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Giving Back

Put your time and money where your heart is.

Giving provides an opportunity to find purpose and meaning while also helping others.

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What percentage of young adults give?

That’s right.

84% of millennials give to charity, donating an annual average of $481 across 3 organizations.

More than that.

84% of millennials give to charity, donating an annual average of $481 across 3 organizations.

Women picking up garbage

How to begin

You can support your favorite charity by making a financial contribution or by volunteering your time. A good way to begin is by downloading the Values Worksheet. Then you can focus on choosing ways to act on your values.

Your giving style

The next step is deciding which organizations you want to support. Your advisor can get a philanthropic specialist to help. In the meantime, check out these sites and match your interests to specific organizations.

According to experts1, at least 65% of a donation should go directly to the nonprofit program (rather than administration costs). Visit the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Standards for Charity Accountability to do a little preliminary research and see what else you should consider.

 

How would you like to express your charitable intent?

There are many ways to contribute depending on your schedule, talents, commitment level and current resources.

 

Volunteer

What skills can you contribute?

How much time do you have available?

This will help you and the charity determine how you can make the greatest difference with your efforts. Volunteermatch.org can help.

Limited budget

Review your budget and determine how much you can give over the course of the year.

Direct your giving to a select group of charities.

Check to see if your employer offers matching grants for qualified donations.

Challenge grants

There are times when a charity is trying to reach a goal in order to receive a challenge grant by another donor.

Tying your donation to this effort can have a significant impact on the organization.

Giving circles

Giving circles are made up of groups of individuals who pool their money or time toward a specific set of ideas, causes or even an organization.

They present an engaging way for people to join together so that their collective thinking and contributions might have a more meaningful impact.

Creating a legacy

For many wealthy families, building a charitable legacy will involve creating a private or family foundation:

  • A family foundation is a perpetual trust or corporation that is used to make gifts to charitable organizations over the years.
  • Typically, your foundation will receive some assets during your parents' lifetimes and additional funding through their estate plan.
  • When certain requirements are met, the assets in the foundation may grow income-tax-free.
  • Foundations are required to comply with a range of rules imposed by government laws and regulations.
    • These rules relate to distribution requirements (usually requiring a minimum of 5% of the foundation's assets to be paid to qualified charities annually), conflicts of interest, investments and permissible recipient organizations.
    • In addition, foundations are required to make copies of their tax returns available for public inspection, which means the foundations' grantmaking is a matter of public record.

Here are some things to consider if your family already has a foundation in place.

How is the foundation structured?

- Is it a trust or corporation?

- How is the board comprised?

- And are board members/trustees appointed? Elected? Rotated on? Involved by birthright?

- Are there committees? (e.g. investment, grants, etc.)?

- Does it run in perpetuity or "sunset" at a particular time?

- Is there staff for the foundation (e.g. executive director, administrator, finance person, etc.)?

- What do the bylaws or trust rules provide?

How does the foundation function?

- How are grant decisions made?

- How are investment decisions made?

- How often does the board meet?

- How is the administrative work handled?

Can the foundation support the types of charities in which you are interested?

- Does the foundation support defined beneficiaries?

- Is the foundation set up to support a broad range of issues, geographies and/or charitable organizations?

- Or is the foundation dedicated to a defined set of issues or geographies?

What role would you like to play with the foundation?

Are there rules or expectations with respect to your involvement with the foundation (e.g. term limits, volunteer time, meeting attendance, grant research, etc.)?

Charitable trusts

For income tax and wealth transfer purposes, your family may also implement irrevocable trusts (cannot be modified or revoked) that benefit both charitable organizations and family members.

CRT (charitable remainder trust)

- Combines income tax planning with philanthropy

- Allows you to contribute appreciated assets, like stock or real estate

- The trust sells assets without paying income tax on the gain.

- Proceeds are reinvested to produce an income stream for you or another non-charitable beneficiary for a period of years or for your or his or her lifetime.

- Payments may be subject to income tax to the beneficiary.

- At the end of the trust term, remaining assets pass to charity or to your family's foundation.

CLT (charitable lead trust)

- Combines charitable goals with wealth transfer and income tax planning

- Allows you to shift future appreciation of underlying assets to a younger generation

- During the term of the trust, a charity, which may be the family's foundation, receives a specific payout from the trust each year.

- At the end of the trust term, the remainder value usually passes to children or trusts for their benefit.

There are many ways to give

You and your family may have opportunities to use other types of assets, such as real estate, collectibles and life insurance, for charitable purposes as well. Talk to your advisor to learn all the ways you can make a difference.

Over time, your charitable efforts may include:

  • Volunteer time
  • Direct gifts of cash or securities
  • Use of charitable entities such as donor-advised funds and family foundations
  • Real estate
  • Collectibles
  • Life insurance
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