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Donor-advised funds easy, effective, create lasting change

When you elect to give to charitable organizations, you likely have several assumptions. You want it to be easy. You want your contributions to be as impactful and effective as possible. You want to own the decisions on when to give and whom to support. You want the chance to continue to increase earnings and reap a tax benefit.

Then a donor-advised fund, which is much like a charitable savings account, may be the right choice for you. Donor-advised funds are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States.

It really is simple. You “deposit” cash or other assets – stocks, real estate or non-publicly traded assets such as real estate, private business interests and private company stock – with a tax-exempt sponsoring organization. These can include financial firms such as Fidelity Charitable or Schwab Charitable, religious groups such as the National Christian Foundation or Lutheran Community Foundation, independent organizations like the National Philanthropic trust, or community foundations.

Then as the donor, you advise the fund-holding organization how much and how often to grant money to an agency such as Family & Children’s Place. You can do this via web portal or conversations with your consultant and at the same time avoid the costs and complexities of managing a private, personal foundation.

You also grow your deposit – amounts needed to create a donor advised fund vary, from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars – as it is invested based on your preferences, so it has the potential to grow, tax-free, as you decide future gifts.

Oh, and there is the added benefit of an immediate tax deduction – up to 50 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) for gifts of cash and up to 30 percent of AGI for gifts of appreciated securities, mutual funds, real estate and other assets. Not a bad deal for you or for your cause.

For Family & Children’s Place it’s another avenue to secure the financial resources required to keep our commitment to protect and heal children and families hurt by violence, abuse and neglect.

You can also make it a family affair and create a lifetime or legacy giving opportunity by inviting your children to get involved, educating and informing them of the issues surrounding child abuse and neglect and showing them how their gifts can save and change lives for the better.

Another benefit of donor-advised funds is that while the majority of donations for any organization, including Family & Children’s Place tend to come in at year-end – the traditional holiday and giving period – DAF grants can be made anytime, providing much needed sustaining support throughout the year.

It’s an effective and easy giving option. Take a look to see if it’s right for you and your family.

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