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.

Bethesda Healing

Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep [Gate] a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. For [from time to time] an Angel of the Lord would come down into the pool; and the water was stirred up, so the first one to get in [after the stirring of the water] was healed of whatever disease afflicted him. (John 5:2-4)

healingBethesda Healing Ministry on Dover Road in Columbus is a Catholic Christian ministry that for 22 years has served men and women suffering the effects of abortion in the spirit of the biblical Bethesda. The Stewardship Foundation has supported the ministry financially for several years, and is blessed for having done so. In April, we attended their Annual Event Dinner where the ministry hoped to raise $150,000 to fund their vision to extend “the arms of outreach” in Ohio. Up to now, the ministry has been run strictly by volunteers at no pay but now foundress Judy Schlueter feels they need to fill new leadership and staffing positions and broaden their reach so that more suffering people can experience healing.

We encourage you to visit their new website. You will be moved and inspired with their work and the real life stories told by women who chose abortion and have now experienced the healing power of God’s love.

Forward this blog to anyone you know who may need God’s healing love from depression, self-hatred, or trauma due to a choice made in secret or at a time of great confusion.

Forward this blog as well to anyone you know who may may be seeking investment advice from professionals who are principled and committed to Christian stewardship.

New Partner Program Introduced

We journeyed to St. Louis in early April to present our new Partner Program to attendees of the Heartbeat International annual conference. We were blessed to share our ideas with 53 souls eager to learn how to cultivate major donors willing to maximize their charitable gifts.

As our attendees learned, it’s non-cash gifts that sustain and transform the mission of a pregnancy help center. For donors, these gifts last well beyond the year they are gifted. Beneficial tax laws for major donors have been around for decades, but employees and volunteers in small centers lack the skills to cultivate large gifts.

Non-cash assets usually comprise 80-90% of a donor’s wealth. Letting this resource go untapped is common, considering that it takes advanced estate planning techniques. Rarely do non-profits have those capabilities in-house.

In our workshop, we explained that because we are a 501(c)(3) public foundation, we can meet with families who have private foundations to explain how they can quietly and anonymously give to a pregnancy help center. We demonstrated to those tasked with donor development to ask specific questions of their cash donors in order to generate an interest in using their assets today to avoid taxation later. We explained how certain charitable planning tools can provide residual income for donors during their life time, a more secure inheritance for their heirs, or form the basis of a family legacy.

An integral cog in our Partner Program wheelhouse is our financial investment partner. Our parter understands our vision and mission and adheres to our strict pro-life, pro-family, anti-pornography investment policy. They offer investment portfolios that are 95-100% supportive of pro-life causes and that avoid investments at odds with the fundamental Christian faith on which we built our Foundation.

Those who attended our workshop were pleased with our approach to partnering. For example, we don’t change current fundraising procedures; we add a bold new layer of morally responsible investing rarely seen in the philanthropic world. We work with donors’ existing financial professionals as long as our values are respected and implemented. Our modest fees respect the slim operating budgets of our partners.

Knowing that we work on behalf of the director, staff, and board members, and alongside current outside advisors and professionals provides an important level of comfort. Our program provides training workshops, donor motivation seminars, webinars, and other education and hands-on participation to make non-cash major gifts a reality. If you have questions about our Partner Program, contact Executive Director, Jim Kebe: 614-582-5056,