with Jesus, follow Jesus – the parables of the rich men, read Wealth in Families, engage advisors including The Catholic Foundation, pray about what God is calling you to be and do, be persistent and persevere in living out your values and following the Lord, and finally think and pray about how your values can affect your family after you have died.”
Their attorney, Mr. Conte, said the Vogelpohls are an inspiration for others who want to lift the world through philanthropy.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Dave and Ann Vogelpohl, through their commitment to live their Catholic faith and values not only through their estate plan but through every aspect of their lives, stand as wonderful and inspiring role models for their children, grandchildren, and those who are lucky enough to know them,” he said. “Dave and Ann put their faith and values into action. Their sincere desire to live their Catholic faith and to reflect those values on a daily basis should serve as inspiration to many others who seek to leave a lasting and profound legacy for their families and for the broader Catholic community throughout Central Florida.”