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Terry and Nancy Conklin. (Photo by Cheryl Senter).

Terry and Nancy Conklin. (Photo by Cheryl Senter).

For one family, an unusual gift means a lasting legacy

Nancy and Terry Conklin wanted their children to inherit a charitable legacy. They achieved their goal by making a gift of insurance

Terence and Nancy Conklin wanted to build a philanthropic legacy for their kids – money that TJ and Kristen could, when the time came, direct to the causes and organizations that they knew their family cared about most.

To achieve their goal, the Conklins did something a bit unusual: They bought life insurance. And then they gave it away.

They fully funded the policy and gave it to the Foundation. When they die, the insurance benefit – an amount significantly larger than the cost of funding the policy – will go into the family’s donor-advised fund at the Foundation. TJ and Kristen, now young adults, will eventually work together as advisors to the fund, recommending grants to be made from it.

“We talk about being able to ‘turn any asset into good,’ and this is a great example,” said Jenifer Cannon, a Foundation senior philanthropy advisor. “There really is such a range of ways to give. We want to help people give back in the way that works best for them. The Conklins’ gift will allow them to continue to do so much for New Hampshire families and communities.”

Gifts of insurance can multiply giving power. A survivorship insurance policy funded with a premium of $50,000, for instance, could become a gift of $500,000 later.

Other New Hampshire families had recommended the Foundation to the Conklins as a philanthropic partner. The idea of giving through New Hampshire’s community foundation – which is comprised of a collection of funds focused on helping New Hampshire communities – appealed to the Conklins.

“If you look at philanthropy as it was 200 years ago, you were just taking care of your neighbors. His barn burned down,” Terry Conklin says, pointing to the house across the street, “and everybody got together and rebuilt it. Somebody got sick, you took care of them.

“We love the fact that the Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire-based and it has the capability of finding and connecting” donors with the most effective nonprofits and initiatives, he said.

Terry Conklin is an experienced wealth and investment manager. And the Conklins already give generously to causes and organizations in New Hampshire. Through his experience managing the private family foundation of a high-net-worth family, Terry Conklin knows first-hand the complexities of effective philanthropy.

To navigate that landscape, he said, “The kids are going to need some help.”

Giving back is part of what this family has done together since the kids were old enough to understand the idea. Before their tenth birthdays, the Conklin kids were wrapping presents for kids at the local homeless shelter and helping out at the soup kitchen.

The Conklins talked to TJ and Kristen about the fund when they were home for the holidays last year. “It’s a nice thing to talk about with your children,” Nancy Conklin said. And with the fund set up at the Foundation, she said, they were able to tell their kids: “Here’s a chunk of money, and here’s a great partner” to help you apply it effectively to the issues you care about.

When Nancy and Terry asked how they might give the money, Kristen immediately talked about helping children with Down syndrome. Nancy’s Aunt Carole, a cherished family member, had made a huge impression on the Conklin kids. She had Down syndrome, and passed away just this year.

They talked about how the fund might provide scholarships for kids in need, help teenage girls, support environmental protection and marine research.

“We got them thinking very broadly,” Terry Conklin said “but this is how the Foundation is going to be extremely helpful.” And they plan to give together as a family in the meantime.

The Conklins have discussed their gift with other New Hampshire families. They hope it will “pave the way a little bit” for more people to be able to leave legacies that engage their kids in giving – and that help take care of their neighbors in New Hampshire.


The Charitable Foundation is committed to helping families achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information on how the Foundation can help, contact Laura Rauscher, Director of Philanthropy, at 800-464-6641 ext. 274 or ynhen.enhfpure@aups.bet.