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Biography

With over 30 years of experience serving America’s nonprofit community, Robert Sharpe is a nationally recognized pioneer, leader, and authority in the field of philanthropy. As President of the Sharpe Group, he consults with educational, health, social service, and religious organizations and institutions in implementing and improving their major and planned gift development efforts. With offices in Memphis, Washington, DC and San Francisco, the Sharpe Group has worked with over 10,000 nonprofits nationwide during its 52-year history.

Robert is chairman of the philanthropy editorial board of Trusts & Estates magazine and co-author of the Model Standards of Gift Valuation. He has served on the board of Giving USA and was a member of the PPP Strategic Task Force in 2006. Robert has authored many articles and his remarks have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, Smart Money, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Trusts & Estates, Kiplinger’s and other national publications. He is a frequent speaker for professional gatherings across the country.

Robert earned a bachelor’s degree with honors at Vanderbilt University and a J.D. at Cornell Law School. In past years, he practiced law with a major law firm specializing in income, estate, and gift taxation and corporate planning.

Commentary

The Art and Science of Charitable Bequests

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The wealth transfer has not yielded the bequest giving anticipated when the model was developed. This presents problems for planned giving officers, as expectations are built on the model’s predictions. This article explores data about charitable bequests compared against the projections; demographic and economic factors that affect charitable bequests, including life-span, tax rates on estates, observed differences by age cohort for how charitable bequests are left, and others; present opportunities for growth in planned giving; and trends to watch to help you understand the “science” behind the art of planned giving.

How To Survive the Wealth Transfer

Friday, September 30, 2005

It has now been 15 years since the first widespread predictions of a coming transfer of wealth. It is a real phenomenon and will help shape American society for decades to come. Many have predicted that charities will enjoy a windfall as they inevitably receive their share of the wealth. Why, then, have bequests and other planned gifts seen declines in recent years according to industry reports? Many are learning that the wealth transfer will not occur at a constant rate and that bequests and other gifts may actually see a decline before they begin increasing again. This article explains how to adjust planned gifts and other development efforts today to assure continued success in coming years.