Time For Stewardship

With recent news almost totally focused on the 2018 hurricane season and catfights between Democrats and Republicans, we’d like to share a bit of good news about the state of charitable giving and remind our friends that we are barreling toward another tax season.

laboratoryRegardless of our political distractions, we’re still a generous, big-hearted country when it comes to individual giving. It seems that we as a country are on track for a slightly higher percentage increase in 2018 than last year—a banner year for charitable giving. As individuals, we give about 70% of all charitable donations in the U.S. with the balance coming from estates, foundations, and corporations.

The passage of tax reform legislation could change the landscape of charitable giving for some households, but the majority of our clients have benefited from a booming stock market and are enthusiastic about exploring meaningful charitable giving opportunities.

Donor-Advised Funds, where donors receive an immediate tax benefit and can make suggestions about where the money goes, is the #1 rising trend. Now is the time to get in touch with us about adding to, or participating in, donor-advised funds for this tax year.

As always, let the real meaning of “stewardship” remain the driving force for your charity and reason for giving.

Families and Wealth

Advisors are who people turn to for guidance about charitable giving. A recent study from U.S. Trust and The Philanthropic Initiative found that advisors sometimes fail to put more emphasis on an individual’s or family’s experience with their wealth, and overestimate the importance of tax benefits as their motivation for giving.

Albeit the survey included not just wealth advisors, but also trust and estate attorneys, accountants, and other tax professionals, it is still notable that clients care about their advisor’s ability to discuss personal values and how these values affect their personal investment, giving, and charitable goals.

wisely-invested money growingClients want their advisor to give advice based on personal motivations for giving, a passion for a cause, the effect that their giving has on their community and a strong desire to give back.

Clients want to be connected to nonprofit organizations that share their passion, and they want to know their gifts are being used wisely. We believe that not spending time exploring a family’s experience with their wealth—and digging deep to find motivation to help nonprofits whose missions “connect” with an event or situation personally experienced—can mean missed opportunities for donors to do good in areas that are important to them.

At the Stewardship Foundation, it’s clear that we are passionate about our four tenets: respect for life, marriage being between a man and a woman, religious freedom, and rights of conscience. We believe that it’s our responsibility to care for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, and for every woman, man, and child whose life is impacted with lack of education, opportunity and freedom.

We believe in transformational giving, the kind that comes from the heart, and that changes lives in our community and in the greater world. We are firm in our commitment to knowledge about structured giving—charitable trusts, donor-advised funds, and the rest—but in practice, we believe it starts with a balanced conversation between the technical tools to reach financial goals and the personal reasons for doing so.

If you’d like to explore your family’s experience with wealth to better charter your giving, please call us at (614) 800-7985 and please share this with someone you believe might benefit from our balanced advisory services.

Are Charities in Trouble?

Retirees are consistently charitable. They are the largest group of Americans supporting the many non-profits and charities that rely donations for survival. So what happens now that the new Tax Overhaul Bill is a reality?

Retirees that used to itemize deductions used their property taxes, perhaps state income taxes, and their charitable contributions to reduce their taxable income. Now, there are two fixed levels: $12,000 for individuals; $24,000 for married couples. So the question for charities now is, will the benefit of those charitable contributions disappear? Maybe not.

It’s nothing new, but the strategic method for those 70-1/2 and older to reduce taxable income by giving their entire RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) directly to charity is still a good one. But now, you might want to give twice as much every other year if that results in an amount to write off that is larger than the standard deduction.

Let’s say you are retired but not yet 70-1/2. You don’t have a Required Minimum Distribution, but you may want to take a distribution (earmarked for a charity) in order to avoid being in a higher tax bracket. It’s a painless way to give to charity or support the causes and missions that you care about so deeply.

For certain income levels, you might want to consider a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). These funds—sort of like personal private foundations, without all the legal and accounting costs—allow contributors to donate money and take a tax deduction in the same year, then pay the money to selected charities over time. There are interesting advantages for a DAF. If you missed the 2017 cut-off, you might want to have a conversation with us to see whether either RMD or DAF plan could be to your (and your charity’s) advantage going forward.

Call us for free, no-obligation consultation or refer us to a friend you know who may need our expertise and experience.