Making Lancaster a better place

Daphne Messersmith was involved in ministry in Lancaster City trying to address housing needs in the community. Under the leadership of Father Pete Greenfield, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church on West Chestnut Street, the church did some work with Harb Adult (now a program of Tabor, TLC), which was just starting out.

As she grew older, Daphne realized she wanted to use her resources in a thoughtful way. She made a commitment to give a certain amount to Tabor every year. She sees providing a planned gift to Tabor as an extension of that commitment.

“My husband [Ed] and I are downsizing, getting rid of a lot of stuff, and we are putting our wills together,” Daphne explains. “We wanted to make sure that the things we’ve supported over the years received a chunk of money when we die. So we decided to start a donor advised fund that would name Tabor as one of the three beneficiaries and to which we will be adding money over the years. Eventually, there will be a significant gift that will help sustain Tabor.”

Ed and Daphne had thought about different vehicles for making a planned gift. Their financial advisor suggested the donor advised fund, also known as a charitable gift fund. It is one of the most flexible tools available for charitable giving while providing tax deduction(s) to the donor. It allows donors to donate nearly any type of asset and recommend the charities they want to support on their own timetable. And donors may choose to have the funds invested.

“It was easy to set up. Our financial advisor made out the papers, we went and signed them, then I notified Tabor. We made a contract, a promissory note in a way, and we get reports monthly on how things are doing investment-wise, so hopefully it will keep growing. So it was really easy.

“I’m hoping the continued financial support of this place will keep it alive … keep it growing. I think that’s the point of most monetary gifts. You hope that beyond your gift and beyond your life time, the work will continue, keep evolving and grow and make Lancaster a better place and really benefit all these folks that Tabor serves.”

To someone who is considering a planned gift, Daphne would say, “Do it now. Don’t put it off. Most non-profits struggle to make ends meet. Having this endowment would help folks to relax a little, to do their work without worrying.

“What Tabor is doing, being responsive to the changing needs of Lancaster … It’s a great model for making a difference. It’s always been a really cool example of urban service. And I want to say ‘Yes! Please keep doing it.’”

Making a donation to Tabor can be one of life’s greatest joys. By planning your charitable giving, you can make your dollars go further than they would by simply writing a check. If you would like to discuss a planned giving option or want a personal visit please contact Phyllis Stacks, Vice President for Development, Tabor Community Services or e-mail at or calling (717) 358-9383.

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