How Your Assignment of Dividends or Experience Credits to ABE Works - Your Plan's Unique Charitable Giving Feature
Founded by the ABA in 1942, the American Bar Endowment is a §501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization composed of members of the American Bar Association. ABE makes annual grants to the American Bar Foundation and ABA Fund for Justice and Education to fulfill ABE’s charitable purpose of improving the administration of justice, one of our profession’s highest obligations, by funding research, public service and educational projects in the field of law. ABE also maintains a Legal Legacy Fund for the permanent support of its grantees. By participating in the Endowment’s group insurance programs, designed for and available only to ABA members, members can contribute to these efforts. Attorneys who enroll in ABE-sponsored insurance programs agree that their share of any dividends payable on the group policies may be retained by the Endowment for its charitable purposes unless reclaimed as outlined below. The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that members who leave their dividends with the Endowment are eligible for a charitable contribution deduction on their individual income tax returns.
Members who donate dividends to ABE make a difference. These funds, after administrative expenses, are the primary source of ABE’s charitable grants and additions to the Legal Legacy Fund. Insured members who donate their dividends help meet their professional and public responsibilities, as well as obtaining valuable coverage for their families. About 85% of members donate their dividends; these members are notified each year by late January of the amount, if any, of their dividend donation for the prior year. (Dividends are not guaranteed, and in any given year, a given plan may not pay a dividend; dividends will vary from year to year.)
Members who wish to request a refund of their dividends may do so. The approximate percentage of premium available for refund (if any) on each plan will be published in each November issue of the ABA Journal. You do not need to wait for this information as refund requests are accepted beginning January 1. To request that dividends be paid to you rather than donated to ABE: After the first policy year of your participation, a written request for refund (by mail, fax, or e-mail to email@example.com) must be made each year and must reach the Endowment by December 15. When ABE receives your refund request, it will send a confirmation. Retain this for your records as proof your request was timely received. If you do not receive a confirmation within 3 weeks, contact the ABE promptly to obtain another copy. (Special instructions for new applicants are contained in the application and apply to dividends, if any, during the first policy year only.)
Dividend checks and/or contribution notices for your tax return are mailed by late January. If you receive a contribution notice and you did not intend to make a contribution, you may request a one-time waiver of the December 15 deadline by asking for a refund, if you have not previously requested such a waiver.
Please note: Members who do not want to contribute dividends to ABE must make a written request for refund each year, using the procedures above. When members sign the application, they are agreeing to make an annual decision whether to contribute. Do not sign the application if you do not agree with these procedures.