Engaging kids in philanthropy

December 23, 2014

by Julianne Buck

Executive Director


Is it okay if I write a mellow column this month?? It’s the time of year when I come to the office to rest. With all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the office is the one place where it’s quiet and peaceful….this week at least!


First let’s follow-up on our November philanthropy experiment: Did you give the kids and/or grandkids money at Thanksgiving to give away by Christmas? Have you had that wrap-up conversation yet? What charities did they choose? Why? What do your kids care about? Hunger? Animals? Clean water? Making sure others have food and gifts for Christmas?


If you missed it at Thanksgiving, you can still try it – it’s your family, after all. Maybe give them money at Christmas to give away and then gather them at a family dinner in January or February to talk about their charity choices. Or save it until Easter. Or the summer family reunion. Charity and philanthropy can be a year-round conversation. When you take action is up to you!


The real question is: Did they enjoy giving??? If so, how do you keep that spirit alive and growing?


I know one couple who holds back birthday gifts until the child/grandchild gives a gift to charity – with Grandma and Grandpa’s money. Do for others before you receive for yourself. That’s a good habit to adopt!


To keep the spirit growing in your family, please consider setting up a fund here at the Community Foundation. A donor advised fund helps your family build and leave a legacy.


To set one up, make a gift of cash or appreciated stock to the Community Foundation of Grundy County. You get the immediate tax deduction and then you and your family make grants from it over time and at your convenience.


Donors can name their fund, which helps build a family legacy. They can also designate children and grandchildren to make grants from the fund after their passing. And if the fund is endowed, the fund will live forever, giving multiple generations the opportunity to make grants from it – without giving away their own assets.


And don’t worry about having family spread across the United States. You can grant from your fund to any US-based charity, even if they do international work. If your grandkids live in another state and have a favorite charity in their town, you can make grants to it!


A donor advised fund works for families of all ranges of wealth and assets. A non-endowed fund can be set up with a minimum of $10,000; an endowed fund has no minimum amount to start. You can fund a donor advised fund with one large charitable gift or start small and add to it at any time. You can even make your fund the beneficiary of insurance policies and other estate assets.


Has your family had a year with unusually high income? Maybe you sold a property or company or earned record profits. Offset those taxes with a gift to charity – and a donor advised fund fits that definition. Give to Uncle Sam or give to charity!


For wealthier families, donor advised funds are great alternatives to private family foundations. We do all of the annual administration and the fund eliminates the need for your family to file mountains of paperwork with the IRS and meet the annual grantmaking minimums. Naming rights to the fund assure that your family gets the credit…and we do all the work!


If the end of the tax year has crept up on you, you can still make something happen. We are open on New Year’s Eve and can quickly set up a new fund for you. If you are interested, please contact us for a “New Fund Questions” form to review, ponder, and complete. Then either write a check or transfer your appreciated stock to our account at Grundy Investments. We will prepare a Fund Establishing Document for your signature – and that’s it!


We can also forward these forms and documents to your attorney, accountant, or professional advisor. We are happy to answer any questions that any of you have. Please feel free to contact us at 815-941-0852 or [email protected]


From all of us to all of you: Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!