April 25, 2002


April 25th - and May is coming up at WVRC

You knew it was going to be a good meeting when you saw the dessert on the table -
but I digress.  Herewith, the report, OK?  SHERRY DEWANE led us in the Pledge, with the song up next.  PP STEVE DAY asked for PP JIM DOWNIE at the keyboard, and everyone applauded.  It was America, the Beautiful, which is one of our better numbers.
PP RON LYSTER came forward with the Invocation, which turned out to be the third verse of America (see above) - generally familiar to most of us - and it was appropriate.

LEE DUNAYER being unable to find any true Visiting Rotarians, suggested that SHARON RHODES-WICKETT might be so considered in view of her recent attendance record, and it was great to see BOB TROXLER back with us, after some time off for illness. Our thanks to HARLAN LEWIS for bringing him - keep it up, both of you, please. SHERRY DEWANE brought along Lidia Rodriguez and Sandra Von Hall, both of whom work with her at Wells Fargo.

RUDY ALVAREZ reminded us to complete the Roster Information page, which was passed out today.  HANK HEUER is putting us all into the computer, so this is your chance to set the record straight - if you don't turn in a form, the same copy as now appears will appear again.  RUDY then told us that WVRC will have the largest attendance of any District 5280 Club attending the Conference next weekend in San Diego - good show, guys!  For those going down on Thursday, and stopping off in Carlsbad to visit the SINGLETON'S, the offramp is Poinsettia - turn left, and check our website for further directions, or call John, please.  And do RSVP to Joanne, OK? One last note, here - NEVIN SENKAN'S Ambassadorial Student, Yuriko Suzuki, who is in the MBA program at UCLA, is seeking a ride to the District Conference.  Please check with NEVIN right away if you can help - it's important, and you will find her to be a charming traveling companion.

Pres. GEORGE reminded us that one of our most popular programs is the Christmas shopping party hosted by MIKE YOUSEM - and INSIDE OUT is in that same vein.
Jody Brockway, who is on their Board of Directors, spoke briefly, followed by Camille Ameen, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the program.  They provide healthy interaction among diverse at-risk Los Angeles middle-school youth, principally by introducing them to art, music and the theatre.  Located at three LAUSD middle schools, their after-school program currently serves 99 youth and 18 high-school-age mentors.  They conduct 16 weekly workshops, plus a wide variety of theatre field trips, camping/rehearsal retreats,
arts workshops (for both students and parents) and other activities all designed to inspire and nurture creativity in young people.

Their Neighborhood Arts Project is based at the Boys and Girls Club of Venice, in the JIM COLLINS Building there.  This is a summer program, providing two 26-workshop arts sessions, serving up to 50 middle-school youth and families, plus four high-school students who are Youth Artist Mentors. The heart of this program are the artists who conduct the sessions - their ratio is 1 to 7, which allows serious individual time with each student.  Results have shown significant growth in these kids appreciation for the arts and their ability to express themselves effectively to other individuals and in group settings.
The cost to provide these much-needed opportunities to these middle-schoolers is one
Thousand dollars per student - compared to 35K annually to incarcerate those who don't have these life-changing opportunities.  A video showed some of the Inside Out activities - and it certainly is a most worthwhile operation.  They of course welcome donation support - call Camille Ameen at (310) 306-6825.

SHERRY DEWANE had another guest, our Speaker, Lisa Harwood.  Lisa is also with Wells Fargo, and has fourteen years experience in Financial Services.  She specializes in the 529 Plan, which is widely used as a tool to put away funds for later educational use.
Lisa proceeded to talk about two financial issues and their solutions, both based on actual clients.  This couple (who were anonymous) was in the 70's, with four children and ten grandchildren.  They started a real estate development company fifty years ago, and it was quite successful.  Their decisions cover their Estate Plan, plus the Estate Tax Liability.  

They decided to invest 1.1 million dollars in the 529 College Savings Account.  There is a gift tax exemption of $11K each year for each person who is gifted.  They elected to put in the maximum, $55K, which pays for five years of tax-exempt gifts to each of their ten grandchildren.  The condition of this gift, to be fully tax-deductible, is that it must be used for educational purposes - usually broadly defined - and the donor must survive for the five-year period.  If a donor dies during this time, the tax advantages disappear for the unexpired portion of the five years.  

What if the recipient doesn't want to go to college?  The donor can change recipients - doesn't have to be a relative, for instance.  The maximum allowed to be set aside in the 529 plan is about $250K - depending upon which state version of the plan is chosen by the donor - the minimum goes down to about $200K.  These two figures represent the general range of a college education today, apparently.  Specifically, the money must be used for a qualified post-secondary education.

Since this was a Q&A discussion, many of our members were right up there with Lisa in their knowledge and understanding of the ins and outs of the 529 plan.  Those who answered her questions correctly - or at least, first - were given 'gifts of great value', and modesty notwithstanding, YOE got one.  This perhaps illustrates a questionable aspect of the gift process, I suppose, since I was the only non-professional so rewarded!  And just at the end, you had to be impressed when PP STEVE DAY managed to maneuver his father-in-law, RAY ZICKFELD, into a public commitment to finance all future educational expenses of Jeffrey and Kevin - that's fast thinking, STEVE!  Seriously, it was a learning session for all of us, and we appreciate Lisa helping us through it.

Send a note to DAVE MORE, please.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe