Vander Ark

Adventures in Living and Giving

Article Type: Life Stories

Using Charitable Gift Annuities for Sure-Fire Kingdom Giving

“I’m going to Africa. You may come, too. You get to decide when we go home.”

Nolan Vander Ark says this is how his wife, Joey, tells the story of his invitation to move to a mission field in Nigeria.

“It’s a true story,” laughs Joey.

Leaving behind jobs and family, the newlyweds spent five years overseas while Nolan taught at a Christian school.

But this wouldn’t be the Vander Arks’ last adventure abroad. While Nolan was an administrator at a Christian school in St. Louis, Joey found an advertisement for a teaching position in Perth, Australia that was perfect for her husband.

Once again, Joey tells the story, “I said to myself, ‘Well, Joey, if you don’t want to go, then you throw this ad in the trash. Don’t show it to him, because he’s going to apply for it, and he’s going to get that job.’”

Joey did show the ad to Nolan who applied for the job and got it. With a six-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old, the Vander Arks moved to and spent five years in Perth. “Those five years are probably the best five family years we had,” remarks Joey.

The Vander Arks’ passions ultimately led them to Denver, Colorado where Nolan worked as administrator at a hospital and Christian school, while Joey worked as a nurse in a retirement home.

In the midst of their adventures, the Vander Arks found creative ways to financially support their favorite Kingdom causes.

“When you are a former missionary and Christian school teacher, you do not have terribly deep pockets,” explains Nolan. “But we have lived very frugally over the years. Joey could teach lessons on how to not overspend.”

They chose to establish a charitable gift annuity (CGA), knowing it would allow them to do something substantial for ministry, while also providing them income for life.

That was over 30 years ago. Since then, Nolan and Joey have opened seven CGAs with an equal number of ministry designations that reflect their lifetime of professional and Kingdom service.

“We delight in being able to contribute something to Kingdom enterprises in a very broad sense,” says Nolan.

In exchange for establishing each CGA, the Vander Arks received an immediate tax deduction and then fixed, ongoing payments for life. “We have a couple of CGAs we use for vacations,” remarks Joey. “Plus, CGA income allows us to contribute to ministries when there’s an immediate need,” adds Nolan.

Living overseas is no longer in the future for the Vander Arks, but supporting ministries close to their hearts remains. “We might establish another CGA somewhere down the line,” remarks Nolan. “Who knows?”

It’s a sure-fire way for Nolan and Joey to carry on their adventure by investing in the ministries that matter to them most.

To learn more about charitable gift annuities and other giving options, contact Barnabas Foundation at 1.888.448.3040 or info@BarnabasFoundation.com.