Good bye old friend



As author of “The Planned Giving Blog”, I feel it’s important to note the passing last month of Phil Temple – one of the legends of the field – someone who exemplified all of the great qualities that drew me into this area and someone who made a huge impact on so many people and nonprofit organizations.

For those of us deeply involved in the field of planned giving, it’s commonly known how the field is full of friendly people, always looking to help others (even competitors), always with sense of responsibility to each other and the ethics of ensuring that donors are steered properly, legally and ethically.  And, professionally, that is who Phil Temple was, in addition to being one of a handful of true legal experts in this field. 

For me, he was the attorney I turned to most in the early years of my career for guidance and tips on the most complex gifts I was working on.  If you wanted a legal answer, there were plenty of others to reach out to.  But, if you wanted to know how to get a complex gift closed within the legal boundaries, you called Phil Temple.

I can’t tell you how many times I pumped Phil for answers and guidance at UJA or PGGGNY (now PPGGNY) conferences.  Virtually every time I would see him, I had questions and he always answered me graciously, with a smile, and with the correct answers, of course.  And, never a hint that I should be paying for the help (which by all means he deserved).  Yes, to this day, when I need to bring in a law firm into a situation, I still go to his old firm McCarthy Fingar in most situations but he was a true gentleman who truly wanted to help. 

But most of all, he was a wonderful person who was a pleasure to know and so many of us in the New York planned giving scene will miss him dearly.  


  1. Thank you for your kind words. Phil was my friend and mentor. When the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies was formed and I was chosen to co-teach the CRT course in 1994 years ago, I was originally slated to teach with Dave Donaldson; however, when Dave passed suddenly, I was paired with Phil, whom I’d never met. Together, we were like Mayor Ed Koch meets Mr. Rogers and became fast friends. Getting together for three days once a year in Long Beach, California to share our knowledge with out students, I quickly came to appreciate the fact that Phil’s good humor was only exceeded by his incredible knowledge of the field and the sage advice he gave our students. Even though I had heard many of Phil’s classic jokes and stories year after year, I looked forward to them more and more, because it was his delivery that was so special and endearing. And everything about Phil was Jewish … wonderfully Jewish. With a name like Temple? Get outta here! If Phil hadn’t taken up the law, he surely could have been a Vaudevillian. We shared some great times together and he was a true friend and colleague who will be dearly, dearly missed!

    Marc Hoffman
    Planned Giving Design Center

  2. To both Jonathon and Marc, thanks for sharing Phil’s wonderful legacy with the world. I spend all of my time asking people ‘what will your legacy be?’ so your comments about Phil resonated deeply. Recently I have noticed electronic conversation by influential people saying ‘I’m not living my life worrying about whether or not I’ll be remembered.’ …I had begun to wonder if my entire business concept was becoming obsolete. But then your blog post showed up in my email this morning and I am reminded of why I started my business…of how important it is to get outside of ourselves, care about people and causes, and live in a way that shows that you care–that’s the legacy I encourage each person to consider. Though Phil’s body no longer remains, clearly his soul was sealed permanently in the Book of Life this year. Thank you for sharing his legacy and for reminding each of us that we already have all we need (it’s not about the money!) to create a meaningful and lasting legacy.

    1. Most of my “planned giving” consulting these days is all about starting conversations with donors about their legacies! This question seems yo be the key trigger that eventually leads to a planned gift – not the tax and income benefits! I will have to check out your website.

  3. I didn’t know Phil personally, and had a wonderful experience with the late-great, never-to-be forgotten Dave Donaldson ( I just told his “Snerdley with two black eyes” joke at a funeral reception this week.) But my mentors, Jane Stuber at Smith, Dick Park at Amherst, and Bob Kaiser at Dartmouth all spoke glowingly of Phil. I often say that since I entered this field thirty years ago, what I do for work no longer seems like work. This is in part due to the wonderful people who populate our profession. I my opinion the planned giving community is occupied by two types of people: undertakers, and risk takers, and that there is no more fun and intellectually exciting group that the latter. My mentors told me I could repay them by passing-it-on when it became my turn. Mentoring has now become de rigor for those of us who now qualify as “old hands” by virtue of having had to explain to (all but ten of fifteen) lawyers how a CRT works. There are many wonderful folks in the field, but the pioneers like Dave,Phil, Bob and Dick didn’t have a bureaucratic bone in their bodies and their hearts were full of passion and love. I miss them!

  4. Phil Temple was a special member of our community. When I first came into planned giving in 1997, Phil provided a warm welcome and sage advice. Every year that I headed up the Middlebury Conference, Phil would join us at no charge and share his wisdom for the benefit of all of the liberal arts colleges in attendance. Whenever our paths would cross, he would share stories, give guidance and treated me as a friend. It is indeed sad to hear of the passing of such a special member of our community. Phil will be missed.

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