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.

The Joy of Stewardship

After taking a look at the financial state of Americans, we were moved to reflect on the biblical passage that was literally the foundation of the Stewardship Foundation—the story of the good and faithful servant in Matthew’s Parable of the Talents.

money-card-business-credit-card-50987The average American gross income is currently $71,258. That seems like good news until we realize that the average American household with a mortgage and other loans is $132,539 in debt, including an average $16,061 on credit cards.

According to IRS data for 2015, only 30% of Americans claim a charitable contribution deduction on their taxes. We might assume that some who didn’t itemize their deductions also gave, simply because Americans are generous to those less fortunate.

It’s good to remind our younger generation that they should carefully choose how they give. For example, only donations to qualified charitable organizations are deductible. If you’re not sure, we can verify this for you, or you can search for a charity on a site like Charity Navigator.

While handouts to the homeless or contributions to GoFundMe are worthy acts of charity, these are considered “personal gifts” and are not deductible. You may remember the 2015 news story about Casey Charf. While being treated in the hospital for a car accident, Casey’s doctors found she had a rare, seemingly incurable cancer requiring immediate treatment. The $50,000 she and her sister raised on GoFundMe triggered a $19,000 bill from the IRS.

When you give, keep receipts, even for cash. The same applies for payroll deductions should your employer run a charitable giving campaign. Remember too that if you receive something in exchange for your donation, whether a basket of goodies at a silent auction or a t-shirt, you have to deduct the fair market value of the incentive gift.

One of the most important charitable avenues often overlooked is giving appreciated assets. Donating property that has appreciated in value, like stock, can be highly beneficial. Call us if you want to explore how to receive a double benefit from donations of appreciated assets.

Do either our giving patterns or our own money problems, real or perceived, prevent us from remembering whose resources we’re managing? Are not our time, talents, skills, and health all tools to help us share with others, do good for others, and use them to glorify God? We exist to help others find the joy in stewardship in practical, financially beneficial ways, but also because it’s our credo and commitment to God.