Money don’t matter 2 night

It sure didn’t matter yesterday

Just when u think u’ve got more than enough

That’s when it all up and flies away.


It’s been a year since the world was shocked by the accidental overdose and untimely death of Prince. In that time, the world learned more about the philanthropy he was so privately famous for. Once sworn to secrecy, recipients are coming forward with stories of how the Purple One stepped in to support what he thought were worthy causes. This American icon clearly had ideas about what he wanted to create with his money.

He directed people who worked for his charity, Love 4 One Another, to focus on whatever they felt needed attention: homelessness, the environment, libraries, motivating children with handicaps . . . and the list goes on. Because of Prince, 15 major tech companies now work with underprivileged kids to prepare them for jobs in Silicon Valley. Today in Oakland, California there are people with solar panels on their homes that Prince paid for. He reached out to others in his beloved home of Minneapolis . . . but contributed to schools and shelters in Iowa, New York, Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio and beyond.

We will never know how much of his personal fortune he ultimately gave away to projects, people, and organizations that he believed in. But we know now, a year later, that despite his many philanthropic passions – he did not secure that legacy with a will.

With rumors of a vault full of unreleased music, it’s almost impossible to estimate the value of Prince’s estate, although in January the figure was set at around $200 million. Here is the shocking outcome: his estate is subject to a federal tax of 40 percent and a Minnesota tax of 16 percent. After exclusions and deductions, the estate is going to have to fork over about HALF to the government.

Super fans understand that Prince would likely have preferred his money be spent on projects rather than end up heavily taxed by the government.  With some planning, he would have created a MUCH different legacy with his vast fortune. It’s a bitter irony that someone so invested in empowering others through donations will not have the impact he likely intended. It’s truly tragic on a whole other level. The world lost a creative genius and an enthusiastic philanthropist.

We can all take a lesson here about our own rules for living life: If you want your assets to be distributed a certain way, you are going to have to say so. In writing. And it’s not just busy paperwork, it’s your legacy. And moreover, it’s not even that difficult.

Reality check: Planned giving isn’t just for people with $200 million.

What do you imagine happening to your personal assets when you are gone? Does your organization have donors who express a strong passion for supporting your work long term? Real talk: we can all do more to protect our own legacy and assist those who aren’t aware of how important it is . . . or even how simple it can be to secure a long-term plan for your assets.

We are in a golden age of philanthropy. Don’t believe it? Consider that between 1998-2052, Americans will transfer at least $41 trillion of wealth, according to a study by the Social Welfare Research Institute at Boston College. Bequests to charity will make up at least $6 trillion of that.

But nonprofits often have trouble securing planned gifts, and maybe that’s because it feels like an awkward conversation. At the same time, there are donors who need some practical advice on how to shape their legacy. That’s where Summit Marketing can help – by getting these two groups together.

Our strategies make it easier to INFORM, ENGAGE and MOVE your audience to ACTION. Our expertise will help you create a better way to help donors meet their own philanthropic goals by:

  • Targeting the right prospects with analytics
  • Beginning the cultivation early enough in the donor lifecycle
  • Providing clear and motivational information to your audience

Everyone deserves a legacy

The day Prince died was a work day. There were a few people in the Summit Marketing break room, eating lunch while chatting about stuff on TV the night before . . . what movies to catch over the weekend . . . and that’s when the news came. Someone rushed into the room and asked, “Did you hear the news….?” That’s how we found out. Everyone grabbed their phones to confirm what seemed impossible.

The rest of the day, and during the weeks that followed, people shared their Prince stories. The time someone saw him in concert sophomore year in high school . . . his unforgettable halftime performance at the Super Bowl . . . and how he provided the soundtrack to so many of the good times in our lives. To be loved, remembered and missed by others is the finest legacy of all. May we all be inspired by that.


Susan Loyacono is a Senior Copywriter at Summit Marketing and has been known to get on the dance floor during a Prince song. She is a super fan of another charitable American icon, Bruce Springsteen, and has seen him in concert 19 times. She loves sharing ideas and ideals with her first grader, Jack, so the thought of creating a legacy feels right for her, and she’ll be looking into planned giving very soon.

A Year Without Prince… and Several Legacy Lessons Learned was last modified: April 21st, 2017 by Marisa Farris