Smithville couple finds it’s easy to give AND to receive

Mel and Maryanne Elzinga have found a shrewd way to both increase their earnings and share their love for Christian schools.

The Elzingas are ordinary people of modest means, who have no interest in playing the stock market or taking high risk chances.

Instead, the active retirees, who walk, cycle, travel and dote on their 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, have a Revocable Deposit Agreement that was put in place with the help of the Christian School Foundation. Some of their savings, invested with Christian Stewardship Services, a Foundation partner agency, currently earn about 5% interest a year. According to the terms of the RDA, the earnings are shared between the Elzingas and the Christian School Foundation.

The Foundation uses its share to help support its promotional efforts, said Henry Koornneef, the Foundation’s executive vice-president, “a cause that resonated with the Elzingas when they first established their RDA.” For the Elzingas, “it’s a win-win,” said Mel, a retired school teacher and Christian school principal.

“It was so enjoyable to be part of the Christian school movement as it was growing,” said Mel, as he reflected on the career path which took him from machinist, to parts salesman, to high school teacher and finally to elementary school principal.

Maryanne was also actively involved in Christian education, working for many years as a Executive Assistant to the Curriculum Coordinator for the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools.

Mel had just retired from his final post as principal of an elementary school in Smithville when they saw an advertisement about RDAs. They contacted Koornneef “to find out more, and then we got excited about this idea,” he said.

They had some savings which were not earning much money in a bank account, so moving those funds to a Foundation RDA “was a no-brainer,” he said.

They immediately began earning more money and had the pleasure of sharing their earnings with a cause that remains dear to their hearts.

The Elzingas say after they stopped paying tuition for Christian education for their four children they continued to make annual donations to various school fundraising campaigns, but the RDA makes the giving automatic “and we are not putting our money in a hole in the ground,” said Maryanne.

Koornneef said there is no minimum to the amount that can be invested in an RDA, participants can decide how their donated earnings will be spent, and can choose to change their beneficiaries along the way.

“RDAs are not just for retirees,” Koornneef said. “They are an excellent way for young people to start saving for a down payment on a house or for emergencies.” The sooner you open the account, the sooner it becomes completely available to you. And the earnings gifted are always considered a charitable donation for income tax purposes.

When they are with friends and talk turns to retirement and whether it’s affordable, the Elzingas are always happy to share their story.

For them, it’s a source of great satisfaction to know that they are blessing Christian schools even while they are still earning.

“If your heart is for Christian education, what better way is there to contribute?” asks Mel. “It’s strange that we give money away, but we still get more.”

To find out more about how a Revocable Deposit Agreement can work for you, contact Henry Koornneef at [email protected]

Mel and Maryanne Elzinga
Mel and Maryanne Elzinga