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Maximizing Your Charitable Impact

Posted September 2020

We are collectively very generous. Some of us support the same causes each year. Sometimes we also make gifts in response to requests—such as emergency fund appeals, college reunions, or fund challenges. Most of us make the majority of our gifts with cash or a check—by mail, online … and more recently by text. But are there other ways to give that can maximize your impact? Yes, by making a gift that is partly used now and partly used later.

Cash gifts are quick, simple, and can be used right away. These gifts fulfill our personal goals to help now. Under the CARES Act, in 2020 those of us who do not itemize can claim a $300 charitable deduction for cash gifts to charitable organizations (not donor-advised funds). Those of us who itemize our deductions can deduct gifts up to 100% of our adjusted gross income. These temporary provisions encourage us to give more to the many charitable organizations with compelling needs.

Those of us who wish to support a charitable organization’s mission more deeply or for a longer period of time may consider gifts beyond cash—such as appreciated stock. Not only do we not see our checking accounts decline, but we might also escape tax on the gain in the asset and diversify our assets. Another option for long-term support is a charitable bequest in a will or estate plan. These gifts support charitable organizations in future years and don’t change our current lifestyles.

Gifts of cash and stock help now, while charitable bequests are deferred and help later. But wouldn’t it be great to tie current gifts and future gifts together to maximize the impact? We can! One way is to make gifts that are used currently in part, with the other part building up a fund to a specified amount. It may even be possible to create or contribute to a fund that can last “forever.” These funds—endowed funds—are usually established to achieve a particular purpose. Examples include endowed scholarship funds, endowed director positions, and endowed community arts programs.

Our charitable legacy begins with our first gift, continues through our lifetime of gifts, and can be capped off with a gift in our wills or estate plans. We can choose to give to many causes and, in some cases, to give assets beyond cash to achieve our philanthropic goals. Giving strategically can help ensure that our philanthropic impact can continue for a long period of time.

Please contact us today for more information on these and other giving strategies.

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