The Arnolds turn experience into extended impact

Rick and Ellen Arnold at the 2013 Kiwanis International Convention in Vancouver, BCRick and Ellen Arnold have a proud history as Kiwanians. But they’re also extending their impact into the future—thanks to gifts they make to the Kiwanis International Foundation.

The couple first joined the Kiwanis family in 1988, when Ellen was approached by a professional contact to be a member of the Kiwanis Club of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“I was working for a nonprofit, and one of the board members there asked me,” she says. “I joined to benefit my work, and for the contacts it would bring.”

As the club’s impact on children’s lives became clear, the Kiwanis experience in Harrisburg soon brought Ellen a new level of satisfaction. In fact, it proved to be contagious.

“I saw how much fun she was having, and I joined too,” Rick says. “It’s really a good thing for couples to do together.”

Members and leaders

Ellen even made history: She was the first female member of the Harrisburg club. She also became a leader in her club and beyond. That led to a greater understanding of the scope and impact of Kiwanians’ service.

“As I became involved in club and district leadership, and then as an instructor in Club Leadership Education, I found myself having to articulate to other people what goes on,” Ellen says. “It becomes ingrained—and it becomes clear that this is a truly great organization.”

Now members of the Kiwanis Club of Hanover, Pennsylvania, the Arnolds have had extensive leadership experience at the club level and beyond. Ellen’s leadership roles have included club president, lieutenant governor and others, including Kiwanis International Foundation trustee. Rick has been a president of two different clubs, as well as a lieutenant governor and a member of the Pennsylvania Kiwanis Foundation board. He has also served as the financial advisor to the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees for the past seven years.

All that experience has only boosted their desire to extend their impact. “We see the need—and we see the difference the foundation makes,” Rick says. “It’s good to be a part of that.”

Kindness and confidence

Whether it’s at the club level or beyond, Ellen says, being a Kiwanian also brings a responsibility to seek various ways to serve children. Through the Kiwanis International Foundation, she and Rick found a way.

In addition to annual gifts, they have been both donors and volunteers for The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. In fact, Ellen is a region coordinator for the campaign. And as Walter Zeller Fellows, the Arnolds know the impact they’ve made.

“It’s really a wonderful feeling that for each Zeller Fellowship, 690 lives are saved or protected—that’s awesome,” Ellen says.

In fact, that kind of confidence is a big reason for the Arnolds’ overall loyalty to the Kiwanis International Foundation.

“The projects and programs that the foundation supports have been vetted by the foundation,” Ellen says. “They have an idea of the return on investment.”

“Lots of children will be affected who we’ll never see and never know,” Rick adds. “But we know the organization. We know the impact.”

A new opportunity

In 2012, the Arnolds took advantage of a unique giving opportunity: a qualified charitable distribution (also known as a “charitable rollover”) from their IRA. Through December 2013, individuals in the U.S., age 70½ and older, can directly transfer up to US$100,000 from their IRAs to our foundation—without federal tax liability.

“It has a substantial tax advantage,” Rick says, “particularly if part of your Social Security is taxable, or if you don’t otherwise itemize deductions.”

The ease of the process was also appealing. “It was the same as if I take any other distribution from my IRA,” Rick says. “On the IRA distribution form, I simply designated payment to be made directly to the Kiwanis International Foundation as a qualified charitable distribution.”

With the deadline coming, Ellen adds, the key is to contact an advisor now. “Have a conversation early with your IRA custodian,” she says. “Find out about the process and the timing, and whether it’s an option that’s right for you.”

For the Arnolds, it was yet another way to reach more children through the Kiwanis International Foundation. “Helping children is an area that’s near and dear to our hearts,” Ellen says. “And if you volunteer for an organization—if you know it and the efficiency of its staff—you’re confident that it’ll be around because it’s solid and sustainable.”

Join the Arnolds in giving

The Kiwanis International Foundation is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Kiwanis-family clubs, members and other friends of our foundation who help shape a better future for children. Gifts of all sizes are deeply appreciated. Support the Kiwanis International Foundation today.