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In 1969, Congress passed the Tax Reform Act changing the way Americans could make charitable contributions. This was the major impetus for the creation of the field of planned giving. During the 1970s the planned giving profession was in its infancy, but by the end of the decade many organizations were beginning to see its vast potential. In 1978, one of those organizations, Lilly Endowment, Inc., offered a program to 19 independent colleges in Indiana to help them launch or expand their planned giving efforts. The program was a success, and in 1979, a similar program was offered to 15 schools of theology across the country. Again, the results were impressive. At the same time, the Endowment became aware of two planned giving programs funded by the Northwest Area Foundation. Their results were quite comparable to the Endowments experience in Indiana.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, groups of professionals involved in gift planning began to have think tank meetings to discuss the feasibility of a national organization to act as a coordinator and facilitator for networking the various professionals and organizations involved in planned giving.

A meeting to study the needs and possibilities of a national organization for planned giving was held on October 29-30, 1985, in Chicago. Those in attendance agreed that there was a need for a significant number of services for planned giving officers that might be provided by some type of national organization. Its mission would be twofold: to provide quality educational opportunities for gift planning professionals and to unite the growing number of local planned giving groups already forming in larger metropolitan areas.

In late January of 1988, the National Committee on Planned Giving opened its office in Indianapolis, Indiana. NCPG was formed as a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission was to facilitate, coordinate, and encourage the education and training of the planned giving community, and to facilitate effective communication among the many different professionals in this community. The organization functioned for the first ten years as a federation of planned giving councils, and then added a membership category for individuals in 2001.

In 2006, NCPG formed the Strategic Directions Task Force, charged with assessing the state of Planned Giving and how NCPG might best help charities, fundraising and financial professionals, and donors make more and better charitable gifts. The work of the task force resulted in a new mission, strategic plan, and brand for the organization. The rebranding included a name change to the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and a new mission: Charitable giving made most meaningful.