Johnsons leave life insurance to Bonifas

Photo by Craig Woerpel Nina and Harold Johnson look at some of the art from the Manoogian Collection, which was on display at the Bonifas Arts Center in May.

ESCANABA — Harold and Nina Johnson are two local residents who’ve decided to become benefactors of the Bonifas Arts Center. Recently, they visited the Bonifas Powers Gallery to view the Manoogian Art Collection, and now they are encouraging others to visit and support their local arts center as well.

Years ago, the couple purchased a life insurance policy naming the Bonifas as the beneficiary. Upon their passing, the value of the policy will be gifted to the Bonifas.

At the time the Johnsons purchased the life insurance policy, Harold worked as a coach and Nina worked as a court reporter. During a particularly difficult case, Nina found herself working a great deal of overtime. She and Harold decided that donating her extra income to the Bonifas would be a great way to use the extra money.

Though Nina said paying the insurance premiums wasn’t always easy, it was worth it in the end.

“It’s nice to know we’re helping such a worthy cause. Plus, we’ve always been interested in the arts,” she said.

Photo by Craig Woerpel Nina and Harold Johnson pause for a photo at the Bonifas Arts Center. The couple has taken out a life insurance policy naming the Bonifas as the beneficiary.

Harold agreed.

“The Bonifas has always been very strong and has always done great things,” he said. “We’ve never been able to figure out why more people don’t give to it.”

When asked why they decided to give to the Bonifas, Harold replied, “To leave a legacy. Plus, it makes you feel good.”

Both Harold and Nina were impressed while in the Bonifas Gallery viewing art from the Manoogian Collection in May.

“Art brings people together to see beautiful displays like this,” Nina said, pointing to paintings hanging in the Bonifas Gallery. “Art is like frosting on a cake.”

Harold feels the same.

“Art depicts people of historical significance. It is something we need to hang on to. Shows like this wonderful display of art – It’s just the best around. There’s just no question. We’re so lucky to have the Bonifas. There is no one else in the U.P. who has anything else like it. We know it takes a lot of work and a lot of people to run this arts center. We are proud to support the Bonifas.”

The Johnsons would like to encourage others to consider giving to the Bonifas. In their experience, their purchase of the insurance policy has yielded great results, and they are thankful that they were introduced to the idea by their financial ­adviser.

The Bonifas recommends that people consult a tax attorney or tax accountant to discuss tax-advantaged giving opportunities. 

“We like everything about the Bonifas,” said Nina. “We’ve seen so many good shows, and musicians – endless things. We didn’t realize how good it was going to be.”

Bonifas Executive Director Sue Roll says she is thankful for the support of generous donors like the Johnsons, and hopes they inspire others to give to the Bonifas as well.

“At the Bonifas Arts Center, we believe that a healthy community is a lively one where art and organizations collaborate to the benefit of all,” Roll said. “Because of the financial support from people like the Johnsons, I am confident that the Bonifas will continue to not only meet the needs of our community, but exceed them by growing the number and variety of creative opportunities.”

Nina said she also hopes their donation will inspire others to remember the Bonifas in their wills.

For more information on The William Bonifas Fine Arts ­Center, which is the legal name that should be used when ­leaving a gift to the Bonifas, and how to donate, please call (906) 786-3833 or visit ­