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IN THE NEWS at the ELVERHØJ MUSEUM
2007 News Archive
News Archive


2007 MEMBERSHIP DRIVE UNDERWAY

Online Membership Information Form

We invite you to support the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art by being a member. The Elverhøj depends on your support to sustain programs, services and facilities. Memberships and donations are an important contribution to the museum financial foundation, the preservation of archives unique to our area, and support of exhibitions, events, classes and services.

Benefits for members include invitations to all museum events and exhibits including the annual Christmas party, special members-only rates for classes and events, a 10% discount on most Museum Store purchases, and the quarterly newsletter.

For your convenience, included in this newsletter is a membership donation form. For more information, contact the museum at (805) 686-1211 or fill our our online membership form.

VALLEY WINES & VALENTINES A BIG SUCCESS!

VALLEY WINES & VALENTINES

VALLEY WINES & VALENTINES

Valley Wines & Valentines, our winter fundraiser, drew nearly 200 guests and raised a record amount of funds to support museum operations. A joyful and international crowd filled the museum with their conversation and laughter, with visitors from as far as Denmark and Ireland joining museum volunteers, members and guests in drawing the winning tickets.

The gallery exhibition “Immigrants,” printmaking by artists from Denmark’s Funen Graphic Workshop, added a modern Danish flair to the event. Flowers, candlelight and live music by Cameron Cluff provided an elegant backdrop for Valentine’s Day treats. The beautiful table of food was created by volunteers Sandy Gregersen and Carol Johnson. Docents and board members greeted guests and assisted at the event.

Valley Wines and Valentines proved again to be “a fun way to celebrate Valentines Day, sample some of our wonderful valley wines, and come together to support the Museum,” said Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates. “Thank you to all who attended, donated and contributed to the evening’s success!”

This annual fundraiser included the Fabulous Valentine’s Drawing and a small, but select, silent auction. The grand prize Cupid’s Wine Cellar, a 24-bottle collection of local wines, was won by Ken & JoAnn Verkler. First place winners Agnes Larsen, Honey Jaramillo and Beverly Smith each received a 12 bottle wine collection.

Thank you to the following vintners for donations of wine for drawing prizes and sampling at the event:

  • Alexander & Wayne
  • Arthur Earl Winery
  • Brander Vineyard
  • Bridlewood Winery
  • Buttonwood Farm Winery
  • Casa Cassera Vineyards
  • Curtis Winery
  • Daniel Gehrs Wines
  • Firestone Vineyard
  • Foxen Vineyard
  • Gainey Vineyard
  • Lucas & Lewellen
  • Presidio Winery
  • Stolpman Vineyard

Additional drawing prizes and the winners were:

  • Berengaria tote, Clara Ehrsam
  • Bit O Denmark gift certificate, Mark & Linda Parsons
  • Café Angelica gift certificate, Emily Abello
  • Elna’s Dress Shop gift certificate, Paul Navratil
  • Gaveæsken gift, Ronald Thatcher
  • Greenhouse Café gift certificate, Wee Woodward
  • Johnson’s Jewel Box watch, Bill Petersen
  • Else Lassiter gift basket, Robert Jensen
  • Paula’s Pancake House gift certificate, Michael Fitzgerald
  • Rasmussen’s Solvang gift, Ken Fitzgerald
  • Royal Copenhagen gift, Glenda Madrid
  • Santa Ynez Valley Hardware gifts, Esther Bird and Roger Nielsen
  • Sunstone Vineyards & Winery gift set, Bo and Barbara Petersen
  • Tastes of the Valley wine tasting, Paul Hanberg
  • Elverhoj gift set, Charles Chester

Silent auction prizes and winners were:

  • Arts Outreach gift, David Lawrence
  • Brothers at Mattei’s Tavern gift certificate, Wendy Gregersen
  • Firestone Walker gift set, Vern Madsen
  • Greenhouse Café gift certificate, Maggie LePley
  • Home Connection gift set, Wendy Gregersen
  • Kathy Mullins gift basket, Knud Jacobsen
  • New Frontiers gift basket, Ken Johnson
  • Old Mission Wine Co. magnum and gift, Ken Johnson
  • Rancho Olivos and Olive House gift set, Tom LePley
  • Valley Oaks gift basket, Knud Jacobsen
  • The Vineyard House gift certificate, Paul Hanberg

Thank you to the sponsors who provided event food:

  • Ingeborg’s Homemade Chocolates
  • Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery
  • Solvang Bakery

APRIL 28 TOUR: MUSEUM OF THE COWBOY

Join us for a very special private visit to the Museum of the Cowboy. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, this large private collection features an outstanding selection of items associated with the cowboy lifestyle. The owners will be on hand to educate visitors and answer questions. Refreshments will be served.

MUSEUM OF THE COWBOY

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please phone the museum at (805) 686-1211 to reserve your spot.

Tour date: April 28, 2007
Time: 10 AM to noon
Fee: $10 for member, $15 for non-member

ROYAL DANISH EMBASSY DONATION

A $500 donation was recently received from the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, DC. The Embassy has been an excellent source of support, providing Elverhøj staff with contacts, resources and materials. It is with great pleasure that we acknowledge this financial gift.

A letter sent by Lene Balleby, Minister Counselor, Head of Information, Press and Cultural Affairs, states that the donation is “for the great work the Elverhøj Museum is doing to preserve Danish heritage.”

DIRECTOR’S NOTES - SPRING

Esther Jacobson BatesOne of the joys of my position as Executive Director is the many interesting people I have the privilege of meeting. It is a diverse group that includes artists, museum directors, educators, historians, community activists, and Danish cultural representatives. I also meet many of our museum visitors who come from destinations both near and far. Their comments, suggestions and expertise have proved invaluable to all areas of museum operations.

During my visit to Denmark last spring I had a meeting with Esben Kjeldbaeck, director of The Museum of the Danish Resistance, which is located just steps from the Little Mermaid statue and Copenhagen’s beautiful harbor. Just as fascinating as the Museum’s exhibits were their extensive archives (which are housed below sea level) and dialoguing about the contemporary view Danes have regarding their role during World War II.

Last month I traveled to the San Francisco area to meet with Knud Dyby at his home in Novato. You may remember Knud’s visit to Solvang and the wonderful “Boats in the Night” lecture where he spoke to a crowd of 350 about his role in Denmark’s World War II resistance efforts. This charming Dane has amassed an outstanding collection of books and paraphernalia connected to the Danish resistance. His awards and medals are tucked into a compact hallway display in his home where they form a remarkable tribute to a proud and unassuming man.

I left Knud’s home with boxes of books, papers, posters and paraphernalia related to the resistance of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. This treasured collection will be used for reference material and for display in a new exhibit dedicated to the World War II Danish resistance. Added to the exhibit will also be a poster collection and information that has been sent from Denmark’s Museum of the Resistance. Although it will take an estimated two years of planning and preparation and the work of an entire team of volunteers and sponsors, I am very excited about this upcoming addition to the permanent exhibits presented at Elverhøj.

Esther Jacobsen Bates

HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIPS GIVEN TO BRANDT-ERICHSEN FAMILY

BRANDT-ERICHSEN FAMILYIn 1980, Martha “Patt” Brandt-Erichsen agreed to donate her home, Elverhoj, to be used as a museum with the provision that she could live in the home until her death, which occurred in 1983. The home, lovingly handcrafted by her husband Viggo Brandt-Erichsen, underwent extensive retrofitting to meet the California seismic requirements, and opened as Elverhoj Museum in May 1988. The gifts of the Brandt-Erichsen family are celebrated every day at Elverhøj and have been enjoyed by more than 125,000 visitors.

In recognition of the Brandt-Erichsen family’s generosity and support, the children of Viggo and Martha — Thor, Jean, and David — have each been awarded a Life Membership.

With appreciation, we welcome Life Members:

  • Thor and Nancy Brandt-Erichsen
  • David and Bien Brandt-Erichsen
  • Jean and Satyabrata Nandi

FUNDS GRANTED

The Elverhøj Museum is supported by a variety of local foundations and organizations. Their gifts provide funds for special projects and purchases and are a major source of funding.

The Santa Barbara Foundation recently awarded the Museum a $970 capital grant to fund the purchase of a digital camera and a flat bed photo/slide scanner. Additional funds were made available through a partnership between the Santa Barbara Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation Communities Advancing the Arts Initiative and the Board of Trustees awarded Elverhøj full funding of a mini-grant of $3,000 to be used for marketing and promotional materials.

A grant proposal submitted to The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation was recently approved. It will provide funding for a new phone system and for archival supplies for sorting and storing some of the collections and artifacts. An unexpected additional gift of $730 brought the grant total to $5,000. The phone call informing Executive Director Esther Jacobsen Bates of the good news came the same day that the main office printer failed. The additional gift was used to purchase a color laser printer and an external hard drive for the main computer. What great timing!

ELVERHØJ ASSUMES PROPERTY OWNERSHIP

We are pleased to announce that the ownership of the Elverhøj property is now in the hands of the board of directors. As of June 15, possession transferred from the City of Solvang to Solvang Heritage Associates, the nonprofit corporation whose board of directors is responsible for operating the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art.

“The City of Solvang will continue its long term relationship with the Museum as it continues to serve our residents and our visitors,” said Mayor Ken Palmer. The City has owned the property for 17 years.

“We appreciate the City Council’s confidence in our mission and abilities to maintain the historic museum building,” says Esther Jacobsen Bates, Elverhøj Executive Director. “We will continue to serve as the cultural hub of the community and to work with the City of Solvang on events and activities.”

Solvang City Council Members
Solvang City Council members joined Elverhøj board members and executive director for a photo to mark the transfer of property ownership. Pictured are, front row from left: Erik Gregersen, Esther Jacobsen Bates, Lisa Pedersen, Ken Harwood, Linda Jackson, Karen Marie Gjerdrum and Allan Jones. Back row, from left: Ed Skytt, Barbara Weber, Else Lassiter, A. Art Kaslow, Ken Johnson, Jim Richardson, Norman Anderson and Ken Palmer.

EXHIBIT: A BODY OF WORK

On exhibit in the Museum Gallery through August 12 is “A Body of Work” featuring figurative work by two dozen area artists.

More information

EXHIBIT: “ON THE EDGE”

Debuting August 18 in the Museum Gallery is a new and energized exhibition titled On the Edge: A new generation of artists from the Santa Ynez Valley. All 14 exhibiting artists are graduates of Santa Ynez Valley schools who are inspired and driven by their passion for art.

More information

SWEDISH LINEN TRUNK SHOW
September 22 & 23

As a very special addition to the annual Living History Festival this year, we have arranged for a rare opportunity to meet Ekelund Weavers representative Genette Fuller on September 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Elverhøj Museum is delighted to be the exclusive dealer for Ekelund’s fabulous and extensive line of table and kitchen linens.

For this one weekend only, Genette will have with her a trunk show of samples, exhibiting much of Ekelund’s extensive product range from which you can touch and admire and special order these wonderful textiles. They can adorn holiday tables and make thoughtful, heirloomquality gifts. A 10% discount will be offered for all special orders placed at the trunk show. Items will be shipped directly from Sweden and will be available by mid October.

Ekelund is believed to be the oldest single family-owned business in the world, and this Swedish family has been weaving textiles of the finest quality since 1692. The artistry of their unique cotton and linen products embraces the virtually forgotten techniques of using woven borders to balance and frame patterns for perfect harmony.

Although steeped in tradition, the Ekelunds have also embraced new ways of working. In 1997, they invented and patented a new weaving system, the first in over a thousand years, opening up fresh possibilities in multicolor weaving and image creation.

Respectful of tradition as well as the environment, the Ekelund factory, manufacturing process, and all of its products have been approved by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. The Ekelund family of master weavers have been the purveyors to the Royal Court of Sweden for over a century, beginning with Crown Prince Gustav up through the present King Carl XVI Gustav. They also supply table linens for the Kremlin in Russia and the Emperor of Japan and his wife.

DONATIONS SOUGHT FOR TREASURE SALE

The bi-annual Elverhøj Treasure Sale is scheduled for Saturday October 6. The committee is seeking donations of new and “gently used” items (no clothes, please) for sale at the event. Items may be dropped off during museum hours, Wednesday through Sunday afternoons. To donate larger items or to arrange for pick up, please phone the museum at 686-1211.

GRANTS AWARDED

Elverhøj has recently been awarded grants from two Santa Ynez Valley Rotary Foundations.

The Solvang Rotary Foundation granted funds to be used for design of a new Museum brochure. This is the fourth consecutive year that Elverhøj Museum has been the recipient of proceeds generated from the annual Monte Carlo Night fundraiser held by the Rotary Club of Solvang. The gift supports a “growing consensus within the Santa Ynez Valley that the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is a deserving and integral part of our heritage which should endure for future generations.”

The Los Olivos Rotary Club Foundation recently bestowed a Vocational Service Award on Santa Barbara County Firefighter Dennis Jones. The award came with a monetary prize. We were very surprised and honored that Firefighter Jones designated Elverhøj as the recipient of his prize.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES - SUMMER

Summer is a busy season at Elverhøj. Visitor numbers increase during this peak travel time. Area residents bring their houseguests and also come for programs, events and exhibits. Summer of 2007 is notable not only for the activities but for exciting changes and the multitude of maintenance projects.

Our big news is that the City of Solvang recently transferred title of the property to the non-profit corporation which operates the Museum. This change of ownership is a great privilege and opportunity as well as a significant responsibility for board members and staff.

With the transfer completed, work is underway on a list of long-deferred maintenance projects. A newly expanded building and grounds committee is taking an active role in prioritizing and facilitating the projects and local business owners have offered substantial donations of materials and labor.

In early August, a striped fumigation tent will wrap the structures for three days. The list of building repairs includes a variety of exterior maintenance projects which will be completed and followed by a fresh coat of paint for the outside of the main Museum building, diorama cottage and storage sheds.

The gardens are slowly being cleaned and cleared in preparation for the exterior work while miscellaneous repairs and upgrades will also be done on interior plumbing, electrical, and climate control systems.

The Elverhøj, formerly the home of artists Viggo and Martha Brandt-Erichsen, has been a gathering place for the community and a location where the arts and Danish cultural traditions have been central to everyday life and shared by many. By carefully maintaining the gift of this wonderful structure, we plan to continue this tradition in perpetuity.

Esther Jacobsen Bates

BROUGHTON QUARTERLY

Read about Solvang and Elverhøj in Broughton Quarterly. See cover photo and two articles on Solvang with lots of photos: Click Here.

Circulation of Broughton Quarterly is 10,000 printed and more than 100,000 via email. Hard copies are available at the Wine Valley Inn in Solvang (a Broughton Hospitality Group hotel).

Lion
This lion sculpture and its twin guarded the entrance to Atterdag’s gym hall until the building was demolished in 1970. We are searching for a photo of the lion(s) to display in the Solvang Room. Please call us at (805) 686-1211 if you have a photo to donate or lend; we can scan and return an original.

SOLVANG ROOM EXHIBIT UPDATE

Work continues on refurbishing the Solvang Room and assembling the new wall panels depicting the highlights of Solvang’s history from 1910 to 2007.  Right now a team of volunteers, led by Joan Mitchell, is chasing down the last few historical details. Our photography expert, Paul Roark, will be scanning and printing the last of the historical photos for the panels. The text is being proof-read and corrected.

The Elverhøj is very fortunate to have an abundance of old photographs and historic records and artifacts. The difficulty has been to pick and choose among all these riches. From time to time we will have special rotating exhibits of the material that didn’t fit into the new Solvang history panels.

Look for more information about our opening celebration this fall.

 

SECOND ANNUAL ELVERHØJ CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

The 2007 Elverhøj Christmas ornament has arrived! This is the second annual collectable ornament created specially for Elverhøj. The 2007 edition features the Brandt-Erichsen Icelandic horse sculpture in Museum entry adorned for the holidays. The original design was created by Rick James Marzullo and is imprinted on a fine quality 3 ¼” round glass ball. The ornament retails at $12.50 and comes in its own gift box, ready for holiday gift-giving.

To reserve your ornament(s), phone the Museum at (805) 686-1211 or email info@elverhoj.org with your request. Quantities are limited. Delivery via U.S. mail is available.

QUEEN OF ARTS SHOW & SALE
Nov. 9, 10, 11

Mark your calendar for the The Queen of Hearts Benefit Show and Sale. The event returns to Elverhøj for three days in November. The opening reception and sale will be held on Friday evening November 9 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event continues Saturday November 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There is no charge for admission.

From unique folk to fine art, there is a wide range of prices and tastes for everyone on your holiday shopping list. The participating artists work in a variety of mediums, utilizing a wide range of techniques. Unique accessories by fiber artists feature antique kimonos, hand painted fabric, and/or hooked wool to adorn your body or your home. Glass work, ethnic art, collage and paintings will be available. Jewelry artists are creating wearables using vintage and contemporary beads, resin, and crystal with cold connection or torch construction. Felters are making jewelry and table runners. Pit-fired, hand-built or thrown pottery work will be for sale as well as original garden art hand crafted from steel, recycled or found wood. There will also be a selection of handmade holiday ornaments and garlands to brighten your home.   

The artists all support the Elverhøj Museum with a percentage of their sales and also make a donation to Domestic Violence Solutions in Lompoc.

COLOR & CLOTH EXHIBIT

Reception Nov. 16

The holiday gallery exhibition, Color and Cloth: Redefining a traditional art form, opens with a reception for the artists on Friday November 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition showcases the colorful contemporary art quilts of 15 fiber artists from the tri-county area.

The public is invited to meet the artists at the Friday evening reception. Appetizers and refreshments will be served including Wedell Cellars wine. There is no charge for admission.

Some pieces in the exhibit have a strong quilting influence, some are cloth paintings, and others use recycled materials such as batting, dyer sheets and/or baby wipes. Some artists focus on the visual impact while others enjoy the tactile appeal. This is a special opportunity for collectors as many of the art pieces will be available for purchase. In addition, there will be a gift boutique with one-of-a-kind items.

Artists who make innovative quilts today do not always work from a foundation of traditional quilt making techniques or styles. Many different techniques may be used to bring the artist’s vision to life: silk-screening, painting, photography, dyeing, collage, quilting, embroidery, block printing, and burning, to name a few. They do this with a variety of paints, dyes, fibers, hardware, embellishments, wire, ribbon, twigs, and found objects. Their quilts not only express eye-pleasing interactions of color and design, but also include intellectual explorations of design elements, spiritual beliefs, and social or political observations.

Exhibiting artists are: Diana Acevedo, Anne Braddock, and Linda Cassirer, Ran ell Hansen, Susan Conan Italo, Angela Moll, Lorna Morck, Mary Norton, Kristin Otte, Michelle Peerson, Andi Peered, Judy Rys, Jeanne Surber, Ruth Walters and Susan West.

All the artists are members of Fibervision, a group formed in 2003 to support, share and promote artists’ creation and exploration in fiber art. As with any art group, there are as many different styles as there are artists. They explore new methods and materials, share their knowledge, and encourage one another’s growth as artists.

LARSEN DISSERTATION ADDED TO ARCHIVES

HanneMany of you may remember Hanne Pico Larsen, the UC Berkeley student who was doing field work in Solvang in 2005-2006. Last December Larsen completed her Ph.D. dissertation in the fields of Scandinavian Studies and Folklore at UC Berkeley. The title of her dissertation reads: Solvang, the “Danish Capital of America”: A Little Bit of Denmark, Disney, or Something Else? During her dissertation work Larsen lived in the Valley for nearly a year. She interviewed many people from and around Solvang to find answers to her many questions. She returned to Solvang recently and stopped by Elverhøj to deliver her dissertation for addition to the Museum archives in bound form and on disc in PDF format.

Larsen’s dissertation looks at different aspects of contemporary Solvang life and history. One of the conclusions drawn is that Solvang, in spite of its claimed Danish-ness, represents a very typical American place, and hence Solvang can serve as a prism through which we observe contemporary conglomerate American culture. If you would like to read more about her studies and observations, a copy of the dissertation is available for review and may be borrowed from the Museum Library.

Currently, Larsen is part of a Scandinavian team of five scholars who are researching real and imagined Scandinavian spaces in the U.S. This interdisciplinary project will last four years and is funded by the Swedish National Bank. Larsen’s part of the project is to carry out a comparative study of Solvang and Elk Horn/Kimbelton in Iowa. The focus is on the importance of visual representation of culture: does it have to look Danish in order to be considered “real”? Another study will be on Danish immigrants’ concept of “home.” Her fieldwork will be carried out in Danish retirement homes in Chicago and New York.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT SOLVANG’S HISTORY?

Why did the early Solvang Hotel (built in 1911) have trouble keeping cooks? Who was called the “Viking Cowboy”? How did Ray Paaske, Ferd Sorensen, and the Saturday Evening Post transform Solvang? What was the Ynez School?

You’ll find the answers and much more in the new swinging panel exhibit of Solvang’s history. It is nearing completion. Located in the Solvang Room, the exhibit will trace milestones in the town’s life from the very beginning, when the Danish-American Colony was incorporated in 1910, to the present.

Folk School and Solvan Inn
Solvang has seen many changes since its early days. This photo, taken circa 1912, shows the original folk school (left) and the Solvang Inn on Alisal Road. Notice the American and Danish flags flying just as they do in present day Solvang.

Information has been compiled from various sources: the Museum’s extensive archives and exhibits, newspaper stories, books, manuscripts, magazines and academic theses. In addition, different civic and cultural groups as well as individuals have generously contributed information. Currently, text is being checked for accuracy before being printed in its final form.

Old photographs, from the Museum’s collection or borrowed from others, have been identified. Now they are being scanned, digitally restored, and beautifully printed on archival paper with archival carbon inks. Recent photos will depict the Solvang of today. Look for an announcement of the exhibit’s formal opening!

DIRECTOR’S NOTES - FALL

Elverhøj has been buzzing with activity in recent weeks. In addition to vacationing visitors and area residents attending special events and exhibitions, there has been a stream of people working on the buildings. Since acquiring ownership of the property in June, work has been nearly non-stop. If you were in the area, you probably saw the striped fumigation tent that encased the building for several days in August. As summer came to an end, exterior restoration and repair work was completed — just ahead of the painting contractor and crew. The much-Paint Projectneeded paint job is nearly complete and will protect and preserve for years to come. And a fresh coat of paint really improves our look!

We have a variety of upcoming events that I hope will bring you by to see our fresh new look. The fall series of classes offers a variety of ways to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Queen of Arts, the hugely popular annual event with more than 30 artists and craftspeople, returns for three days during the Veteran’s Day weekend. You will find special, hand made items for all tastes and budgets. The following weekend the “Color & Cloth” exhibition opens, with colorful and contemporary art quilts that redefine a traditional art form. There will also be a special boutique area with fabulous one-of-a-kind creations available for holiday gift giving. These events all provide ways for you to have fun and support Elverhøj. And speaking of support, in November we will be kicking off our 2008 membership campaign. Our members receive invitations and special discounts, stay informed with quarterly newsletter, and — most importantly — become a part of preserving Solvang’s history and culture and promoting the arts.

Esther Jacobsen Bates

FUNDS GRANTED

The Elverhøj has recently been awarded grants from two organizations:

The Santa Barbara Foundation granted funds for three custom-built cabinetry projects: (1) a storage cabinet base for existing glass-front display case, (2) a desk custom designed to fit into tiny library/office space, and (3) a pair of rollout drawers for the Museum Store. Combined, these three projects create significantly improved function of the existing space and maximize access for staff and volunteers.

The Rebild National Park Foundation recently gave a gift of $500, delivered by Solvang Chapter President Jens Agregaard and Treasurer Erik Pedersen. Elverhøj and the Rebild Foundation share some of the same goals including promoting Danish culture and traditions, and friendship between Denmark and the United States.

GIVING

This series of occasional articles is designed to inform and educate about charitable giving options.

In 2006, Congress revised the tax law to permit investors over the age of 70½ to make charitable gifts directly from their IRAs. Through December 31, 2007, investors may use their IRAs to give up to $100,000 directly to charity. The amount of the gift will be excluded from their gross income on their tax return.

This is a meaningful revision, as it can provide a unique opportunity to make tax efficient gifts.  IRA distributions are normally taxed at ordinary income rates when an investor withdraws funds.  Federal income tax rates can be as high as 35%. In addition, tax responsibilities on an IRA do not go away — heirs pay income tax on beneficiary IRA funds they withdraw (in addition to any federal estate taxes that may apply).

While this revision provides a means to make charitable gifts, it can also be used to increase giving.  If you regularly send a donation check for $1,000 to a charitable organization, you would receive a tax benefit for the $1,000 gift. This year, you could instruct your IRA trustee to send $1,333. Assuming you are in a 25% tax bracket, you would have previously had to withdraw $1,333 from your IRA account – the $1,000 donation and the tax of $333. That $333 can now be added to the donation, and you will have increased your support by one-third.

IRA Gift Rule Book

  • Donor must be past the age of 70½ and own an IRA. Other retirement plans such as pensions and 401(k) plans are not eligible.
  • Only the IRA trustee can transfer gift amounts to a qualified organization. If IRA owners withdraw funds and then contribute them to charity separately, withdrawn amounts will be included in the donor's gross income.
  • Gift amounts will not be included in the donor's income; no charitable deductions are allowed. California tax law conforms to Federal law in this regard.
  • IRA transfers will count toward your "minimum distribution requirement" — meaning that a charitable gift can reduce your taxes in 2007 if you haven't yet received a distribution.
  • IRA gifts may not exceed $100,000 and may be made only through 2007. The "ceilings" on contribution deductions (50% of adjusted gross income for cash, 30% of AGI for long-term capital gain property) do not apply to IRA gifts.
  • Transfers can only be made to public charities.
  • IRA gifts cannot be made to charitable remainder trusts or other "life income gift" arrangements.
  • Provision does not apply to employer-sponsored retirement plans, including Simple IRAs and SEPs.

In addition to this revision in the tax law, there are other efficient means of giving to charity, including the gift of appreciated securities.  Please remember to consult your tax advisor regarding which gifting strategy may be right for you.

 
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