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GPC Spotlight

Ronda Gardner

Ronda Gardner

By the time I graduated from BYU with my bachelor’s degree in accounting, I was expecting my third child. I never expected to use my degree. It was the backup plan in case something happened to my husband. Fortunately, when he passed away in 1996 leaving me with six children at home, I already had my accounting practice fully functioning.

I ran a typical small tax practice and deferred to the bigger firms for any trust or estate work that accidently fell into my path. When I remarried and had 13 children to supervise, I sold my practice and went back to being a full-time mom. When the last children were in high school, I returned to work with a great regional firm. I tried to tell them that I didn’t do trust taxes, but they didn’t really give me an option. When I dug in to find out everything I could about trust and estate taxation, I found a new passion in my profession. I enjoy reading through trust documents and working with families in estate planning and in following through with the plan when there is a “changing of the guard”. Ultimately, I left the regional firm and launched on my own to pursue my passion in estate and trust taxation.

I learned of the annual LDSP Gift Planning Conferences through my association with its members in the Utah Valley Estate Planning Council. What a blessing! Every year I come away so inspired. I always want to increase my own philanthropy and share ideas with my family and clients. I especially love the examples of ways to involve everyone in philanthropy even when means are very limited. I think my family appreciates me going to the conferences because I come home on such an emotional high.

Last year when I heard the Welk Family organization story and shared it with a client, she decided it was time to bring in the next generation and start teaching them the real purpose of wealth. Neither they nor I knew how to make that transition until I gained ideas at the Conference, both from the presentations and from conversations with the participants.

Over the years, I have found that the Gift Planning Council is always willing to research questions to help my clients with their philanthropic plans. Somehow, they do all the work and make me feel like it was a blessing for them to serve me. They also make the donation process as convenient as possible.

One of my favorite experiences with philanthropy came when my daughter left her studies at BYU-Idaho to serve as a missionary in Taiwan. A few months after she left, a letter came to our home from Pres. Clark inviting her to a special “Lunch with the President” to thank her for her generous contribution to BYU-I. I don’t know how much she donated to receive such an honor, but it made my heart soar to know that my daughter was so charitably inclined.

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