Summary and Ron Brown bio for your website

America is a Given Place: A Brief History of Charitable Gift Planning

Where can you turn for knowledge of events that shape gift planning today?

In this entertaining new webinar you will learn the foundations of gift planning in the U.S. by seeing major donors and events, appreciating innovations, and reliving landmark debates and resulting legislation.

What will you gain by participating in America is a Given Place? Knowing the history of charitable gift planning is quite useful, even indispensable, for people who encourage or advise donors. Here is a sampler of your benefits:

  • You will understand the principles behind laws, regulations and practices, so you can explain why things work the way they do
  • History informs your marketing. Stories of realized bequests and trusts are historical narratives!
  • Good stories provide you with insights into how donors, planners, & policymakers saw themselves and their mission, and inspire you to connect more deeply
  • Historical trends in mortality and investment returns play a fundamental role in your gift design and tax calculations
  • History enables you to know yourself and your important role in America’s highly evolved system of philanthropy

The bottom line is: you will be a better-informed, more effective gift planner.

About Ron Brown

America is a Given Place is based on my 40 years as a charitable gift planner, including 15 years as director of gift planning at Princeton University, my alma mater. I served on the boards of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the American Council on Gift Annuities. In 2019 the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York selected me for a distinguished service award.

I was trained as a professional historian 30 years ago and have devoted thousands of hours to scholarly research and writing. I published some of the results in A History of Charitable Gift Planning (Amazon 2017) and add content from time to time at


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