Community foundations: Unparalleled resources

Community foundations: Unparalleled resources for local giving with major impact 

As economic times get tough, more and more people are asking how they can make the biggest difference right in their own backyard. Indeed, local giving is a topic that has even made its way into the opinions of the mainstream media, causing many charitably-inclined people to pay more attention to the impact their dollars are having on the causes they love.

Sometimes the greatest needs really are right here at home. As donors explore charitable giving opportunities and receive requests for funding from charities near and far, it can be helpful to read first-hand accounts of why other philanthropists have been so inspired by uncovering local needs that they simply were not aware of.

Over the years, researchers have consistently validated the important emotional elements of giving to familiar and nearby organizations to foster the rewarding sense of connection that is such an important driver of repeat philanthropic behaviors. Today’s donors want to be able to actually see the results of charitable investments.

Here are three suggestions for anyone who wants to get started on a “give local” journey.

First, scan the local news. Many people are very accustomed to scrolling the news feeds on phones and catching the national and international headlines. Local news can be hard to find, but those outlets do still exist! In particular, many television stations’ websites include a local news tab. Spend five minutes scrolling through the local news for three days in a row, and you might be surprised at how much you learn about your own community. Make a mental note of issues that raise your eyebrows or make you ask yourself “I hope someone is doing something about that.”

Second, with this research in hand, run a few quick Google searches with the key words you’ve identified, along with the terms “nonprofit,” “charity,” and the name of your town or city. Sometimes these searches will illuminate organizations you might have heard of or even be involved with already. At the very least, you will begin to frame your own description of the local causes you care about.

Third, reach out to the team at The Community Foundation. The Community Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our region, and that is possible through the work of nonprofit organizations and people like you who support them. The Community Foundation team will know which nonprofits are addressing the issues you’d like to learn more about and can provide advice about how your charitable dollar can make the greatest possible difference.

The Community Foundation is unparalleled in its ability to be flexible and responsive, providing outstanding, personal service designed around your needs while at the same time working closely with legal, tax, and wealth advisors to ensure that you are maximizing the financial elements of your charitable giving plan.

We look forward to working with you to make as big a difference as possible in the causes you love and make our community an even better place for everyone.

Ring in the new year with new charitable giving tax laws

Ring in the new year with new charitable giving tax laws

If you’ve been tracking federal legislation, you’re likely aware that on December 29, 2022, President Biden signed a $1.65 trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (“CAA”).

A component of this legislation, known as “SECURE 2.0,” includes many provisions that make it easier for people to build retirement savings, ranging from required enrollment in employer-sponsored 401(k) plans to larger “catch up” contributions to enable workers nearing retirement to add more to their retirement accounts each year.

Three of the new law’s provisions are particularly interesting to people who give to charities, especially related to a planning tool called the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). Many charitable individuals who are 70½ or older have already been taking advantage of the QCD. This technique allows a taxpayer to make an annual transfer of up to $100,000 from an IRA to a qualifying public charity such as a field-of-interest fund, scholarship fund, or unrestricted fund at The Community Foundation. The taxpayer does not need to pay income tax on the distribution and, for taxpayers who must take RMDs from their retirement plans, the QCD counts toward that year’s RMD.

Here’s what’s new, thanks to SECURE 2.0:

More time to accumulate retirement assets

Under the new law, the required minimum distribution (RMD) age (previously 72) increased to 73 on January 1, 2023. RMDs are the IRS-mandated distributions from qualified retirement plans. The RMD age will further increase to 75 beginning on January 1, 2033. This provision is a boost to retirees’ financial plans and may mean more dollars available for charitable giving, especially in the form of a tax-savvy beneficiary designation of retirement plans to charity.

Note that the age for QCD eligibility is still 70½, and, still, donor-advised funds are not eligible recipients of a QCD.

“Legacy IRA” opportunity

SECURE 2.0 makes QCDs even more attractive because taxpayers may now make a one-time $50,000 QCD transfer to a charitable remainder trust (CRT) or other split-interest gift such as a charitable gift annuity (CGA). These components of the new law are called the “Legacy IRA” provisions.

Bigger QCDs

The annual per-taxpayer $100,000 QCD cap is now slated to be indexed for inflation, which will allow taxpayers to give even more from their IRAs directly to charity.

The team at TCFHR would be happy to talk with you about how the new laws can enhance your charitable giving plans. Reach out anytime!

Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

Invest in impact built on trust

Invest in impact built on trust

If you’ve supported a particular charitable organization for many years, and perhaps even served on its board of directors, you are likely familiar with some basic concepts of “trust-based philanthropy,” even if you didn’t know that’s what it is called.

As a devoted supporter of the nonprofit organizations you love, you know that an organization’s chances of success are greatest when the organization’s leadership and talented staff are able to deploy the organization’s resources in the ways they believe will best fulfill the mission. This, in turn, sometimes translates into the organization placing a high value on what are called “unrestricted” donations, meaning that the organization can use the dollars in whatever way it sees fit. An example of this, grossly oversimplified to illustrate the point, is when a donor writes a check to a food pantry and instructs that the money be used to purchase canned goods, but the food pantry’s leadership knows that what they really need at the moment is to fix the roof or hire a staff member to help with sorting food before the pantry will be in a position to accept more canned goods.

Unrestricted gifts are only one component of the overall trust-based philanthropy concept. The broader model is designed to increase the impact of philanthropy by encouraging collaboration, communication, and information-sharing among all stakeholders, including not only donors and the nonprofits they support, but also the community as a whole.

Trust-based philanthropy has become somewhat of an academic phenomenon, and it is not without some controversy. Still, the fundamentals make sense, such as listening to community stakeholders and lifting some of the administrative burdens on nonprofit organizations who receive funding.

Trust-based philanthropy is nothing new to TCFHR. In many ways, TCFHR’s mission already embodies these principles: Deeply understanding the needs of the community, building strong relationships across all stakeholders, helping donors maximize the value and impact of their charitable giving, establishing permanent support for the community to address whatever needs may arise, connecting donors more deeply to the causes they care about through personal service and education, and leading on critical community issues.

We look forward to working with you as you get even more involved with the causes you care about.

Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

Intentional philanthropy is critical in a downturn

Intentional philanthropy is critical in a downturn

Your family may be among those who are taking their charitable giving budgets more seriously this year, given the stock market’s challenges, rising interest rates, economic concerns, and anticipated cash crunches.

At the same time, not surprisingly, community needs tend to rise during uncertain economic times. As 2023 gets into full swing, inflation, housing challenges, and economic uncertainty are pressuring people who are already vulnerable due to financial insecurity, illness, or disability. Nonprofit organizations serving these populations need additional resources—and even more support from charitable giving—to meet the escalating demands.

 

A budget has benefits

Here are a few steps to consider in building a 2023 budget for charitable donations that can help you continue to support your favorite causes and remain fiscally cautious.

–Review all your charitable donations from the last three years and compile totals for each organization. This can be an easy exercise for people who use a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation because the data can typically be pulled directly from TCFHR’s donor portal or requested from TCFHR’s team.

–Carefully review the list of organizations you’ve supported over the last three years. Regardless of your donation levels, which are the most important to you? Are you serving on the board of directors of any of these organizations? Do you regularly volunteer at any of them? Is there a personal connection?

–Are there any organizations on your list that you supported primarily because the organization was raising money for a capital campaign, or because you were helping out a friend who is involved with that organization? These may be organizations to possibly put on hold and then revisit supporting in future years when the economy picks back up.

–Add up your total giving over the last three years and then divide it by three to get your average. Is that number doable this year? If not, reduce it to a level that fits within your financial situation to arrive at your tentative 2023 giving budget. Remember to consider the value of publicly-traded stock gifts you could make this year if preserving cash is a priority.

–Consider whether to keep certain organizations at historic levels of giving, such as those you’re personally involved with. Or on the flip side, you may decide to temporarily reduce your level of giving to organizations for which you are providing other types of support, including volunteering or board service.

–Review the list to see if there are any organizations you’ve supported that you’d like to learn more about. The team at TCFHR is extremely knowledgeable about nonprofits in our region and would be happy to provide information on how a particular organization spends its money and how it measures impact.

–Finally, do the best you can to set targets for the amount of support you’d like to provide to each organization—and perhaps even set targets for the timing of your gifts. You can change these targets at any time, of course. The point here is that the planning and budgeting process is a great way to create more intentionality around your giving. Intentional giving is not only more rewarding for you but is also likely to increase your level of engagement with the recipient charities and enhance your understanding of how dollars are being deployed to meet the mission. This, in turn, helps your favorite organizations get better at carrying out their programs and serving those who rely on their work.

 

Consider taking a year-long view of your giving 

As compelling as year-end giving may be, perhaps even more compelling are the reasons for planning and launching a charitable giving strategy early in the year, starting with January. Benefits of a year-long giving strategy include:

–Helping nonprofit organizations meet their budgets all year long, which can save them from worrying as much about whether constituents’ ongoing needs can be addressed.

–Leveraging employer matching gifts programs early in the year when dollars are available and there is plenty of time to process the paperwork.

–Increasing predictability of cash flow and therefore being proactive, not reactive, in supporting the causes you love. You might even consider setting up automatic contributions to a donor-advised or other type of fund at TCFHR by working with your financial advisor to formalize this component as part of your ongoing plan.

–Taking advantage of plenty of time to learn more about the charities you plan to support so that you can be an even more informed and impactful donor, including fully utilizing TCFHR’s expertise and resources.

–Giving yourself time to include children and grandchildren in the charitable giving conversation as a learning experience for the whole family.

–If you are over 70 ½, being able to avoid the year-end scramble to process a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA directly to an eligible charity by executing a QCD in the first quarter.

–Leaving enough time to explore options for more complex giving tools that might provide tax benefits as well as meet your charitable goals, rather than waiting until the last minute when it may be hard to get on the calendars of your attorney, financial advisor, and accountant to map out the best strategy for your situation.

As always, TCFHR is here to help. Please reach out to our team to learn more about how you can make the biggest difference with your charitable dollars, including how you can use an existing or new donor-advised fund, or other type of fund, to carry out your 2023 charitable wishes. You’ll be glad you planned ahead to help your favorite organizations fulfill their missions throughout the entire year, as well as maximizing your own tax benefits and avoiding December’s crunch time.

Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

The gift of giving, community foundation style

The gift of giving, community foundation style

The Community Foundation can work with you to create and package a gift of a community foundation fund, pre-established and pre-funded, personalized in the name of your gift recipient. Your gift recipient can be a partner, child, grandchild, colleague, or friend. Frequently taking the form of a donor-advised fund, a gift of a fund empowers the recipient to experience the benefits of working with The Community Foundation to support their favorite causes.

Whether you are a current fundholder at The Community Foundation or just considering it, the team at The Community Foundation can help you create a gift fund from soup to nuts, including granting the recipient online access to recommend grants from their new fund. You can literally put a bow on the carefully rolled up fund document, sign a card listing the login URL and credentials to view the fund online, and present the package to the child, grandchild, friend or colleague as a gift. Both giver and receiver will love the experience.

When the recipient is a child or grandchild, educational opportunities are a natural follow up. For example, you can work with The Community Foundation to find resources on The Community Foundation’s website and structure a family giving session over Zoom where participants learn the basics of charitable giving and are introduced to key issues facing communities in our region and across the country. This type of experience helps the family’s values stay intact across generations.

We look forward to hearing from you soon about creating a gift of giving for someone you love! 

Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

So long, 2022: Important charitable tax planning reminders as the year winds down

So long, 2022: Important charitable tax planning reminders as the year winds down

Now is the time to share important reminders with your clients about year-end gifts. Time is indeed of the essence!

Gifts of appreciated stock still shine

Giving in a roller coaster market may continue to be a real concern for many of your philanthropic clients, but remember, not all stocks are down. Gifts of appreciated stock to a donor-advised fund or other type of fund at The Community Foundation is still one of the most tax-savvy ways to support favorite charitable causes because capital gains tax can be avoided. And of course, a stock market rally can present timely opportunities.

Donor-advised funds help both the donor and the donor’s favorite nonprofits

Grantmaking from donor-advised funds (DAFs) continues to rise, especially as donors and their advisors pay increasing attention to the ways a donor-advised fund can help with tax planning and, importantly, keep a donor’s giving levels consistent even in lower income years. Reach out to The Community Foundation to learn more about how “bunching” at year end can maximize clients’ tax benefits, and at the same time ensure that nonprofits are supported as demands on their missions continue to grow in choppy economic waters.

Year-end giving deadlines are firm

Watch the calendar closely! Year-end can sneak up on all of us, and it’s important not to miss key deadlines for accomplishing your clients’ charitable goals. Please reach out to our team to find out when certain transactions must occur to be completed during this tax year, including checks to a fund at The Community Foundation. Gifts of marketable securities also need to be fully transferred by December 31, so please urge clients to contact us in plenty of time for our team to process and receive the transfer.

The team at The Community Foundation is a resource and sounding board as you serve your philanthropic clients. We understand the charitable side of the equation and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients.

Questions? Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

Five of 2022’s most-asked questions about Qualified Charitable Distributions

Five of 2022’s most-asked questions about Qualified Charitable Distributions

 

Qualified Charitable Distributions, or “QCDs,” are becoming a very popular financial and charitable planning tool. At the same time, QCDs are growing as the source of more and more confusion.

Here are answers to the questions most frequently asked this year by both advisors and donors. Be on the lookout for these and other client questions, and please do not hesitate to reach out to The Community Foundation for assistance.

“Is an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) the only eligible source for Qualified Charitable Distributions?”

Short answer: Almost.

Long answer: An individual can make a Qualified Charitable Distribution directly to an eligible charity from a traditional IRA or an inherited IRA. If the individual’s employer is no longer contributing to a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan or a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA, the individual may use those accounts as well. In theory, a Roth IRA could be used to make a QCD, but it is rarely advantageous to do that because Roth IRA distributions are already tax-free.

“What is the difference between a QCD and an RMD?”

Short answer: Quite a bit! But a QCD can count toward an RMD.

Long answer: Everyone must start taking Required Minimum Distributions (“RMDs”) from their qualified retirement plans, including IRAs, when they reach the age of 72. RMDs are taxable income. The Qualified Charitable Distribution, by contrast, is a distribution directly from certain types of qualified retirement plans (such as IRAs) to certain types of charities. When a taxpayer follows the rules, a QCD can count toward the taxpayer’s RMD for that year. And because the QCD goes directly to charity, the taxpayer is not taxed on that distribution.

“Can I make a Qualified Charitable Distribution even if I am not yet required to take Required Minimum Distributions?” 

Short answer: Yes–within a very narrow age window.

Long answer: RMDs and QCDs are both distributions that impact retirement-age taxpayers, and it would seem logical that the age thresholds would be the same. Under the SECURE Act, though, the required date for starting RMDs was shifted from 70 ½ to 72 (which is better for taxpayers who want to delay taxable income). A corresponding shift was not made to the eligible age for executing QCDs; that age is still 70 ½ (which benefits taxpayers who wish to access IRA funds to make charitable gifts even before they are required to take RMDs).

The IRS’s rules for QCDs are captured in Internal Revenue Code Section 408 and summarized on pages 14 and 15 in Publication 590-B in its FAQs publication.

“Can I direct a QCD to my fund at The Community Foundation?”

Short answer: Yes, if it’s a qualifying fund.

Long answer: While donor-advised funds are not eligible recipients of Qualified Charitable Distributions, other types of funds at The Community Foundation can receive QCDs. These funds include designated funds, unrestricted funds, field-of-interest funds, and scholarship funds.

“How much can I give through a QCD?” 

Short answer: $100,000 per year.

Long answer: A Qualified Charitable Distribution permits you (and your spouse from your spouse’s own IRA or IRAs) to transfer up to $100,000 each year from an IRA (or multiple IRAs) to a qualified charity. So, as a married couple, you and your spouse may be eligible to direct up to a total of $200,000 per year to charity from your IRAs and avoid significant income tax liability.

Questions? Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

It’s a big deal: Answering clients’ questions about GivingTuesday

It’s a big deal: Answering clients’ questions about GivingTuesday

Among the many client questions you and other attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors can be prepared to answer as year-end approaches is, “What is Giving Tuesday? And why the hashtag that often precedes it in print or online?”

Giving Tuesday–or “GivingTuesday” to be more accurate–has become a philanthropic phenomenon of sorts, generating support and enthusiasm from a wide range of people and institutions. Many of your clients are likely reading about GivingTuesday in the media, especially after the Gates Foundation recently announced its $10 million gift to support the effort.

Celebrating 10 years in 2022—and vastly different from both the Black Friday and Cyber Monday that it follows—GivingTuesday is a day of generosity. Generosity of time, effort, money, concern or any other well-intended act of giving.

Facts about GivingTuesday:

  • Started in 2012.
  • More than a day, GivingTuesday is a movement and an organization.
  • Founded at New York’s 92nd Street Y and celebrated globally.
  • Falls on the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving, always.
  • Though not strictly a fundraiser, money “moved” has grown from $28 million in 2013 to $2.7 billion in the U.S. in 2021.

Clients typically get involved in GivingTuesday by supporting their favorite charitable organizations. Many nonprofits promote GivingTuesday as an important source of funds for their organizations, and they frequently encourage their donors–your clients–to give via cash, check, online or even via cryptocurrency. Your clients also can participate in GivingTuesday by recommending grants from their donor-advised funds to favorite organizations.

Far beyond simple acts of benevolence, GivingTuesday is steeped in the idea of “radical generosity,” which the organization describes as giving to create systemic change, or to “recognize that we each can drive an enormous amount of positive change by rooting our everyday actions, decisions and behavior in radical generosity—the concept that the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering. Radical generosity invites people in to give what they can to create systemic change.”

Beyond monetary donations, systemic change comes from participating in activities like social media advocacy (the # in #Giving Tuesday that creates ripple-effect awareness online), sharing love, spreading kindness, supporting a food pantry, shopping local or hosting a food or coat drive.

To help clients learn more or get answers to additional questions about GivingTuesday, please reach out to The Community Foundation. Our team welcomes your call!  Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

The perfect plate: Turkey, pumpkin pie and charitable giving

The perfect plate: Turkey, pumpkin pie and charitable giving

As you prepare to gather with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, we invite you to reach out to the team at The Community Foundation for suggestions on how to incorporate charitable giving into the festivities.

For example:

  • Take this opportunity to brush up on the rich history of charitable giving in America.
  • Consider asking each family member to conduct quick research on a community need that they feel strongly about, such as homelessness, early childhood education, preserving the environment, medical research, and so on. Even just 15 minutes of online research on how the issue is playing out locally can be eye-opening!
  • When your family is together, each person can briefly share what they found in their research. If the group feels strongly about one or two issues, you might consider pooling donations–whether $5 per person or $50.
  • Contact The Community Foundation to find out which nonprofit organizations in the community are most closely aligned with addressing the issues you’ve selected. Make your family donation to those organizations.

Thanksgiving is also a good time to start planning for year-end charitable giving to meet your philanthropic goals. For instance:

  • Making gifts of cash or appreciated stock to your donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation can help you streamline your charitable giving recordkeeping and still allow you to support your favorite charities with year-end gifts. If you’ve not yet established a fund at The Community Foundation, we’d love to help you set that up. There is still plenty of time to put it in place to meet your year-end tax planning and charitable giving needs.
  • If you are over the age of 70 ½, consider making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA to one or more qualifying charities, which include an unrestricted or field-of-interest fund at The Community Foundation. QCDs, available up to $100,000 annually per taxpayer, are an excellent way to bypass required minimum distributions and the corresponding income tax liability.
  • Many families update their estate plans around the holidays. If you’re planning to review your wills and trusts, it’s a great time to check in on any bequests and adjust those provisions, especially if you’ve recently established a donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation and intend for part of your estate to flow into those vehicles.

As always, please contact The Community Foundation for charitable giving inspiration and insights. We are here to help! Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected]

 

Give a little and feel a lot better

Give a little and feel a lot better

In the classic book The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea, authors Bob Burg and John Mann share how Joe, a young professional, uses unselfishness to ultimately find business success.

Among the philosophies:

–Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

–Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

On a personal level, we’ve all heard the adage, and to paraphrase, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Two often-cited benefits of giving are (a) that it makes you happy, and (b) it makes you healthier and live longer.

These benefits can be experienced through small gestures, like opening a door for a stranger; surprising the next-in-line at the drive through with a free cup of coffee; or checking on a neighbor before or after a storm.

Volunteering is another source of happiness and health enhancement. According to the University of Maryland Health System, volunteering can bring physical and behavioral health benefits including a broader social network, lower blood pressure (which can reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke), improved mental health and stress relief.

By doing good, we feel better ourselves.

In many ways, interestingly enough, your community foundation can be a facilitator of health benefits. By helping to establish, manage and distribute your gifts of generosity to the causes you care about, The Community Foundation can simplify the giving process to your favorite organizations that power medical innovation, support equipment acquisitions and fund construction at university health centers, hospitals, and blood banks, as well as the many important services delivered by community health providers.

Quite notably, many generous and significant gifts received by health centers in 2021 referenced family foundation involvement. Among those facilities are Cedars-Sinai Health System (Los Angeles, CA); Atrium Health (Charlotte, NC); Wolfson Children’s Hospital (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Saint Barnabas Medical Center (Livingston, N.J.).

By giving through The Community Foundation, whether to an unrestricted fund, field-of-interest fund, or a donor-advised fund, and whether to health-related charitable organizations or others, a donor’s gifts to charity can go above and beyond simply meeting individual or family tax and giving goals. By serving those in need and the greater good, gifts to charity help others feel happier and healthier—donors and recipients alike.

Call us at 540-432-3863 or email Kristin Coleman at [email protected] for any questions on charitable giving.