About the Author

Ron BrownAfter a successful career directing gift planning programs at Princeton University, United Way of America, the National Wildlife Federation, and other nonprofits, and serving on the boards of the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (NACGP), I realized something is missing in the way America trains its charitable gift planners. Something important!

Where do gift planners turn for knowledge about our rich history? Seminars rarely venture beyond the last few years. No one else is teaching or writing about charitable bequests, trusts, annuities, and gifts of complex assets by American colonists and citizens of the newborn United States.

I lead a campaign to own what came before us. I will enable you to recognize new facets of yourself through true stories and well-documented historical facts. Enlightened donors, gift planners and policymakers have clearer vision and become better at their jobs once they are empowered to recover our proud American heritage.

My campaign is based on thousands of hours of scholarly research and writing. I make the results available through my new webinar America is a Given Place, my book A History of Charitable Gift Planning (Amazon 2017), my free website http://www.giftplanninghistory.org. and my presentations for planned giving councils and conferences across America.

I publish articles regularly for Planned Giving Today, Taxwise Giving, the Planned Giving Design Center, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and others. I provide entertaining and enlightening presentations for the American Council on Gift Annuities and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, and deliver well-received sessions for Yale University, Princeton University, and many church congregations.

30 years ago I became a professional historian while serving with the US Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC. A retired Commander in the US Naval Reserve, I received two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals for historical writing and research.

I received an AB degree in English literature and philosophy from Princeton University and an MA degree from the University of Chicago, where for three years I studied the history of ideas and edited News & Notes, the newsletter of the Oriental Institute, a major research center. I was certified as a financial planner (CFP) in 1994.

I served as president of the Gift Planning Council of New Jersey and was founding chair of Leave a Legacy New Jersey. I am now a member of Princeton University’s Planned Giving Advisory Committee, Treasurer of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, and an active member of the executive committee for the Princeton Class of 1972. I was a member of the CANARAS planned giving council for 16 years.

After moving to New York City in 2011 I served as director of gift planning at Fordham University and the Pratt Institute, and as a senior gift planner for Columbia University. I was a board member, mentor, and presenter for the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York, which selected me for its Distinguished Service Award in 2019.

I was a member of an advisory council on planned giving for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, a Contributing Author for the Planned Giving Design Center, and served as a member of the Editorial Board for Planned Giving Today.

I have two children and two grandchildren, and live in Brooklyn Heights.

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