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Karen and Andy Rebholz

When you're the Chief Financial Officer of a large corporation, it's no surprise when charitable organizations come looking for your expertise and involvement. "I think I had a target on my back," says Andy Rebholz with a smile.

For nearly 23 years, he worked for TravelCenters of America (TA) at their Westlake, Ohio headquarters, becoming CFO in 2007 and CEO in 2018. He had earned his degree in accounting from Duquesne University and worked for Price Waterhouse before he and his wife Karen moved their family from Pittsburgh to Strongsville to take on Andy's new job opportunity with TA. Knowing he was a committed Catholic and a donor to Catholic Charities, it wasn't long before Andy was invited to begin a relationship with the Catholic Community Foundation.

His first volunteer role was serving on the oversight committee for the diocesan Rooted in Faith - Forward in Hope campaign, followed by an advisory position on the audit committee of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Within a few years, he was invited to join the Board, became the treasurer, and was recently elected vice chair.

Karen was a devoted stay-at-home mom to their three children, Lauren, Andrew, and Lindsey, and very involved with the Strongsville schools' PTA and their St. John Neumann parish. With their youngest off to Ohio State University, in 2019 Karen joined the Christ Child Society of Cleveland (CCS), an organization of volunteers serving children in poverty since 1916, and has been active in CCS's ministries since.

"Charitable giving has always been important to us," says Andy. "I had the kind of job that left me very little time to give but blessed me with the ability to give back more of the treasure part of 'time, talent and treasure' to the Church and our parish, and to support Catholic education."

Andy and Karen's financial advisor brought up looking into a "charitable remainder unitrust," also known as a CRUT. It's an estate planning tool that provides income to a named beneficiary during the grantor's life and then the remainder of the trust to a charitable cause.

"For a variety of reasons, it worked well for us and may work well for others," says Andy. "We could have just donated appreciated shares of stock to charity and gotten a current year tax deduction while avoiding taxable capital gains. But we learned that another smart strategy to avoid recognizing taxable income from the gain was to transfer the appreciated shares into a trust that removes those assets from the taxable estate at death."

Their financial advisor helped them follow IRS rules for a charitable trust - and understand how the CRUT benefits both them and the charitable organization. "Over our lifetime, we receive annual distributions from the trust while the assets continue to grow in value until we die. Then the remainder of the charitable trust is paid out to the beneficiaries we named - the Catholic Community Foundation, Catholic Charities, our parish, St. John Neumann, and the American Red Cross. You could potentially put in a quarter-million dollars, and in 40 years the remainder could be worth a similar amount to the named charities. Even after you receive distributions totaling around half a million dollars over those 40 years," explains Andy.

Andy and Karen appreciate the fact that a CRUT keeps money out of their estate by putting it into a trust, allowing them to give to a charity at a later point while seeing the assets grow tax-free. It provides them with an annual cash stream and an initial-year tax deduction - and ultimately does good for others.

Both Karen and Andy were educated in Catholic schools in Pennsylvania. Their families placed a high value on religion, faith, and giving back. Andy's dad played leadership roles in his parish and led by example. In retirement, Andy and Karen have enjoyed being able to serve as volunteers while also living a healthier life with less stress.

He is still amazed at the providential timing of his retirement in December 2019, just days before his mother was diagnose with cancer. He and Karen spent January and February with his parents in Pittsburgh throughout chemo treatments, right up until his mother passed away in early March - just before the pandemic shut down the country. "Thank God I was retired and could do all that, getting that time with my mother and supporting my dad. We were literally in the funeral home when the news hit about schools closing and events being canceled due to the pandemic," Andy says. "If she had died one week later, we couldn't have had a funeral. Everything has worked out for us, moving to Ohio and in so many other ways. I am convinced that somebody up there is watching out for me, so how could I not support the work of the Church with my time and treasure."

To discuss how you can create a permanent legacy of lasting support for the Church via CRUT or other estate planning vehicles, please contact Mary Lou Ozimek at 216-696-6535 x4070,

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