Donor Connection – May.2024

Keeping advisors informed, donor-advised fund do’s and don’ts, and creative ways to give to education

Greetings from the community foundation!

We are so grateful for the opportunity to work together!

Many of you have established funds at the community foundation to support the causes you love. Others are serving on boards of directors of local nonprofits. Some of you are involved in discussions with your family and your advisors about establishing a fund at the community foundation to fulfill your philanthropic goals.

Wherever you are in your charitable giving process, we are here to support you, including through articles and resources that can help you shape your philanthropy plan.

In this issue, we’re happy to share information about the following:

–The team at the community foundation can help you keep your advisors up-to-date on your charitable plans, including the funds you’ve established and your intentions to support your favorite charities’ campaigns. Reach out anytime if you’d like to review the various elements of your philanthropic activities. We will help you identify what your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor need to know.

–Donor-advised funds are one of many fund types you can establish at the community foundation to organize your giving. (Many families establish field-of-interest funds, designated funds, and unrestricted funds alongside their donor-advised fund to round out their philanthropy.) Review a few reminders about what your donor-advised fund can and can’t do.

–A scholarship fund isn’t the only way to achieve your charitable goals for funding education. Learn about how the community foundation can help you pursue areas of interest that support education in creative ways. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover the variety of options.

We look forward to continuing to serve you. If we’re not yet working together, we hope you’ll reach out with questions about the topics below or anything else that captures your attention and imagination in the world of philanthropy.

With gratitude,

Your community foundation


Charitable planning: Keep your advisors informed

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The team at the community foundation is honored to be your “go-to” resource for all components of your philanthropy. We enjoy talking regularly with individuals, families, and businesses about goals for charitable giving, tax strategies, ways to support favorite nonprofits, getting children and grandchildren involved in the community, leaving a legacy, and so much more. If you’ve already established a donor-advised fund, field-of-interest fund, designated fund or unrestricted fund at the community foundation, you know we’re always here to answer your questions.

What you might not know, though, is that the community foundation is also happy to help you keep your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor in the loop. We’d be happy to join you and your advisors at a meeting to discuss your charitable plans. We’re also happy to offer suggestions about which documents and information you’ll want to provide to your advisors.

For example, it’s important to provide your attorney with information about your fund–or funds–at the community foundation and also provide copies of fund agreements and other documentation. This will help your attorney determine whether and how your fund could be incorporated into your estate plan. Your attorney also needs to be aware of beneficiary designations on retirement plans and IRAs; these vehicles are critical components of an overall estate plan and also are an excellent way to leave a tax-savvy bequest to your fund at the community foundation or other charity.

Next, your accountant will appreciate knowing about your fund at the community foundation, especially as you work together to evaluate the most effective assets to give to charitable causes each year. Your accountant, for instance, may suggest that you give a certain dollar value of appreciated stock to your donor-advised fund in a particular calendar year to maximize itemized deductions and give you the ability to support your favorite charitable causes for several consecutive years at the high levels you intend.

Finally, it’s important that your financial advisor understand your charitable intentions and be aware of the vehicles you’ve already established. Your financial advisor can keep an eye out for stock positions that are highly-appreciated, making them ideal gifts to fund your charitable intentions. Your financial advisor will be a key member of the planning team if you were to establish a charitable remainder trust, for example, with the community foundation. Not only is it important to determine which assets to use to fund the trust (highly-appreciated real estate, for example), but your financial advisor also will want to weigh in on the projected lifetime income stream from the trust to develop retirement projections that are as accurate as possible.

One of the many benefits of being a fund holder at the community foundation is your access to a team of professionals who are dedicated to carrying out your charitable wishes. Think of our team as a group of specialists who deeply understand both the tax and mission-based aspects of charitable giving vehicles–and who are enthusiastic about working alongside your legal, tax, and investment advisors to create a philanthropy plan that meets all of your goals.


Donor-advised fund do’s and don’ts

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A donor-advised fund is one of many types of funds you can establish at the community foundation. Field-of-interest funds, designated funds, unrestricted funds, and scholarship funds are also popular and can make a big difference in the community while also fulfilling your goals for tax and charitable planning.

If you’ve established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, you know it’s useful because it allows you to make a tax-deductible transfer of cash or marketable securities that is immediately eligible for a charitable deduction. Then, you can recommend donations from the fund to your favorite charities to meet community needs as they emerge.

Your gifts to your donor-advised fund are tax deductible transfers to the community foundation, which is a charitable organization recognized under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The community foundation follows the Internal Revenue Service’s requirements that disbursements from your donor-advised fund meet certain important qualifications to preserve that charitable tax status–for everyone’s benefit. It’s a good idea to periodically review a few types of disbursements that don’t meet the IRS’s rules and therefore are not permissible donations from your donor-advised fund. For example:

–A donor-advised fund cannot be used explicitly to satisfy a personal pledge to a charitable organization, such as to a capital campaign. The team at the community foundation is happy to work with you to develop ways you can achieve your intentions to support your favorite organization’s fundraising goals. Please reach out if you are in this situation.

–Because donor-advised funds at the community foundation fall under a different (and more favorable) set of IRS rules than private foundations, a donor-advised fund is restricted from supporting a private family foundation. Please reach out to the community foundation team to learn more about this requirement. We’d love to explore how your donor-advised fund and your private family foundation can work together to achieve your charitable goals. Some fund holders even decide to close their private foundation and consolidate their giving with the community foundation to achieve greater impact, save on expenses, and achieve better tax results.

–A donor-advised fund can’t be used to buy tickets to fundraising events, such as galas and golf tournaments, where the cost of the ticket is not fully tax deductible. The reason for this is that the IRS views the taxpayer as receiving benefits from the event (food, drinks, swag), and this “private benefit” muddies the waters of tax deductibility. Even if a portion of the ticket is deductible according to the charity, it’s still not a permissible distribution from a donor-advised fund. Please reach out to the team at the community foundation if you’re asked to sponsor a charity’s fundraiser. We are happy to discuss solutions to achieve both your charitable goals and goals for getting involved with the event.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, the community foundation team is honored to be your first call when you encounter a question about your donor-advised fund or any other charitable giving opportunity.


Getting creative: Three ways to support education

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It’s graduation season, and that means education may be on your mind! The community foundation can help you make a difference in the lives of young people by funding education. Certainly establishing a scholarship fund at the community foundation is one way to accomplish this goal. But that’s not the only way. Here are three ideas to consider as you explore ways to make an impact through education.

Establish a designated fund for educational institutions.

A designated fund provides support for specific organizations of your choice. So, for example, if you want to ensure that a particular college or university receives funding each year, you can set up a designated fund to accomplish this. For instance, if your family has supported the same local college for generations, you may want that support to continue. At the same time, you want to be sure that your funds are used effectively. This includes protecting your monetary support from the college’s creditors if the college finds itself in financial trouble. A designated fund at the community foundation could be the solution.

Establish a field-of-interest fund to support specific aspects of education.

Through a field-of-interest fund at the community foundation, you can establish parameters for grant making according to your wishes. If education is your priority, perhaps over the years you’ve supported a variety of local organizations that provide students with courses, tutoring, mentorship, and social services, ranging from grassroots charities to well-established trade schools and higher education institutions. Establishing a field-of-interest fund activates the community foundation’s expertise and research by delegating grant making decisions to the community foundation team. This helps donors like you ensure that their dollars will have the greatest impact.

Seek the advice of the community foundation for your donor-advised fund grant making.

If you have established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, you’ve likely used it over the years to support your alma mater and perhaps other educational institutions. The community foundation team would welcome the opportunity to help you think broadly about education, beyond simply four-year institutions. Community colleges, trade schools, vocational programs, and out-of-the-box learning experiences may be a better fit for some students. The community foundation can also help you identify charities that support teachers, classrooms, and school districts, all of which need resources to deliver the best possible education to students.

We look forward to helping you support education as a major area of charitable interest! And if there’s a graduation in your family this year, congratulations!


The team at the community foundation is honored to serve as a resource and sounding board as you build your charitable plans and pursue your philanthropic objectives for making a difference in the community. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. Please consult your tax or legal advisor to learn how this information might apply to your own situation. 

A Call to Dream on Behalf of Our Communitites

Article written by Rick McNary

“Our communities need us to dream for them.” Marcia Taylor-Trump

As I traveled to Howard down the undulating two-lane road sandwiched by sienna-colored prairie grasses of the Flint Hills, I reminisced about previous trips there. In my high school football days, I bounced along these same roads in big yellow buses from Rosalia when our Flint Hills Mustangs endured repeated beat-downs by the West Elk Patriots on the football field in Howard. My dad referred to their victories over us as shellackings. Later, as a parent, I followed my children in similar big yellow buses to their sporting events.

Howard sits in a breathtaking and unusual geographic transition from the southern tip of the vast rolling prairies of the Flint Hills as it segues into the Chautauqua Hills and the northern part of an ecosystem known as Cross Timbers. In his travels to the western frontier in the early 1830s, American writer Washington Irving characterized the Cross Timbers as “forests of cast iron.” The Cross Timbers, or Cast-Iron Forest, was a swath of blackjack and post oak trees that ran all the way south near Dallas. Early pioneers coming from the east found the Cross Timbers virtually impenetrable through the undergrowth and small, thick trees. A nearby Cross Timbers State Park has marked trails that wind through a forest with trees as old as President George Washington.

It had been nearly 20 years since I last shivered in the stadium in Howard watching my children at a brutally cold spring track meet where the howling north wind almost stopped hurdlers midstride. As each mile I traveled turned over one fond memory after another, I wondered what I would see upon arrival. Would it be like so many small towns that are slowly dying on the prairie as the last vestiges of hope depart when the senior class graduates? Would the iconic Toots Drive-In still dish out deliciousness? Would other businesses have replaced their windows with plywood and glaring No Trespassing signs?

A July 2023 report in the Wichita Eagle listed Elk County as the second poorest county in the state with a median income of $45,660, median home value of $72,455 and the highest poverty level of any county in the state at 16.2 percent. Would I find Howard a dying town in one of the most beautiful parts of the state?

Nope. Not even close.

Instead of finding the town barely surviving, I found it alive and thriving. Toots Drive-In is still there along with several new businesses, evidence of the vibrancy of a
vivacious populace.

I soon found the origin of inspiration for this small-town vibrancy in the banquet room of the restaurant, Sweet and Spicy. There, gathered around tables, were the energetic members of the Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF). Along with a delicious meal, I was served generous helpings of laughter, inspiration, hope and, once they found out I was a Flint Hills High School grad, a bit of good-natured ribbing. It felt like home.

I was delighted when I received notice from the Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) that, as a board member, I had been selected to be the affiliate liaison to the ECCF. I called up their chair, Marcia Taylor-Trump, and she invited me to their noon meeting.

Their stellar reputation in the foundation world had already caught my attention because, as a CKCF board member on the appreciation committee, I had recently sent numerous handwritten thank you notes to donors in Elk County when they raised $97,000 for the Patterson Family Foundation (PFF) Matching Grant.

Neal Patterson was a native of rural Kansas having grown up near Anthony. He and his wife, Jeanne, were principals in Cerner Health and began investing philanthropically into rural communities in Kansas and Northwest Missouri through the PFF. After their passing, their children took over the helm and strived to help lift rural communities through health care, education, economic opportunity and beyond. One of their most successful initiatives was the $70,000 matching grant for rural community foundations of which ECCF has taken full advantage.

In a county with a population of only 2,441 souls, the ECCF made short work of not only raising the initial $70,000 but an additional $27,000 for a grand total of $97,000, which then turned into $167,000. Elk County tackled the PFF Matching Grant Challenge with the same intensity they used to tackle me in football games. All that money was then distributed to various nonprofits in the six communities that ECCF represents.

As I sat at the table listening to the banter of lively conversation as Marcia worked through the agenda, I was reminded of the power of community foundations, these grantmaking public charities dedicated to improving the lives of people in their communities. They turn seeming impossibilities into vibrant possibilities.

However, like any group, they are only as effective as the people who comprise the group. As I listened in that day, I understood this collection of dreamers and doers were the changemakers in Elk County. This was not a group who sat around just talking about dreams, instead, this was a group who learned how to both dream and do. Their energy was infectious and reminded me of Margaret Meads quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

In her closing remarks, Marcia made one of the most compelling challenges for civic leadership I have ever heard: “We need to dream,” she said. “But more importantly, our communities need us to dream for them.”

The communities of Elk County are fortunate to have passionate citizens like the ECCF board dreaming on their behalf. And based on my past personal experiences on their football field, they will continue tackling the challenges with dedication, skill and intensity. And they will be victorious.

Donor Connection – April.2024

The power of endowment gifts, treating your community like family, and the business of giving

Greetings from the community foundation!

We’re honored to work with you and so many other individuals, families, and businesses who’ve made charitable giving a priority and share our commitment to improving the quality of life for everyone in our region.

If you’ve already established a fund at the community foundation, thank you for the opportunity to be of service! If you’re considering whether to begin working with us, thank you for including the community foundation as you explore your options. We look forward to learning more about how we can help achieve your charitable objectives in ways that align with your financial and estate planning objectives.

In this issue, we’re covering three frequently-requested topics:

–Perhaps you’ve always been intrigued by the possibility of establishing an endowment to create a permanent source of philanthropic support for the community you love, but you thought the process might be difficult or daunting. When you work with the community foundation, it’s easy–and enjoyable–to structure your endowment as your gift to improve the quality of life for future generations.

–Thinking about the community when you’re updating your estate plan can help you leave a robust charitable legacy. Discover how the community foundation’s services and tools help giving become a family affair–and why you’re not alone if your community features prominently among your estate plan’s beneficiaries, right alongside your children and grandchildren.

–Working with the community foundation isn’t just for individuals and families. We also help facilitate corporate philanthropy for businesses of all sizes. Learn how the team at the community foundation can help your business give back to the community where your customers and employees live and work.


Four FAQs to help you establish an endowment

Many community-minded individuals have served on the boards of directors of charitable organizations in our region. If you’ve served on a charity’s board (or several!), you are no doubt familiar with the concept of an endowment. Many charities establish endowment funds and reserve funds at the community foundation to help ensure that their missions stay strong during economic downturns and periods of increased community need.

What you might be less familiar with, however, is an endowment fund established at the community foundation by an individual or family. Every year, the team at the community foundation works with people like you to establish endowment funds to support the needs of our region in perpetuity.

Here are answers to four frequently-asked questions about setting up an endowment fund.

Why does the community foundation offer endowment funds to individuals and families?

The community foundation serves as the hub of philanthropy for many families in our community. We connect donors like you to community needs you care about, and this includes offering the opportunity to make a charitable investment that supports a range of community needs now and in the decades ahead–needs that cannot be predicted. That’s the purpose of an endowment: to provide a steady stream of dollars, far into the future, to meet community needs as they arise.

How does an “endowment” work?

“Endowment” is the word often used to refer to a designated pool of assets that are invested by the community foundation and tracked separately such that a modest portion (usually based on a percentage) of the assets are distributed each year to charitable causes, and the rest of the assets remain invested to grow in perpetuity. This growth, in turn, helps the endowment provide even more support each year to the causes for which it was established. The community foundation team is experienced at managing the accounting, investment, and distribution aspects of endowment funds.

How can I stay involved with my endowment fund after it’s established?

First and foremost, you can name the endowment fund anything you want, such as the “Smith Family Endowment Fund,” or something more anonymous such as the “Endowment Fund for Our Future.” In addition, our team is happy to keep you informed about the positive change in the community that is occurring thanks to the distributions from the endowment fund you’ve established. We can continue to keep your children and grandchildren informed, too, beyond your lifetime. In this way, your legacy continues through the generations.

Who decides where the endowment distributions go each year?

The community foundation is itself a permanent institution. Our board and staff are committed to keeping a finger on the pulse of the region’s greatest needs and maintaining a deep knowledge of the charitable organizations that are meeting these needs every day. This is the community foundation’s mission in perpetuity. The community foundation’s team is made up of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who understand our community and build ongoing personal relationships with the people working at the region’s charitable organizations. The community foundation team recommends distributions from your endowment, and our independent board of directors reviews and approves these distributions to ensure that they fulfill your charitable goals for establishing the endowment in the first place.

What does it take to establish an endowment fund?

Setting up an endowment fund is as easy as setting up any other type of fund at the community foundation. Our team will prepare simple paperwork capturing the name of the endowment fund and any areas of interest you’d like to support. Then, you can transfer cash—or, even better for tax purposes, you can transfer appreciated assets such as stock or real estate. You’ll be eligible for a charitable tax deduction in the year you make the transfer to establish the fund. You can make future transfers to your endowment fund each year, too, to achieve your tax and estate planning goals. Our team is also happy to work with you and your advisors to structure a bequest to your endowment fund following your death. We highly recommend considering a bequest in the form of a beneficiary designation on an IRA because of the multiple tax benefits. Related, if you are over 70 ½, making a “Qualified Charitable Distribution” from your IRA directly to your endowment fund is a very effective charitable planning tool to avoid income tax and also satisfy your Required Minimum Distribution if you’ve reached that age as well.

We look forward to working with you to support our community and your favorite charitable causes for generations to come!


Estate planning: Your kids … and your community

As you contemplate your legacy and adjust your estate plan over the years, it’s natural to focus on your children and family as the primary beneficiaries in your will and trust. If you’re like an increasing number of charitably-minded individuals, though, you might find that your perspectives about what exactly it means to leave a legacy are expanding beyond your next of kin. Your community is on your mind and in your heart, and you’re interested in ways you can support and improve the quality of life for people in the region we call home.

If you’re intrigued, you are not alone! Indeed, many philanthropic individuals are broadening their estate plan beneficiaries to prominently include their community or favorite cause, right alongside children and grandchildren. The team at the community foundation would be honored to discuss the ways we can help. Here are three options for funds you can establish with the community foundation to benefit our community in your overall philanthropy and estate plan:

Unrestricted fund

Major advantages of the community foundation include its perpetual structure, community-based governance, and commitment to addressing needs as they change. An unrestricted fund allows you and your family to provide support that evolves over time as priorities in the region shift. The community foundation’s mission is to thoroughly understand the community and improve lives within it. The community foundation’s board and professional staff conduct ongoing, extensive research about the needs of the community and the nonprofit programs that are addressing those needs. Establishing an unrestricted fund means you are investing in the community foundation to support programs that are addressing the community’s most pressing needs as well as needs that can’t be identified until the future.

Field-of-interest fund

A field of interest fund is an ideal way to target your giving to specific areas of community need (such as education, health, environment, or the arts). Your field of interest fund at the community foundation establishes parameters for grant making according to your wishes. The community foundation’s staff follows these parameters and uses its research and expertise to make grants that align with your intentions. Your fund can continue beyond your lifetime and for multiple generations, consistently providing grants to support your area of interest according to the terms you established when you first created the fund.

Designated fund

A designated fund at the community foundation can help you secure your favorite organization’s financial future so that its mission continues, uninterrupted, even in the face of challenges. You can set up multiple designated funds if you’d like to support more than one organization. You can even set up a designated fund to support a governmental unit, such as the parks department. A designated fund allows you to decide on the timing of the distributions from the fund, such as during the organization’s capital campaign or to support a specific program or initiative. You can serve as an advisor to the fund to recommend the timing and amount of grants to the supported organization, or you can appoint the board of directors of the community foundation to carry out this function according to your wishes.

And here’s a bonus! If you plan to give to an unrestricted fund, designated fund, or field-of-interest fund at the community foundation during your lifetime, and you’re over the age of 70 1/2, you can direct up to $105,000 each year from your IRA to the fund. This is called a “Qualified Charitable Distribution,” or “QCD.” Not only do QCD transfers count toward satisfying your Required Minimum Distributions if you’ve reached that age threshold, but you also avoid the income tax on those funds. Furthermore, the assets distributed through a QCD are no longer part of your estate upon your death, so you can avoid estate taxes, too.


In the business of giving

If you’re a business owner, odds are you already give back to your community. Like many charitably-minded people, your business likely sponsors events, makes in-kind donations, and donates cash to favorite organizations.

Many local business owners work with the community foundation to give back to the community where they built their businesses and developed lasting relationships with employees and customers.

The community foundation offers a variety of tools to help you build and grow your corporate philanthropy program, including:

  • Corporate foundation. Establishing a corporate donor-advised fund helps you organize your company’s giving in a convenient, 501(c)(3)-qualified structure.
  • Executive donor-advised fund. Offering this elevated employee benefit to your executive team can help activate your senior management’s community involvement.
  • Matching gifts. The community foundation can help guide your team in creating and administering a program that matches employees’ volunteer time and dollars.
  • Grant making administration and strategy. You and your colleagues likely receive dozens of requests each month from community organizations requesting sponsorships and monetary donations. The team at the community foundation can help you create and implement a strategy for responding to and evaluating those requests to align with your company’s goals for supporting and prioritizing causes.
  • Employee giving and disaster relief campaigns. The community foundation’s tools to receive and process donations can help you and your employees respond quickly and meaningfully to disasters and other urgent community needs.

The community foundation is glad to help you deepen your business’s impact and connection to your community, customers, and employees by creating a philanthropy plan that supports causes that align with the wide range of your objectives.


The team at the community foundation is honored to serve as a resource and sounding board as you build your charitable plans and pursue your philanthropic objectives for making a difference in the community. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. Please consult your tax or legal advisor to learn how this information might apply to your own situation. 

Donor Connection March.2024

Greetings from the community foundation!

We hope you are doing well and are looking forward to Spring!

At the community foundation, we’re hard at work supporting you and your charitable giving endeavors. We hope you know you can always count on us as a guide and resource for you, no matter your situation. Whether you established a fund at the community foundation years ago or you are currently in the process of exploring establishing a fund to organize your giving, we’re here as a resource for your philanthropy.

Here’s what’s coming up in this issue:

  • Getting into the habit of setting up regular contributions to your donor-advised fund helps your financial planning and also helps you support your favorite causes well into the future. We’re sharing tips and benefits to boost your philanthropic nest egg.
  • The team at the community foundation welcomes the opportunity to meet in person, or over Zoom if that is easier for you. Charitable giving is important and everyone’s approach to philanthropy is different. We take our relationships with fund holders seriously and we strive to understand and serve your unique charitable giving priorities. Personal service is what you can expect when you meet with our team.
  • Donor-advised funds are just one of many types of funds you can establish with the community foundation. Donor-advised funds are popular because of the flexibility they offer to help you support the important work of your favorite charities. Our team stays up-to-date on the latest donor-advised fund trends and developments, and we’ll keep you up-to-date too!

Thank you for the opportunity to work together! We are grateful!

Angie Tatro, CKCF CEO


Full circle: Grow your philanthropy through recurring gifts

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Developing a practice of regular contributions to your donor-advised fund at the community foundation not only allows you to systematically build a philanthropic nest egg for your annual giving to favorite charities, but also paves the way for your future legacy bequests. Whether your cadence of contributions is monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, the consistency delivers many benefits. For instance:

–As your donor-advised fund grows, it allows you to be nimble with your giving and meet the urgent needs of the community as they arise. For the community as a whole, this type of support and stability gives many nonprofit organizations’ leaders the peace of mind and security of knowing that important programs can continue through good times and bad.

–Recurring giving to your donor-advised fund also helps build ultimate capacity to ensure that your principles and dedication to altruistic endeavors endure long beyond your lifetime. Many fund holders at the community foundation have included provisions in their donor-advised fund documents to leave all or a portion of the donor-advised fund remaining at their death to an unrestricted or area of interest fund at the community foundation.

–Talking about your recurring support through the community foundation helps to create a giving culture within your family. Over time, your children and grandchildren will learn that philanthropy is an important family tradition and that charitable giving is a critical source of funding for programs that improve the quality of life for so many people in our region. Your donor-advised fund at the community foundation offers ongoing flexibility to fulfill your own charitable goals as well as the goals of the next generation.

The team at the community foundation is happy to work with you and your advisors to determine the best way for you to make regular contributions to your fund, especially if your priority is to give highly-appreciated stock to take advantage of the opportunity to avoid income tax on capital gains.

We look forward to talking with you about how recurring donations to your existing donor-advised fund (or a new donor-advised fund if you’re considering it) might be a fit for you and your charitable plans.


Our door is open: What happens when you meet with the team

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At the community foundation, we are honored to work with generous individuals and families like so many of you who’ve established funds to support the causes you care about and the needs of our community both now and in the future. We’re also inspired by those of you who are getting to know the community foundation and considering establishing a donor-advised or other type of fund.

Wherever you are in the stages of your philanthropic planning, the team at the community foundation is here for you and considers our relationship to be personal. That’s why we welcome the opportunity to meet with our fund holders and prospective fund holders. Here are a few insights into what those meetings are all about.

You can expect personal, dedicated service. Unlike financial institutions’ donor-advised fund platforms where access to a dedicated donor services team can be rare, the staff at the local community foundation is here to help you every step of the way along your charitable giving journey. Our team is happy to meet with you one-on-one, and we are also happy to join a meeting with you and your legal, tax, or financial advisor to assess your current situation and determine the best charitable tax strategy for you. This includes evaluating the best assets to give to your fund or funds at the community foundation, including publicly-traded stock and even other noncash assets such as real estate or closely-held stock.

We care about your intentions for your fund. The team at the community foundation wants to understand the areas of interest that are a priority for you, whether that’s the arts, health care, social services, the environment, education, community development, or something else. We also want to understand the role you envision for the successor advisors you’ve named in the fund documentation, such as your children, who will make decisions about the fund when you are no longer living or able to manage the fund yourself.

We will help you establish additional funds to meet your goals. Sometimes when the team at the community foundation is working with a fund holder to understand the intentions for a donor-advised fund, we discover that it’s worth adding one or more additional funds to complement the donor-advised fund structure already in place. For example, some fund holders decide to also establish a designated fund for a particular nonprofit organization or an unrestricted fund to support the community foundation’s mission in perpetuity. Many times, fund holders decide to make recurring contributions over time to multiple funds at the community foundation to achieve their various philanthropy goals.

We make the paperwork a breeze. As you know if you’ve already established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, the paperwork is straightforward and not at all cumbersome. As we’re exploring updating your existing donor-advised fund, setting up a new donor-advised fund, or adding additional types of funds to your portfolio, we’ll prepare simple documentation to capture your wishes, collect important contact information, and address your vision for your fund or funds both during and after your lifetime.

We’re always here to strategize about your giving options. As you periodically review your assets and financial situation with your advisors, keep an eye out for appreciated assets that could be ideal to give to your fund or funds at the community foundation because of the potential capital gains tax savings. The community foundation can work with you and your advisors on contributions of a wide variety of assets to help you achieve your tax and estate planning goals. We are happy to go over the appraisal and documentation requirements for gifts of nonmarketable assets such as closely-held stock and real estate.

We’ll let you know about educational opportunities and gatherings with other fund holders. During our meeting, we’ll share a calendar of upcoming events and ways you can learn more about the causes you care about and what’s going on in the community overall. Our team is here to help you stay up-to-date and on the various ways you can support the community by working with the community foundation and partnering with other fund holders.

Thank you for your commitment to philanthropy! If you’re already a fund holder, we are grateful that you’ve made the choice to organize your giving by working with the community foundation. If you’re considering getting started, we look forward to continuing the conversation! In either case, we look forward to seeing you soon!


News from Washington: An update on donor-advised funds

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In our last newsletter, we shared that our team is closely tracking the IRS’s proposed regulations concerning donor-advised funds, issued in November 2023. Certainly these regulations are just “proposed”; it is unclear whether and to what extent they will become final.

If you routinely read financial publications, you may have seen articles about these proposed regulations and speculation about what they might mean for charitable planning. At this point, it is anyone’s guess! You can rest assured that the community foundation team is on top of the issues, and we will update all of our fund holders as more information becomes available. Indeed, you may have seen the news that the IRS has scheduled public hearings on the proposed donor-advised fund regulations, set for May 6, 2024, so it’s not likely we’ll hear anything definitive for several months.

In the meantime, you might enjoy reading up on donor-advised funds and the many ways they can help grow philanthropy. The Donor Advised Fund Research Collaborative’s recently-released study of donor-advised funds is full of statistics and insights about the popularity of donor-advised funds and how they help grow philanthropy.

We’ll keep you posted!


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.  

Donor Connection – February.2024

Greetings from the community foundation, and happy February!

In this month of Valentine’s Day, many fund holders at the community foundation are taking a moment to reflect on the causes they care about and the organizations in our community they love. Many people use their donor-advised fund at the community foundation to make gifts to charity to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is a bigger holiday for giving than many people realize. Americans spend $26 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts ($2 billion on pets!), including sending 145 million cards and 250 million roses.

This month, we are reflecting on the ways you can show the love for the charities you care about the most.

  • Estate planning might feel like a burden on your to do list, but it’s actually one of the best ways you can show you care. Your loved ones, and the charities you care about, will appreciate your careful planning. And you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the documents in place to carry out your wishes, well before it’s needed. The community foundation is happy to work with you and your advisors to structure a charitable giving legacy plan to achieve your goals for caring about the community you love.
  • At the community foundation, we know that every gift matters. Whether you’ve established a donor-advised fund to carry out your annual giving to many different charities, or you’ve set up an unrestricted legacy fund to support our community’s greatest needs, you’ll be making a difference. The importance of every act of charity is a good reminder as you start implementing your charitable giving plans for 2024.
  • Fund holders and legacy donors at the community foundation are often surprised to learn how the community foundation’s team is involved in estate administration when a donor leaves a bequest. Our goal is to ensure that your charitable intentions are achieved, from structuring a bequest all the way through to the dollars flowing to the causes you care about the most.

The community foundation offers so many tools and services to help you support the causes you care about. We’re honored to work with so many dedicated fund holders, and we are excited to work with so many of you who are considering establishing a fund at the community foundation to pursue your own philanthropic passions.

Thank you for your partnership in improving the quality of life for everyone in our community.

Angie Tatro, CKCF CEO


Estate planning: One of the best ways to show you care 

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Money, mortality, and family relationships. Each of those topics alone can be tough for anyone to address head on, and when you combine them, it’s no wonder so many people put off setting up or updating their estate plans. Establishing a will, trust, and beneficiary designations forces a person to confront decisions about the ultimate division of their assets, and many people think estate planning is more expensive or more of a hassle than it really is.

But, getting your affairs in order–well before you need to due to age or illness–is truly a gift to your heirs. It’s extremely stressful for surviving spouses, children, and other loved ones to be faced with the emotional stress and workload of financial disorganization and uncertainty, on top of dealing with grief. Updating your estate plan also allows you to make arrangements for gifts upon your death to your favorite charities.

Many people choose to support their favorite charities in an estate plan through a beneficiary designation. As you work with your attorney and other advisors, be sure to review the beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and retirement plans. Pay close attention to tax-deferred retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Typically, you’ll name your spouse as the primary beneficiary of these accounts to provide income following your death and to comply with legal requirements. But as you and your advisors evaluate whom to name as a secondary beneficiary of these tax-deferred accounts, don’t automatically default to naming your children or your revocable trust. You and your advisors may determine that naming a charity, such as your fund at the community foundation, is by far the most tax-efficient, streamlined way to make gifts to your favorite causes upon your death and establish a philanthropic legacy. A bequest like this avoids not only estate tax, but also income tax on the retirement plan distributions.

Please reach out to the team at the community foundation as you work with your advisors on your estate plan. We can:

  • Review the many tax benefits of naming your fund at the community foundation as a beneficiary of your IRA or other tax-deferred retirement account
  • Provide bequest language for your will or trust, properly describing your fund using the correct legal terms
  • Provide language for a beneficiary designation, again properly describing your fund using the correct legal terms
  • Work with you to update the terms of your donor-advised fund so that your wishes are carried out following your death, whether that is naming specific charities to receive distributions or naming your children as successor advisors to your fund

We’ve all heard stories about the sad consequences of someone not having an estate plan, or even having out-of-date beneficiary designations. Estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations, often turn out to represent generous acts of clear distribution and conflict avoidance. An estate plan allows you to demonstrate how much you care about the people in your life as well as your charitable passions.


Big or small, every gift matters

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Simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness have long been cornerstones of working with the community foundation to carry out charitable goals. Time and time again at the community foundation, we see how easily donors who’ve established a donor-advised or other type of fund are able to not only fulfill their big-picture charitable goals, but to act quickly to respond to critical needs in the community as they occur..

Indeed, the flexibility of working with the community foundation allows you to support the causes you love at a financial level that meets your charitable giving budget. Early in the year, many of our fund holders transfer highly-appreciated stock to their donor-advised fund, for example, at the community foundation so that they are prepared to activate their annual giving right away.

At every level of giving, philanthropy is a catalyst for improving quality of life. Indeed, anyone with a willingness to give can be a philanthropist. Whether you’re using your donor-advised fund to give $250 to a college or university, $2500 to a food bank, or $25,000 to an art museum’s endowment, you’re making a difference.

Consider that small donations from a large number of people can make a huge difference. This is especially true for responses to disasters and humanitarian tragedies. On the other end of the spectrum, very large donations to an organization can transform its ability to scale and serve a much greater population.

In so many ways, whether gifts are large or small or somewhere in between, philanthropy creates the margin of excellence that helps communities, families, and individuals thrive. The team at the community foundation is here to help you achieve satisfaction and impact with your giving at any level.


What happens when I leave a bequest to my fund at the community foundation? 

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Many donors and fund holders at the community foundation have updated their estate plans to leave a bequest to their donor-advised or other type of fund.

Some bequests take the form of a “specific bequest,” which means that the fund at the community foundation receives a specific amount of money from the donor’s probate estate or trust. For example, for a specific bequest, your advisor might include a provision in your will as follows:

I bequeath $15,000 to The Community Foundation (taxpayer ID number and/or mailing address), a tax exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), to be added to the [Name of Your Fund], a component fund of The Community Foundation, and I direct that this bequest become part of the Fund.

In these situations the community foundation will be ready to receive your bequest, typically as soon as the estate is settled.

In other situations, you may want to leave a bequest of a portion of the remainder of your estate after all specific bequests, expenses, and taxes have been paid. These types of bequests are called “residuary” bequests. The language can look something like this:

I leave all the rest and residue of my property, both real and personal, of whatever nature and wherever situated, and assets, including all real and personal property, tangible or intangible, to The Community Foundation (taxpayer ID number and/or mailing address), a tax exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), to be added to the [Name of Your Fund], a component fund of The Community Foundation, and I direct that this bequest become part of the Fund.

Because the amount of a residuary bequest cannot be determined until all of the assets in an estate have been identified and valued, and all expenses and taxes have been paid, the designated charity (in this example, your fund at the community foundation) will not receive the full amount of a residuary bequest until the estate is completely settled. Typically, however, the estate’s personal representative or trustee will make what is known as a “partial distribution” to the residuary beneficiary (or beneficiaries as the case may be), as soon as the personal representative has enough information about the assets and liabilities to confidently do so.

When you leave a residuary bequest to your fund at the community foundation, our team will be involved at various steps during the administration of your estate until final distribution. For example, the community foundation will receive regular communications about the estate related to assets, expenses, taxes, and periodic accountings. The community foundation will execute documents, such as receipts, related to distributions and other estate transactions.

The team at the community foundation looks forward to working with you and your advisors to establish bequests to fulfill your charitable legacies.


A quick note about what’s up at the IRS
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The team at the community foundation is closely tracking the IRS’s proposed regulations concerning donor-advised funds, issued in November 2023. Note that these regulations are just “proposed”; it is unclear whether and to what extent they will become final. The public comment period was recently extended, and the community foundation field as a whole is working to provide feedback to the IRS. You’ll hear from us when (and if) the proposed regulations go into effect with provisions that could impact your fund or your charitable giving.


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Donor Connection – January.2024

Happy New Year from the community foundation!

We hope your 2024 is off to a good start!

Many of you have been fund holders and fund advisors at the community foundation for years, and we are grateful. Some of you established a donor-advised fund, field-of-interest fund, scholarship fund, or unrestricted fund in 2023, and we’re so glad you did. Others of you are evaluating whether to start a fund at the community foundation in 2024. We are here to answer your questions, and we look forward to working together!

Here’s what we’re covering in this issue:

  • As you build your charitable plans for 2024, remember that you can work with the community foundation to achieve your goals for supporting favorite charities with gifts this year and also establish plans to ensure that your support for these causes continues far into the future through tax-savvy “planned giving” techniques.
  • Don’t leave your loved ones in the dark. As you compile lists of financial and personal information, be sure to include information about your donor-advised or other type of fund at the community foundation. Our team can help document your intentions.
  • The new year brings new numbers! Be sure you’re up to date on the various IRS thresholds and inflation adjustments that could impact your charitable giving and tax planning through your fund or funds at the community foundation.

As always, please reach out anytime!

Angie Tatro, CEO


Planned giving pointers

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As you’ve chatted over the years with the professionals working at your favorite nonprofits, you’ve likely heard the term “planned giving.” You may have even wondered what the term means–even if you have already structured so-called “planned gifts” to support your favorite charities!

Here are a few pointers to help break down the concept of planned giving, along with ways the community foundation can help you achieve your charitable goals.

It may help to think of “planned giving” in contrast to what’s sometimes called “current” or “annual” giving. For example, when you write a check (or, ideally, give highly-appreciated stock) to a charitable organization such as your fund at the community foundation, you’re transferring those funds right away in a relatively straightforward manner. You also may be making annual gifts to several charities, and from time to time you may also make gifts to a favorite charity’s endowment or reserve fund at the community foundation.

By contrast, a “planned gift” is more complex and forward-looking than current or annual support of your favorite charitable causes. Making structured future transfers to charity is often referred to as “planned giving” because, well, these gifts require planning. Here are examples of common “planned gifts”:

–A bequest in your will or trust allows you to name a charity, such as your fund at the community foundation, to receive a certain dollar amount, or a percentage of your estate, following your death. The team at the community foundation can work with you and your advisors to include a bequest in your estate plan using the proper bequest language.

–Beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, and especially on retirement plans, can be effective tools for making bequests. The team at the community foundation can work with you and your advisors to complete the paperwork required to properly designate your fund at the community foundation as the beneficiary of life insurance or IRA assets, including reviewing with you the many tax benefits of using retirement plans to fund your bequests.

–Setting up a charitable trust, such a charitable remainder trust, is often an effective way for you to ensure that money will flow from your estate to a charity, such as your fund at the community foundation, in a way that meets both your philanthropic intentions and your financial goals (including retaining an income stream and triggering an up-front charitable income tax deduction). A charitable gift annuity is another type of “split interest” arrangement, whereby you can retain an income stream and designate a charitable beneficiary to receive a future gift. Charitable trusts are complex, and we’re here to walk you and your advisors through the process every step of the way.

Please contact the team at the community foundation. We’d love to work with you to set up planned gifts to support your favorite causes, as well as work together to ensure that you’ll meet your charitable goals for current giving in 2024.


Providing guidance for loved ones about your charitable giving

lost.jpgWhatever their age or health status, most people are aware that they need to document important financial and personal information for loved ones, just in case the unexpected occurs. We’ve all heard stories about someone’s family member who passed away and left little, if any, information about where to find bank accounts, passwords, estate planning documents, life insurance policies, and other information. No one wants to leave their loved ones in the lurch with scant information, but it’s often hard to get motivated to write it all down in one place.

The start of a new year is an excellent time to get organized and provide your next of kin or key advisors with the information they’d need to take care of your affairs if something were to happen to you. The list of “must haves” includes the obvious: Will, trust, power of attorney, birth certificate and marriage license, titles to cars and boats, deeds to property, car keys, bank accounts, investments and advisor contact information, life insurance policies and contact information for the agent, funeral wishes, and, critically, passcodes and passwords to devices and accounts.

What might not be obvious, though, is that you also ought to leave your loved ones with information about your charitable giving, including details about favorite charities you’ve supported over the years and information about your donor-advised or other type of fund (or funds) at the community foundation. In many instances, one member of a family has managed a family’s or a couple’s donor-advised fund, for example, while others have not been as involved in the mechanics. Be sure to include your funds at the community foundation on your list of key information, and include the community foundation’s contact information. You might also like to include a copy of your donor-advised fund agreement outlining successor advisors, as well as login credentials to the community foundation’s online fund portal.

The team at the community foundation is happy to help you put together documentation about your donor-advised fund and charitable wishes to include with the information you provide to your loved ones so they are not completely lost as they navigate how to carry out your philanthropic wishes. Even better, we’re happy to work with you anytime to show your family members exactly how your donor-advised or other type of fund works so that they are involved and participating with you in your philanthropic pursuits during your lifetime.

Making it easy for you to share the joy of giving, and also helping ensure that family members have the information they need, are top priorities at the community foundation. We are honored to work with you to help make your philanthropy easy, effective, and rewarding for everyone involved.


Clean slate: Tips for charitable giving in 2024

clean slate.jpgA new year is such a great time to plan and reboot. Cliche as it may be to talk about resolutions this time of year, it’s tough to deny that January represents a clean slate for “to do” lists, goals, and your overall mindset.

As you think about your 2024 charitable giving goals and priorities, here are a few items to consider:

You may have more capacity to give to charity.

The IRS issued inflation adjustments for important thresholds such as the standard deduction, Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, annual exclusion gifts, Required Minimum Distributions, Qualified Charitable Distributions, and levels of income for each tax bracket. Talk with your advisors about how these adjustments might impact your charitable giving goals–or even create opportunities for you to do more to support your favorite causes in 2024.

You may soon get a charitable deduction even if you do not itemize.

Many eyes are on the Charitable Act, which, if passed, would allow even non-itemizers to deduct certain charitable gifts on their income tax returns. This legislation has generated strong public support; 77% of Americans are reportedly in favor of the proposed “universal” charitable deduction.

You’ll likely still receive requests to fund disaster relief efforts.

Disaster giving is likely to remain high on the fundraising radar, meaning you will likely continue to get requests for donations to support disaster-related causes. As always, please reach out to the community foundation to strategize about effective deployment of your charitable dollars to help people who need it most in the wake of disasters and humanitarian crises.

This is a good time to review your estate plan without being rushed.

The beginning of the year is an excellent time to be sure your estate plan is in order. Many people scramble at the end of the year to execute tax planning transactions, which is understandable, but this often leaves little time for a thoughtful, strategic evaluation of the various components that make up a comprehensive estate plan, including financial planning, retirement planning, tax planning, investments and wealth management, business succession planning, planning for disability, evaluating wills and trusts as children get older and needs change, and, of course, charitable planning.

Reach out to the team at the community foundation as you and your advisors evaluate the steps you’d like to take in 2024. We’re here to help ensure that you achieve your charitable giving goals in the most tax-savvy and impact-minded way possible so that you can continue to help the causes you care about the most.


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Donor Connection – Dec.2023

Hello from the community foundation!

As you gear up for the holidays and build your year-end checklist, the community foundation is here for all of your charitable giving “to do’s.” Whether you’ve been a fund holder at the community foundation for years, or you’ve just established a fund or are considering doing so, our team can help.

In this issue, we’re focusing on three topics to help enrich your experience with charitable giving.

Beyond the donor-advised fund. Many of you have established a donor-advised fund with the community foundation or are considered doing so. Donor-advised funds are terrific vehicles and there are good reasons for their popularity. What you might not know, though, is that your donor-advised fund can serve as an important hub for all of your philanthropy and pave the way for you to expand your giving strategies into issue-specific giving, family giving, and legacy giving. Learn how the community foundation can serve as your comprehensive philanthropic partner.

Structure helps family philanthropy thrive. Families don’t always get along perfectly, which is no surprise! But there’s no need for even minor family disagreements to derail well-intentioned charitable giving that allows a family to rally around favorite causes. Remember that the community foundation can serve as a sounding board, advisor, and facilitator, whether your family organizes its giving through a donor-advised fund, private foundation, or a combination of both.

Sunset is coming. Winter days are not alone on the horizon! No doubt you are hearing more every day about the scheduled sunset of the gift and estate tax lifetime exemption. Without intervening legislation, the exemption will drop back down to 2017 levels–which means it will be cut in half. That’s huge, because many more families will find themselves potentially subject to future estate tax. Charitable giving can help, though! This is a good time to talk with the team at the community foundation about how to start planning your charitable giving to reduce the potential impact of the lower exemption in 2026.

Wishing you all the best for the holidays!

Angie Tatro, CEO


Your donor-advised fund: Think “hub,” not “autopilot”

Perhaps you established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation years ago, or you set up a donor-advised fund more recently. Or maybe you are considering establishing a donor-advised fund at the community foundation this year to help you keep your giving more organized and involve your children and grandchildren in your philanthropic priorities.

Whatever the case may be in your situation, it’s a great idea to consider a few best practices for ensuring that your donor-advised fund is making the biggest difference possible for the causes you care about. Life gets busy, the months fly by, and it’s tempting to put your donor-advised fund on autopilot. But that would be a missed opportunity.

By now, you likely know that a donor-advised fund at the community foundation offers the convenience of a one-stop-shop: You make tax-deductible contributions of cash (or, ideally, appreciated stock) to the fund, and then recommend grants to your favorite charities. Make sure you’re leveraging your donor-advised fund to execute the full range of your charitable giving each year. You’ll find it so much easier to keep track over time of where you’re giving, and how much.

As the hub of your charitable giving, the community foundation certainly makes it easy for you to use your donor-advised fund for your annual giving to charities. But that’s not all. As you work closely with the community foundation, you’re likely to discover even more ways our team can support your philanthropic activities:

–We can help you establish a designated or field-of-interest fund to complement your donor-advised fund. A designated fund allows you to support a specific charity over the long term, while a field-of-interest fund focuses your support on a particular area of community need by leveraging the community foundation’s expertise. If you are over the age of 70½ and you own one or more IRAs, your designated fund or field-of-interest fund can receive Qualified Charitable Distributions up to $100,000 per year per spouse, bypassing your taxable income.

–We can work with you and your attorney to help you establish a bequest in your estate plan to support your favorite causes beyond your lifetime. Many fund holders at the community foundation name their donor-advised funds, field-of-interest funds, designated funds, or even the community foundation itself, as beneficiaries in their wills and trusts, and especially as beneficiaries of IRAs and other qualified plans because doing so delivers significant tax benefits. What’s more, the community foundation offers opportunities for our legacy donors to get together and learn from each other as a group. If you’re not involved as a legacy donor already, please reach out and we’ll fill you in!

–We can help you and your family learn more about your favorite nonprofit organizations and the issues they are addressing so that you can become more informed and effective philanthropists in our community. The community foundation team’s unparalleled, deep knowledge of local issues and organizations is a real advantage for you and your family. When you better understand the needs of the community and how your favorite nonprofits are addressing those needs, you’ll be better equipped to structure your giving so that it makes a difference in measurable ways. You’ll enjoy your charitable giving a lot more, too.

We hope you’ll consider your donor-advised fund–and your connection with the community foundation–as the hub of your philanthropy. The team at the community foundation is here to help you make the most of your donor-advised fund and related strategies so that you’re not only putting your money to work to improve the quality of life in our community, but you’re also achieving financial and philanthropic goals for your overall charitable giving.


Structured philanthropy: A process relieves the pressure

Helping families create a meaningful structure for their philanthropy has long been a hallmark service of the community foundation. That structure and the resulting discipline are increasingly important as both wealth and charitable giving more frequently span multiple generations. Indeed, spontaneous and unstructured conversations around wealth and philanthropy can be a source of family discord.

By being part of the discussion–whether formally or informally, at the table or behind the scenes–the team at the community foundation can help families resolve issues and smooth out the edges around common intra-family challenges, including communication, decision-making, and charitable giving.

Here are a few of the ways the team at the community foundation can help:

–Serving as a coach to foster thoughtful, intentional, and inclusive family conversations, even if the community foundation team member is serving simply in an “ice-breaker” role.

–Offering guidance from the position of a facilitator to assure that all voices are heard, particularly as views across generations can differ.

–Helping a family structure a series of discussions that employ a phased-in or “dimmer-switch” approach, beginning with values-centered discussions to identify common ground and progressing to systematic funding and allocation conversations and decisions.

The community foundation can work with a family under a variety of circumstances. For example:

–Some families enjoy organizing their charitable giving through both a private foundation and a donor-advised fund at the community foundation. The team at the community foundation can serve as a sounding board for grant making from both vehicles and also work with a family’s tax advisors to help optimize the role and use of each vehicle.

–Many families have found that a donor-advised fund at the community foundation meets all of their charitable giving needs, and they appreciate the community foundation taking on the administrative burden associated with tax filings and administration. In some cases, a family decides to close their private foundation altogether and transfer the assets to a donor-advised fund at the community foundation.

–Some families leverage the community foundation for the full suite of its charitable giving services, often using a donor-advised fund in much the same way they’d use a private family foundation, only with increased privacy and no need to create a separate legal entity, thanks to the community foundation’s umbrella 501(c)(3) status.

By consulting with the team at the community foundation, and leaning into the structure that’s right for them, families can help their favorite community causes—and keep the peace across generations.


Three things every philanthropist must know about the gift and estate tax sunset

The shorter days of fall and winter aren’t the only sunsets creeping up on people these days. If you’ve met with your estate planning attorney and tax advisors recently, you’re probably aware that the gift and estate tax exemption–the total amount you can leave to family and other beneficiaries during life and at death before the hefty federal gift and estate tax kicks in–is about to drop, rather precipitously.

Without legislation to prevent it, on January 1, 2026, the exemption will drop from $12,920,000 per person (that’s the 2023 exemption) to about half of that amount, depending on annual inflation increases. As the date gets closer, tax planning decisions get tougher. Make aggressive moves now to activate gifts to family members? Or hold out to see if legislation intervenes to prevent the sunset?

Understandably, some philanthropists are beginning to get concerned about what their legacy might look like when (and if) the exemption drops. Add to that uncertainty the fact that a person’s date of death is among life’s great unknowns, it’s no wonder that for the relatively few taxpayers who may be impacted by gift and estate taxes—at least for now—there’s both concern and confusion.

Here’s a quick review of the facts: 

–For 2023, the estate tax exemption is $12.92 million per individual, $25.84 million per married couple, and for 2024, the exemption rises to $13.61 million and $27.22 million, respectively, adjusted for inflation, as recently announced by the IRS.

–The IRS will issue inflation adjustments for 2025, too.

–For 2026, the exemption is scheduled to fall back to 2017 levels, adjusted for inflation, which would roughly total $7 million per person.

Here are a few strategies you might consider evaluating with your tax advisors now to advance your estate plan and your philanthropy plan:

–If you are a business owner, you could explore launching a gifting program to transfer shares of your business not only to heirs, taking advantage of the higher exemption, but also to your donor-advised or other fund at the community foundation. The objective here would be to begin intentionally reducing the value of your estate, assuming that the estate tax exemption will rise, while also executing a business transition plan that meets your overall intentions regardless of the tax laws. (As with any gift of a hard-to-value asset, securing a qualified appraisal is essential, as is timing; shares can’t be gifted to a charity if a sale is effectively already in process. The IRS watches both very closely.)

–Annual exclusion gifts ($17,000 per gifting spouse per recipient in 2023, increasing to $18,000 in 2024) to family members and other individuals are an effective way to reduce the value of a taxable estate without eating into the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. Indeed, many philanthropic individuals use the annual exclusion technique as inspiration for their charitable gifts. Gifts to charities are deductible for gift and estate tax purposes (as well as for income tax purposes) and therefore also serve to reduce the value of a taxable estate without eating into the exemption. Some philanthropists report that they like the idea of making annual exclusion gifts to each family member and then using their donor-advised fund at the community foundation to make annual exclusion-amount gifts to each of the charities they support.

–Work with your tax advisors and the team at the community foundation to run various financial scenarios to determine whether the exemption sunset will affect you and if so, to what extent. If you find yourself looking at a potentially significant taxable estate in a couple of years, consider increasing your bequests to your donor-advised or other fund at the community foundation. Amounts passing to the community foundation or other qualified charity upon your death are not subject to estate tax. This means your charitable priorities will receive 100 cents on every dollar in the taxable portion of your estate, while your family and other beneficiaries could receive 60 cents on the dollar–or even less.

As always, the team at the community foundation is here to help you navigate the opportunities and pitfalls presented by changes in the tax law. It is our pleasure to work with you and your advisors to maximize your charitable goals.


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.  

Donor Connection – November.23

It’s November, which is hard to believe.

The team at the community foundation is here to help you navigate your charitable giving priorities all year round, and especially during the giving season when we know many of you are beginning to turn your attention to tax planning and ensuring that you’ll meet your charitable goals before the end of December.We are grateful for those of you who’ve already established a fund at the community foundation, and we are also grateful for those who are considering it. We’d love to work with you. The community foundation is our region’s trusted source for all things philanthropy, and we are honored to serve you as you pursue the charitable endeavors that mean the most to you and your family.

Wishing you all the best for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Angie Tatro, CKCF CEO


Get ahead of the year-end rush

Holidays and tax planning (although very different in the ways they are celebrated!) are both year-end traditions. No doubt (?) you’ve got the holidays covered, and perhaps your advisors are already helping you make sure your tax planning is in place. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with several important year-end charitable giving techniques and deadlines so you can be prepared for conversations with your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor, as well as the team at the community foundation. We stand ready to assist!

Standard deduction reminders.

Remember that the 2023 standard deduction for single taxpayers ($13,850) and married filing jointly ($27,700) is up nearly 7% over 2022. While this increase allows for more relief from income tax for most filers, it also sets a higher bar to exceed for those who itemize deductions. Keep your household’s standard deduction amount in mind when you tally your deductible expenditures, including your gifts to charity. Reach out to the community foundation for help.

Itemization and bunching.

If your total deductions are at or under the standard deduction amount for 2023, but you and your advisors determine that your particularly high income this year means you could benefit from increased deductions, a “bunching” strategy may be a good fit for you. “Bunching” means you are “front-loading” charitable donations into the current year, knowing that you plan to make these donations in future years. By structuring a large year-end gift to your donor-advised fund at the community foundation, you could surpass the standard deduction threshold to further reduce your taxes in 2023. Then, your favorite organizations can receive support from your donor-advised fund not only this year, but also in subsequent years. This allows you to provide predictable, steady support for the causes you love. Our team can help you build a strategy!

Stock, not cash!

As you prepare for year-end giving, don’t automatically reach for the checkbook! Gifts of long-term appreciated stock to your donor-advised or other type of fund at the community foundation is always one of the most tax-savvy ways to support your favorite charitable causes because capital gains tax can be avoided. Similarly, if you are a business owner, you can work with your advisors and the community foundation team to explore how you might give shares in the business to your fund at the community foundation as a part of your overall estate plan. Not only will transfers be eligible for a charitable deduction during the year of transfer (and at fair market value if you held the shares for more than one year), but also these gifts could potentially reduce income tax burdens triggered upon a future sale of the business.

QCDs from IRAs.

As always, keep in mind that the Qualified Charitable Distribution (“QCD”) is a very smart way to support charitable causes. If you are over the age of 70 ½, you can direct up to $100,000 from your IRA to certain charities, including a field-of-interest, designated, unrestricted, or scholarship fund at the community foundation. If you’re subject to the rules for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), QCDs count toward those RMDs. That means you avoid income tax on the funds distributed to charity. Our team can work with you and your advisors to go over the rules for QCDs and evaluate whether the QCD is a good fit for you.

Fingers crossed on deduction legislation.

Keep an eye on the Charitable Act, which, if passed, would permit a deduction for charitable gifts that exceed the standard deduction. The Charitable Act proposes to restore the pandemic-era “universal charitable deduction” and raise the cap from $300 for individuals ($600 for joint filers) to approximately $4,600 for individuals ($9,200 for joint filers). This could be a game-changing incentive for your favorite charities–and for you!

Don’t miss year-end deadlines.

Please reach out to the community foundation team to find out when certain transactions must occur to be legally completed during this tax year, including checks to your fund at the community foundation which must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than December 31. Gifts of marketable securities also need to be fully transferred by December 31, so please work with your advisors to contact us in plenty of time for our team to process and receive the transfer.


Gifts of “complex” assets deliver multiple benefits

 

When you think about supporting your favorite charities or making contributions to your donor-advised or other type of fund at the community foundation, cash may be the first thing that comes to mind. It seems so easy to just write a check or donate online. (You probably don’t immediately think of artwork or other types of assets!)

Most of the time, gifts of highly-appreciated marketable securities are the most logical non-cash gift. Gifts of publicly-traded stock, for example, are easy to transfer to your donor-advised or other type of fund at the community foundation. The community foundation team can provide you or your advisor with transfer instructions to make the process simple. As is the case with a cash gift, the community foundation will provide a receipt for tax purposes, and your gift of stock will be valued at the shares’ fair market value on the date of transfer. When the community foundation sells the shares, the proceeds flow into your fund without any reduction for capital gains taxes. This is because the community foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and therefore does not pay income tax. That would not have been the case, however, if you had sold the stock first and then transferred the proceeds to your fund at the community foundation; you’d owe capital gains tax on the sale. Especially in cases where you’ve held the stock a long time and it’s gone up significantly in value since you bought it, the capital gains hit can be significant.

Cash and publicly-traded stock are not your only options for adding to your fund at the community foundation. You can also give assets such as real estate, closely-held business interests, and even artwork or other collectibles. When you give assets like this to a fund at the community foundation or other public charity, the tax treatment of these “alternative” assets is the same as gifts of marketable securities in that no capital gains tax will be levied when the charity sells the assets, and, assuming the assets are “long term” capital gains property under IRS rules, you’ll be eligible for a charitable deduction at the fair market value of the assets on the date of transfer. Gifts of assets other than cash or marketable securities are sometimes called gifts of “complex assets,” but that does not mean the process needs to be intimidating. The team at the community foundation can work with you and your advisors every step of the way.

You can also use “complex” giving techniques to achieve your estate planning and tax goals. For example, if you are over 70 ½, the community foundation can work with you and your advisors to execute a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA to a designated or field-of-interest fund. Or, we can work with you and your advisors to establish a charitable remainder trust if you’d like to retain an income stream and also get the benefit of an up-front charitable deduction.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to evaluate your portfolio with your advisors to determine whether a gift of complex assets might help you support a critical need in the community while providing key tax benefits for you and your family.

If you have questions about an asset you’re interested in contributing, please reach out to us. The community foundation is happy to help you establish a charitable giving plan and take the complexity out of giving complex assets.


Crisis giving: Avoiding pitfalls

Whether you’re motivated to respond to needs created by a conflict, accident, or natural disaster, it’s human nature to want to help—especially through financial support. All too often, a tragic event occurs and is quickly publicized through news accounts or social media. Then, the dollars start rolling into a crowdfunding site like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Fundly.

And therein lies a problem. Or a potential one, at least.

Well-intended zeal and urgency to give may not be truly aligned with the needs. Unfortunately, not all “dollar destinations” are legitimate, either in their authenticity or their declarations that a specified gift percentage will be delivered as intended. Among fraudsters’ tools are TV ads that can pop up overnight; illicit websites or URLs bearing seemingly familiar names (known as phishing); or digital money transfer recipient addresses or account names that are difficult if not impossible to verify. In some cases, donors are mistaken or confused about the deductibility of their contributions. Even the IRS is issuing warnings about crisis giving and potential fraud.

Count on the community foundation as your trusted source to authenticate grantee organizations. Our team not only knows the charitable landscape, but also we can fully vet recipient organizations for qualification and tax deductibility. The community foundation’s role is especially important and relevant in light of a recent study that revealed a growing decline in  trust in nonprofits–despite nonprofit organizations still being among the most trusted organizations (along with small businesses).

The community foundation is here to help you navigate all of the considerations that factor into making a tax-deductible gift to a legitimate organization that can truly help offer the relief you intend. Indeed, mobile devices have made it easy to act on our honest instincts. However, in an increasingly impatient, noisy, and short-attention-span world that can carry a “get ‘er done” urgency, haste often makes waste.

Please give us a call to talk through your options for crisis giving and how to make sure your dollars get to the people and places that need it most.


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Donor Connection – October.2023

Hello from the community foundation!

We hope this note finds you well. In our community and across the country, families are gearing up for a busy fourth quarter. Giving season shifts into full gear, and we look forward to working with you! Whether you’ve already established your donor-advised or other type of fund at the community foundation or are currently considering it, please reach out. We would love to help you get even more connected to the causes you care about while maximizing tax benefits at the same time.

In this issue, we’re covering topics that are on the minds of many people as the year winds down.

Retirement and charitable giving continue to be intertwined. Over the last few years, we’ve all seen retirees who’ve gone back to work, colleagues who decided to retire early, and everything in between. Because IRAs and other retirement accounts are such useful assets for charitable giving, it is important to recognize the opportunities presented for charitable giving at every stage of retirement, from contemplating retirement all the way through to permanent retirement. Learn how the community foundation has you covered!

Meeting your 2023 charitable goals does not have to be stressful. The end of the year is a well-documented season of anxiety for many people. Fortunately, working through the list of organizations you’d like to support can be a bright spot. The team at the community foundation can help you accomplish your charitable giving objectives efficiently, effectively, and joyfully, including tapping into tax benefits. Learn why waiting until the end of the year to complete your giving actually has a silver lining.

Do good, feel better. It is not your imagination! When you give to charity or do something good for others, you really do feel better. From reductions in risks for high blood pressure to sleeping better at night, learn why philanthropy is such a powerful catalyst for well-being–both your own well-being and the health and happiness of the people whose lives you are improving through gifts to your favorite nonprofits.

Thanks again for all you do. We are honored to work together and wish you the best.

–Angie Tatro, CKCF CEO


Retirement strategies: Tax benefits and beyond

At the community foundation, we regularly talk with retirement-age donors and fund holders about the tax benefits of Qualified Charitable Distributions and leaving bequests of IRAs to a donor-advised fund at the community foundation. But getting involved in philanthropy can be so much more than that for retirees and people who are gearing up (or down!) for retirement. This is particularly relevant as some retirees consider returning to work and contemplate what that means for their charitable giving and volunteering plans.

You’ve likely heard the statistic that 10,000 people in the United States are turning 65 every day. And while 65 may be the “traditional” retirement age in this country, the milestone appears to be anything but traditional nowadays. While Covid-19 did not impact retirement ages as much as some might have predicted, many of those who did retire actually now regret it. While many retirees are seeking work for financial reasons, two of the top six reasons to go back to work involve boredom or loneliness.

For people who’ve reached a theoretical retirement age, working or returning to work provides many opportunities that tie into philanthropy. For example:

–You can still contribute to your IRAs (which many people do not realize), and if there’s an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, all the better.

–You can use your extra income to fund your donor-advised fund at the community foundation, making you eligible for an income tax deduction as well as removing assets from your taxable estate.

–As you take advantage of the opportunity to get more involved with causes you care about in your free time (which has perhaps increased because children have grown), you can update your estate plan to leave additional bequests to your donor-advised fund at the community foundation to support your favorite causes after you’re gone.

–And of course, if you are 70 ½ or older, you can take advantage of the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) which allows you to direct up to $100,000 annually from your IRA to a qualified charity, and even more in future years as the $100,000 cap is indexed for inflation. Plus, if you’ve reached the age when you are required to take distributions from your IRAs, QCDs will offset those Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).

For those who’ve retired for good, remember that many of the organizations you care about could likely use your help not only financially as a donor, but also as a volunteer, board member, or community advocate.

Please reach out to the team at the community foundation. We’d love to work with you on your charitable giving plans for retirement, un-retirement, or re-retirement, as the case may be! Your seasoned professional skills and civic commitment are truly valuable to improve the quality of life in our community.


Fourth quarter jitters: Charitable giving tips to reduce your stress

You are not alone if you begin to feel a little anxious when October rolls around. Many people experience year-end stress, whether because of looming deadlines at work, tax-related estate planning cut-off dates, anticipating a busy holiday season of travel and social engagements, or simply the realization that another year is coming to a close and there’s not a lot of time left to check off items on the 2023 punch list.

To top it all off, many families do a lot of their charitable giving at year end, too. But that’s one area that does not need to be stressful. Your giving can be more easily accomplished than sending invitations, herding family members, guessing colors or sizes, and remembering who to include–or not!

Here are three tips for alleviating fourth-quarter stress and still be able to hit your charitable goals for 2023.

–Using your donor-advised fund at the community foundation makes giving very convenient. Through the foundation’s online portal, you can easily view a list of all of the organizations you’ve supported so far this year, make note of the ones you missed or want to add, and then finish the annual task.

–Your late-year timing could actually be useful for the organizations you care about, given the pronounced need for support during the gift-giving time of year, whether that’s to an organization seeking to achieve its own year-end goals or an organization that provides food or utility bill relief during the cold winter months. According to National Giving Month, 31% of charitable giving occurs in December; 12% of giving typically occurs between December 29 and 31; and 28% of nonprofits raise as much as 50% of their funding in December.

–Charitable needs are heightened during the fourth quarter because it is especially stressful for people experiencing financial challenges. For 52% of respondents surveyed in a 2023 study, money was the most cited factor that negatively affects their mental health, a level 25% higher than a year ago. The organizations supporting these people are in high gear during the fourth quarter and holiday season.

–By the end of the year, you will likely have a better idea of your financial situation, ideal target amount for charitable tax deductions, and the performance of stock in your portfolio. This will allow you to make gifts to your donor-advised fund of highly-appreciated stock, avoid capital gains, and reduce your taxable estate. And, of course, the proceeds of that stock will hit your donor-advised fund tax free, so the full amount of the sale price is available to support your charitable giving priorities.

Completing your 2023 charitable giving can reinforce philanthropy’s win-win value proposition: You can check a task off your list by supporting causes and organizations that are important to you and receive key tax benefits, and those in need will appreciate your generosity while feeling a greater sense of the season’s spirit.


Do good, feel better: Philanthropy through the lens of well-being

Philanthropy means “love of humanity”—and, according to some, “philanthropy” includes acts that benefit both the giver and the receiver. This is surprising to some people who have been taught “it’s better to give than to receive.”

Somehow we have popularized the idea that giving should “hurt.” But that is not what the research says. Consider just a few examples:

  • Research on the connection between volunteering and hypertension revealed that four hours of volunteering a week reduced the risk of high blood pressure–by 40%–in adults over 50.
  • Another study indicates that giving reduces cortisol levels.
  • Yet another study found a link between unselfishness and a lower risk of early death because “helping others” reduces stress-related mortality.
  • Research has linked doing something good for someone else to an increase in endorphins.
  • An altruistic attitude in the workplace makes you more productive and less likely to quit.
  • Doing good and being grateful helps you sleep better at night.
  • People who do just one good thing a week for someone else actually become happier over time.

When people were asked to reflect about all the ways they do good (giving to charity, volunteering, serving on boards, donating canned goods, purchasing products that support a cause, celebrating at community events, sharing with others, and so on), 92% reported that they felt better about themselves.

Even just thinking about what you’ve given others–and not only just being grateful for what you’ve received–is a huge motivator to do good things for others, over and over again.

The “do good feel good” benefits of philanthropy is just one of the many reasons that so many individuals and families work with the community foundation. If you’ve already established a donor-advised or other type of fund with the community foundation, we look forward to continuing to help you fulfill your charitable wishes to improve the lives of others. If you’ve not yet established a fund at the community foundation, we look forward to working with you to make a difference in the causes you care about.


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Donor Connection – September 2023

Hello from the community foundation!

We hope the end of summer has treated you well and that you are gearing up for the busy months ahead as 2023 begins to wind down. We have heard from many of you that charitable giving is on your minds. Certainly, philanthropy is an important topic during the latter part of any year as you and other charitably-minded individuals and families plan out the support you’d like to provide to your favorite charities. This season, charitable giving is even higher on the radar because of the recent natural disasters and the desire of so many to do whatever they can to support relief efforts.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with so many of you who are already donors and fund holders at the community foundation. For those of you who are considering establishing a donor-advised or other type of fund with the community foundation, thank you! We appreciate your consideration and look forward to meeting with you soon to put together a charitable giving plan that meets both your philanthropic goals and your goals for your financial and estate plan.

In this issue, we are covering four topics that are bubbling up in many conversations:

–Helping those affected by the Maui fires and Hurricane Idalia is a top priority for many of you. Our community foundation, as well as many community foundations across the country, are rallying support for people in need in the wake of these and other disasters. Please reach out. We can help ensure that your generous gifts are deployed in the most efficient and effective way.

–Several of you have reached out to ask about the Roth treatment of 401(k) “catch up” contributions for some workers over 50 that has appeared to be a moving target! What does this even mean for charitable giving–and for you? The net-net is that those of you who would have taken a tax hit now are getting a two-year reprieve, which could leave you with potentially hundreds of extra dollars, which you can now give to charity if you are so inclined.

–Always popular in discussions about charitable giving, retirement plans continue to be at the forefront of many donors’ plans for bequests to their donor-advised funds at the community foundation. This is a good thing; donors who leave IRAs to their kids, for example, and leave their stock to charities are missing out big time on tax benefits. Call the team at the community foundation to learn how you can be even more savvy about the way you provide for both charities and your children in your estate plan, especially now that the “stretch IRA” is no longer.

–This is the time of year when we start to get a lot of questions from donors about food insecurity, and especially about how to involve children in the charitable giving conversation. The community foundation is happy to provide tips and insights about why food insecurity is such a big deal and how even the youngest donors can get their heads around the magnitude of the issues.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for everything you do for the community we all love.

Wishing you all the best,
Angie Tatro, CKCF CEO


Disaster relief efforts and the community foundation’s collaborative role

Our hearts go out to the people of Maui—and all of Hawaii—in light of the tragic fires that occurred early in the month. By all accounts, those will take years, if not decades, to recover and rebuild from. Restoration costs are already estimated at $5.5 billion, although only time will tell just how much time and money will be needed.

As if that weren’t enough, much of the U.S. slogged through what has been called the hottest summer ever—and July as the hottest month ever—with uncomfortably high temperatures affecting land and sea even before the start of hurricane season. And then there was Tropical Storm Hilary and a simultaneous magnitude 5.1 earthquake that struck Southern California. To round out the month, Hurricane Idalia made landfall on August 30, with extensive damage reported and tens of billions of dollars of losses projected.

Fortunately, community foundations are well-suited to facilitate and manage relief funds for disasters and humanitarian tragedies, no matter where they occur. Certainly local community foundations in the areas most affected by a disaster consistently jump in immediately to establish funds to accept donations, which the community foundation then deploys rapidly and effectively to high-performing nonprofit organizations that are delivering relief where it is needed most urgently.

Even community foundations and other charitable foundations that lie outside of affected geographic areas are committed to responding quickly by launching their own fundraising efforts, either promoting the funds established by community foundations in the affected areas or their own funds created to directly support relief efforts. Indeed, disaster relief funding is frequently coordinated by community foundations, which are widely viewed as one of the very best vehicles to help donors provide financial support to relief efforts. Community foundations understand, for example, that the most immediate needs in the wake of a disaster are often for food, shelter, water, and hygiene kits. In addition, the community foundation knows which nonprofit organizations on the ground are best qualified to meet those needs.

With a deep understanding of philanthropy and charitable giving tools to effect meaningful change, the team at the community foundation is here for you. Whether your interests include disaster relief, education, the arts, social services, or other causes near and dear to your heart, the community foundation can help you fulfill your goals and intentions.


Relief from catch-up requirements: More money for charitable giving?

Legislation known as SECURE 2.0 contained a dizzying array of changes to the laws governing retirement plans. Passed at the end of 2022, SECURE 2.0 is 130 pages long; overall, its purpose is to encourage more retirement savings through vehicles like employer-sponsored 401(k) plans.

Lately, the buzz around SECURE 2.0 has been focused on a very specific provision addressing what are known as 401(k) “catch up” contributions. A “catch up” contribution allows a worker aged 50 and older to pump more money (an extra $7500 in 2023) into their 401(k) plans, beyond the usual $22,500 statutory maximum for employee deferrals.

Normally, an employee’s contributions to a 401(k) are not included in adjusted gross income for tax purposes, which is a big perk. But under the provisions of SECURE 2.0, if you are at least 50 years old and earned $145,000 or more in the previous year, these catch-up contributions would be treated like Roth IRA contributions–meaning the money used to make those contributions is after tax. Essentially, you will be paying tax on the money you use to make the catch up contributions. Depending on your tax bracket, the extra tax could possibly tally into the thousands of dollars.

But! The IRS’s recent ruling has delayed the Roth treatment provision, so that it will not become effective until 2026. This means your catch-up contributions are still “pre-tax,” at least for the next couple of years.

What is the bottom line here? If this situation applies to you–if you are over 50, earn more than $145,000 a year, and want to make catch-up contributions to your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan–you now have an extra couple of years to enjoy the tax perks of these contributions. This relief, in turn, might allow you to make larger charitable gifts than you had originally planned when you budgeted for 2023’s charitable giving.


Rethinking inherited IRAs

As you build your estate plan and consider how to provide for your adult children, keep in mind that naming children as the beneficiary of an IRA or other qualified plan probably is not something that should be automatic.

For starters, if you are charitably-minded and have other assets, such as highly-appreciated stock, to leave your children, those assets should come first. This is because your children will inherit the stock at a “stepped up” basis, meaning their capital gains tax hit upon sale will be far less. Plus, if you name a charitable organization, such as your donor-advised fund at the community foundation, as the beneficiary of your IRA, the IRA proceeds won’t be depleted by either income tax or estate tax. Your kids, on the other hand, will have to pay income tax on the proceeds of an inherited IRA.

This dynamic became even more important to consider when the law changed a few years ago, such that a child who was named as the beneficiary of a parent’s IRA, for example, could no longer count on a relatively straightforward and tax-savvy method of withdrawals called the “stretch IRA.” With the passage of the SECURE Act, that changed for many children who inherited an IRA after December 31, 2019. Instead of taking distributions over their lifetimes, affected children now need to withdraw the entire inherited IRA account within a 10-year period as calculated under the law.

If you’re evaluating options for how to handle an IRA in your estate plan, talk with your advisors and the community foundation about leaving an IRA to your donor-advised fund or other charity via a beneficiary designation. Or, if you’d still like to provide an income stream to your children following your death, in some circumstances it might be worth considering establishing a charitable remainder trust to name as the IRA beneficiary (assuming the stars align vis-a-vis children’s health, their tax brackets, projected returns, and other factors).

Importantly, if you are a child of parents who own IRAs, they will appreciate you bringing this opportunity to their attention! Your parents might not realize that their good intentions to leave their IRAs to their children could be saddled with tax burdens down the road. Encourage your parents to talk with their advisors and give the community foundation a call. We are here to help make IRAs a win for everyone–your parents, their favorite charities, and you!


Community need spotlight: Food insecurity

Though natural disasters and the resulting humanitarian needs are frequent but sporadic, the need for food in our community is an everyday constant. And with school back in session, the needs among the food insecure and food banks—often met through philanthropic generosity—are heightened.

Compounding the issue is that food inflation remained relatively high at 4.9% in July, despite being less than half of its mid-2022 11.4% rate. Typically second only in household budget importance to shelter, food’s nearly 5% year-over-year increase frustratingly occurred when prices for gasoline, natural gas, and airline fares registered double-digit declines, according to July’s Consumer Price Index figures. Digging deeper into the food price conundrum, food-at-home importance was more than double of food-away-from home. Deeper still, the prices for produce and convenience foods like cereal and bakery products led the price increases.

Together, food’s high demand and prices are straining philanthropic food dollars. This reduces funding availability for other needs, especially seasonal back-to-school clothing and supplies, and also utility relief due to the scorching summer temperatures.

Many donors and fund holders at the community foundation like to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with the need for food. Indeed, many families discuss food insecurity with their children and grandchildren as an opportunity to learn about philanthropy because it is easy for even young children to understand how important food is to well-being and what it might feel like to be without it.

Here are three insights you can consider as you talk with your family about the importance of charitable giving to support families in your community who are faced with challenges putting food on the table:

  • Approximately 49 million people—about 1 in 6 Americans—received charitable food assistance sometime in 2022.
  • During an average day in the 2021-2022 school year, 15.5 million children received a school breakfast and nearly 30 million children received a school lunch.
  • Research has documented improved academic performance in math and English language arts by students participating in Universal Free Lunch programs.

By working with the community foundation, you and your family can learn about charitable organizations in our community that are striving to help people who are facing hunger. Whether you’d like to support a local organization, or perhaps an organization in the community where you were raised or have a particular interest such as the locale of a second home, the team at the community foundation can help you make a difference through your donor-advised fund, arrangements for bequests and other planned gifts such as retirement plan beneficiary designations, a field-of-interest fund, and many other charitable giving vehicles that are designed to meet your charitable goals as well as your financial and tax goals.


This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.