It’s still not clear what might happen with tax reform given the shifting status of the Build Back Better Act. But that doesn’t mean we can’t begin 2022 with enthusiasm for helping philanthropic individuals and families achieve their goals for improving the quality of life in Monroe County.
We’re kicking off our newsletter this year with topics that will help you more easily start conversations with your clients about their philanthropic plans by raising them within the context of their families and their businesses.
Thank you for allowing us to help you serve your clients. We are honored, and we’re sending our best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive year for you, your clients, and the community we all love.
Profits aren’t the only priority for most family businesses. Other factors, such as culture, community, charity, and values, are also important to the business. As you advise a business-owner client, consider sharing questions that might help your client create or grow an effective corporate philanthropy program within the family enterprise.
Helping your clients ask the right questions can make a big difference in the success of their corporate philanthropy programs.
Does the company have a strategy or system for prioritizing sponsorship requests, charity event invitations, and requests for donations? Is the strategy based on the owners’ values, along with employee input? What is the communication strategy for maintaining positive relations with the charities whose requests the company turns down? How are requests from employees handled? Could a corporate donor-advised fund at the community foundation help streamline administrative load?
Getting employees engaged
If the company has a community engagement program, how popular is it? For example, is there a matching gifts program and is that program being utilized as expected? Are employees eager to attend community events to sit at the company’s tables, or is it sometimes hard to fill seats? Are there opportunities for employees to volunteer together at local nonprofits? Has the company surveyed employees to learn about their favorite causes and the ways they prefer to give back (e.g., donate money, volunteer, serve on boards)?
Getting the word out
How is the company letting employees and other stakeholders know about its community commitments? Is it a priority to share civic engagement with the outside world, such as through a page on the company’s website, or is the company’s approach to stay under the radar? Do the employee handbook and recruiting materials describe community engagement opportunities for employees?
As always, the team at the community foundation is here to help you serve your family business clients by setting up a corporate donor-advised fund, assisting with a matching gifts program, creating donor-advised funds for employees, collaborating on a philanthropic component of a business sale, and much more.
You are no doubt familiar with the many benefits of giving hard-to-value assets to a charity–and especially to a client’s donor-advised fund at the community foundation. Because the community foundation is a public charity, your client is eligible for the maximum allowable tax deduction for their contributions. This is because a client typically can deduct the fair market value of the asset given to the fund, and, furthermore, when the fund sells the asset, the community foundation (as a public charity) does not pay capital gains tax. This means there is more money in the donor-advised fund to support charities than there would be if your client had sold the hard-to-value asset on their own and then contributed the proceeds to the donor-advised fund.
Individuals can take advantage of giving hard-to-value assets, and so can businesses. For example, when a business is sold, its owners may find themselves with artwork, insurance policies, or real estate on their hands, any of which can be donated to a donor-advised fund with the favorable tax treatment described above. Gifts of real estate have long been popular (although still underutilized) gifts to charity.
The greatest wealth transfer in modern history has begun,” according to a mid-2021 report in the Wall Street Journal. As of March 31, 2021, according to data collected by the Federal Reserve, Americans in their 70s and older had a total net worth reaching almost $35 trillion.
As you advise an older client, an important part of the conversation will be to determine the best charitable giving vehicles to achieve your client’s community goals, particularly evaluating the potential role of a donor-advised fund or private foundation. Increasingly, your clients are learning about their options in mainstream media and likely have a greater level of awareness about charitable giving options than ever before, especially in the wake of the recent twists and turns concerning potential tax reform.
Here are key points to keep handy for those conversations (as you pick up the phone to call the community foundation team!):
Next, consider encouraging your clients to make charitable giving part of “living large” in their golden years, especially in light of an emerging trend that some retirees are spending their money instead of giving it away.
Finally, remind your clients that the best time to set up their philanthropic plans is right now. By being proactive, your client has nothing to lose and everything to gain in ensuring that their charitable wishes are carried out.
The community foundation regularly works with advisors helping clients who wish to establish a fund to receive bequests after the clients pass away. The fund allows a client to describe charitable intentions, including naming advisors and nonprofits to receive fund distributions. The fund agreement can be modified any time before your client’s death.
The team at the community foundation is a resource and sounding board as you serve your philanthropic clients. We understand the charitable side of the equation and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.