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Gift Planning

Giving for a Lifetime and Beyond

Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher grew up in Unity, has been involved in Unity his entire adult life, and will be supporting Unity after he’s gone.

For Martin, who still attends the Unity Center of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his grandmother attended and his family attended throughout his childhood, the Unity principles are a way of life. They are also something he wants future generations to discover.

“To me, it’s ethically right that if you support something in your life, you should support it in your estate,” says Martin.

Growing up, he says, he accepted the Unity principles as absolute truth, “but I didn’t actively use the teachings until I was in college in London in 1977.” After arriving on campus, jetlagged and feeling very alone, he wondered if he’d made a mistake choosing to go 4,000 miles away to study abroad for a year.

One day, he picked up a phone book and began searching for a Unity center nearby. He found one, and began attending regularly. It gave him the tools he needed and he ended up “having a terrific college experience.”

Martin was particularly influenced by the late Rev. Eric Butterworth’s book, “Discover the Power Within You” (Harper & Row, 1968).

“I devoured that book, which taught me what I knew intuitively—I had no need to fear or feel alone because I already had all the resources I needed in God. All was in divine order,” he says.

Years later, Martin encountered Rev. Butterworth again—this time in person. On business trips to New York City, Martin would go to hear him speak at Avery Fisher Hall.

“I learned that thoughts are things, the power of prayer, and the importance of staying prayed up. I learned to pray with conviction. Butterworth said you get not what you pray for, but what you expect,” says Martin.

That learning had vital importance for Martin in 2007 when he was diagnosed with a serious form of melanoma. He applied Butterworth’s teachings—using discipline and commitment to hold to the truth and root out error thinking. He prayed and meditated on the same thought Unity cofounder Myrtle Fillmore had held to heal herself of tuberculosis: I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness. And Martin fully recovered.

Unity principles have guided him to health, peace of mind, and prosperity. He remembers in particular appendix B in Georgia Tree West’s book “Prosperity’s Ten Commandments,” which focuses on “miracle-working prayer.” Martin credits those principles in part for his business success.

“I have always believed I’ve been enormously blessed financially,” he says. “That is from God.”

In return, he and his wife Michele are committed to tithing. “Tithing is about putting your money and your time where it’s most important,” Martin says. “At the least, 10 percent does not belong to me, it is for me to direct to where I am spiritually fed.”

The Fishers support Unity at the Unity Village level—including Silent Unity® and Daily Word®, which Martin has known since he was a little child—and the local Unity Center of Cedar Rapids. “That’s where we get our spiritual nourishment,” he says.

They also support the Eastern region chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, where both serve on the board of trustees.

Martin believes Unity, with its uniting, nonjudgmental message is especially important now. “There is so much violence and lack of love and peace in the world. We need to get the message out there. It supports humankind.”

He appreciates that Unity is open and inclusive. “That is a marvelous distinction for the Unity movement. Some churches say if you’re not like us, you’re not welcome. Unity says we honor all paths and all backgrounds.”

“Unity is going to grow,” says Martin. “It has a very vital role to play—retreats at Unity, Silent Unity, Daily Word, Unity Online Radio, blessing booklet and Unity churches—they all give people a chance to live in abundance and peace.”

In gratitude for the difference Unity has made in their lives, and in support of its future, Martin and Michele have decided to include Unity in their estate plans.

“It is a satisfying thought that Unity offerings are an important source of support for people, and the good works will continue on after we’re gone.”

If you would like to make a gift that supports Unity like the Fishers have, please contact Unity Development Department at 816-347-5575 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Unity School of Christianity a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

The official legal bequest language for Unity School of Christianity is: "I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Unity School Of Christianity, 1901 NW Blue Parkway, Unity Village, MO 64065, Federal Tax ID#: 44-0546000, [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Unity or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Unity as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Unity as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Unity where you agree to make a gift to Unity and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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