Press Release: National Association of Charitable Gift Planners announces 2021 Hall of Fame class

Wednesday, August 25, 2021
For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact:
Jessica Hall, Director of Membership and Marketing

Indianapolis, IN – The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) has selected three individuals to be recognized into the CGP Hall of Fame. The 2021 Hall of Fame inductees include: Russell James, Johni Hays, and Brian Sagrestano. The 2021 Hall of Fame class will be honored at CGP Conference.

The Hall of Fame is CGP’s highest honor. The lifetime achievement award recognizes those whose life's work impacts charitable gift planning in profound and meaningful ways, advancing the mission of CGP and bringing credit to all the professions engaged in charitable planning. The inductees have devoted service to and support of the field for a minimum of 10 years and have been outstanding influencers in the work of charitable gift planning.

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Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP® is a professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University where he directs the on-campus and online graduate program in Charitable Financial Planning (planned giving). He graduated, cum laude, from the University of Missouri School of Law where he was a member of the Missouri Law Review and received the United Missouri Bank Award for Most Outstanding Work in Gift and Estate Taxation and Planning. He also holds a Ph.D. in consumer economics from the University of Missouri, where his dissertation was on charitable giving. Dr. James has published research in over 75 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and has been quoted on charitable and financial issues in a variety of news sources


Johni Hays, J.D. is Senior Vice President at Thompson & Associates. With more than 28 years of experience as a practicing attorney in charitable and estate planning, Johni Hays is a recognized leader with her expertise in charitable gift planning. She served as the president of the Charitable Estate Planning Institute and she is the author of the book, Essentials of Annuities and co-author of two books, The Tools and Techniques of Charitable Planning and Message From the Masters—our Best Donor Stories that Made a Difference. Johni serves on the Smithsonian’s Professional Advisors Network in Washington, DC. In 2020 Johni received the Distinguished Service Award from CGP. She has previously served on CGP’s board of directors and has been a charter member of its Leadership Institute.

Brian M. Sagrestano,.jpg

Brian M. Sagrestano, J.D., CFRE, is the Founder of Gift Planning Development. He earned an A.B. cum laude from Cornell University and a J.D. cum laude from Notre Dame Law School. Brian led the gift planning efforts for several charities, including the University of Pennsylvania, before forming GPD in 2007 and helped facilitate gifts of over a billion dollars. His Planned Giving Essentials and Planned Giving in a Box programs guided hundreds of charities in the creation of donor-centered philanthropic planning programs. Brian co-authored three books, including the Philanthropic Planning Companion,  winner of the 2013 Skystone Partners Prize. He is a past member of the CGP board of directors and editorial board of the Journal of Gift Planning. In 2019, Brian was honored with the Crescendo Interactive GiftLeader award.

CGP is pleased to recognize these leaders in the field of gift planning as members of CGP Hall of Fame.

The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners is committed to improving the art and science of the charitable gift planning process. We equip members with relevant resources, including guidelines, articles, model documents and samples that help enrich and advance careers. We connect colleagues at all levels through our national network, including those who defined the field. We exist to serve our distinguished profession and bring life to charitable gift planning.


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