Story Magazine

Third Quarter, 2002

Philip T. and Myrtle E. Johnson establish charitable lead trust

by Bradley Reiners, associate vice president of planned giving, breiners@luthersem.edu

Frequently when visiting with donors, I have the opportunity to learn why they have chosen to be so supportive to Luther Seminary and what values they wish to pass along to children and grandchildren.  Invariably, variations of the importance of the seminary's mission and the life-saving good news of the gospels are mentioned.    Too often, we don't learn of a donor's plan to benefit the seminary until after they are gone.  In such cases, we express our appreciation to surviving family members.  Such is the case with Philip and Myrtle Johnson.

Myrtle passed away in 1978 and Philip in September of 2001.  Philip was one of the few people to live in three centuries and two millenniums.  Myrtle and Philip lived their entire lives in the Twin Cities area.  Although I never met Philip or Myrtle, I got to know them through their daughter, Lorraine.  I discovered that they lived and were successful business owners in the northeast Minneapolis area, believed in planning, and cherished their family and church home.

How did they transfer these values to their estate plan?  Following Myrtle's death, Philip, with his attorney's assistance, executed a revocable (living) trust.  One of the trust's provisions called for the establishment of a charitable lead trust (CRT) following his death.    This is a fairly sophisticated estate planning tool which, in this case, will make gifts to Luther Seminary for a period of 10 years.  The annual gifts will be used to establish The Philip T. and Myrtle E. Johnson Endowed Scholarship Fund to help train the future leaders of our church.  Following the 10-year payment period, the trust principal will be distributed to family members. 

This charitable lead trust is a win-win giving option which, in this case, affirms lifelong values, provides a very generous gift to Luther Seminary in support of our mission, provides future support to family members, and serves as a witness to others.  I'm sure that Philip's planning process began by considering family and values.  With these clearly in mind, his adviser crafted a plan that would make his dream a reality.  Thanks be to God for people like Philip and Myrtle.