"Give now, don’t endow.” This catchphrase captures a growing trend in philanthropy that has charitably-inclined people focused on seeing their money make a significant impact while they are alive, rather than leaving behind a private foundation or creating an endowment that won’t begin to create change until after they are gone. Susan Peterson, Seattle Foundation’s Director of Gift Planning, wrote a feature article on this trend in the March 10 special Estate Planning issue of Puget Sound Business Journal.
Peterson explains that today’s philanthropists want to apply the same acumen and business skills that they used to earn their wealth to the work of distributing their wealth. At Seattle Foundation, we often hear that donors also want to personally engage in philanthropy with spouses, children, and grandchildren as a means to strengthen family ties, pass on the family’s key values and build a tradition of giving.
One strategy that links lifetime giving, family involvement and potential tax benefits are a Community Philanthropy Fund at Seattle Foundation. Donors contribute cash or appreciated assets to the fund, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. This allows you to support the causes you care about through lifetime giving and continue your philanthropic legacy after death, leaving the remainder of the fund to your favorite organizations as either a one-time gift or an endowment. Alternatively, you can extend your philanthropy through children or grandchildren by naming them successor advisors on your donor advised fund. The fund can be as prescriptive or unrestricted as you desire, but it is critical that your intentions are fully documented.
Learn more from the Seattle Foundation.