Sixteen years ago, Lyn R. Link was helping a senior with a reverse mortgage. But she wasn’t taking out the reverse mortgage to help herself; instead the charitable widow’s purpose was to buy a bus for her church. Link, formerly the founder of the National Reverse Mortgage Education Center, was touched by the widow’s generosity and inspired by his senior client’s joy in being able to help her church. This inspiration birthed the idea for Reverse Giving.
Since that experience, Link has been building his idea into a reality, gathering the necessary knowledge and connecting with local churches. Earlier this year, Link sold the National Reverse Mortgage Education Center and is ready to focus on combining the reverse mortgage industry and his charitable efforts.
Reverse Giving will officially launch on July 19, 2010 with the mission to increase giving to churches, many of which are experiencing a drop in financial support during the past two years as a result of the recession.
“The reverse giving idea is a simple one that many reverse mortgage professionals may recognize from their own experience with senior customers,” says Link. “Reverse giving is when a senior homeowner takes out a reverse mortgage and gives a portion of the funds to their church, or simply put: Idle equity turned into meaningful giving.”
Reverse Giving will be funded by a sponsorship program for reverse mortgage professionals. By helping Reverse Giving, sponsors receive help building relationships with churches, expanding the reverse mortgage market to reach the other 97 percent of seniors who were previously uninterested or unreachable.
“Reverse Giving opens the door to churches, which can benefit reverse mortgage professionals,” says Link. “They are able to build a relationship with churches and help their senior members who have pledged to reverse giving. Reverse giving has the potential to expand the market for reverse mortgages to more affluent seniors.”
While there are some charitable organizations that are not reputable and take advantage of seniors’ generosity, Link says the last thing he wants is for Reverse Giving to be associated with any abuse of senior adults.
A copy of the organization’s Code of Ethics will be provided to each new church subscriber and is always available on Reverse Giving’s website. Church leaders and senior adults can report any violation and Reverse Giving will investigate fully. If a violation has been committed, the sponsor will be immediately terminated, per the company’s Sponsorship Agreement.
Reverse mortgage professionals interested in becoming a Reverse Giving sponsor should act now to enjoy a lower monthly sponsorship fee. Only 35 “founding” members will be given this opportunity by joining before Reverse Giving’s official launch in July. Currently, there are 29 positions left on a first-come, first-serve basis. After the launch, sponsorship opportunities will open again for any interested reverse mortgage professionals.
Written by Kelly Mellott