Impact In Your Lifetime

Penn Charter’s Pinehurst Society recognizes alumni, parents and friends who have provided for the school through planned gifts or bequests, and James M. Arrison III OPC ’60 is a member because he named PC in his will. He felt compelled to do so.

“Penn Charter was my life. It basically is who I am,” Arrison said recently. He was born in Germantown, grew up in the Kenilworth Apartments on School House Lane, and was a PC “lifer,” attending from kindergarten to grade 12.

Arrison’s connection to the school has continued through 50-plus years as class agent for the Class of 1960 and friendship with John T. Rogers Hon. 1689, Penn Charter’s chief development officer.

Jim Arrison, front row left in this yearbook photograph of the 1960 PC Literary Society, looks forward to seeing classmates in October at their 60th OPC reunion, postponed from 2020 because of covid.

In a conversation with Rogers, Arrison saw a way that he could support and impact Penn Charter now, rather than after his death. “I recognize, as I grow older, that I may well have more financial resources than time to spend them,” said Arrison, now age 79. “It makes more sense to me to make a gift during my lifetime, and to see its impact.”

Arrison made a $100,000, tax-savvy gift annuity that provides multiple benefits:

  • Arrison reallocates profit he has made in the market to a charitable institution, PC, reducing his capital gains taxes. He can use the provisions of the CARES Act, extended through 2021, to reduce his adjusted gross income this year.
  • And, he increases his cash flow. Penn Charter will invest the money and pay him about 7 percent interest on the $100,000 for his lifetime. Upon his death, PC will receive the $100,000.

The interest rate is favorable because of Arrison’s age, and he intends to donate to the Annual Fund each year all the income from the charitable gift annuity. He has made gifts to the fund for more than 40 years years.

Arrison said his support of the school reflects the influence of his Quaker education and is consistent with the nonprofit work that has given meaning to his retirement. Arrison enrolled in the United States Naval Academy after Penn Charter, then joined the Navy. He served 27 years, retired as a captain, and followed that with a 20-year career as an investment advisor with Merrill Lynch in Washington, D.C. In retirement, Arrison joined the board of Let’s Go Boys and Girls, a nonprofit that provides in-school and after-school STEM instruction to students in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Annapolis areas. 

“In many ways it reminds me of Penn Charter,” Arrison said of Let’s Go Boys and Girls. “We provide quality teachers with the tools they need to excite their young students. They’re the kind of teachers who totally care about their otherwise underserved students. My Penn Charter teachers cared about me on the athletics field and in the classroom. They were so generous, and so forgiving of all my missteps, and I had plenty of them. I am who I am because my Penn Charter teachers cared about me. Now, with Jack Rogers’ help, I hope that my gift will help ensure that the Penn Charter faculty continues to serve their students first.”