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Have your cake and eat it too: A dual approach to charitable giving



The change of seasons is often an opportunity to catch our breath and reassess. We’re done with taxes, really done with cold weather (hopefully), and feel a sense of renewal as our attention turns to gardening and other growth-oriented, warm weather pursuits. And, many of us are wondering how in the world it can already be May. Wasn’t 2022 just five minutes ago?


Soon enough, the seasons will change yet again. Just as springtime is limited, so is the time any of us has to build a legacy for our families and communities and make a difference through charitable giving. Planning–and acting–with a sense of urgency is helpful, given life’s unpredictability and the many good causes many of us want to support.

At the community foundation, we’re frequently struck by the number of fund holders and donors who enthusiastically embrace strategies for both lifetime gifts and bequests. Indeed, planning techniques for each frequently work hand in hand. We’re inspired by champions of the ”do it now” approach to charitable giving; sadly, many people never have the opportunity to watch their money in action. We’re equally inspired by the longstanding commitment to estate giving that has been a part of the culture of philanthropy in our country for decades.

So, how can you take action now to ensure that you will experience both the joy of seeing first-hand the difference you’re making, as well as the joy of knowing that you’re leaving a legacy to further the community priorities you’ve supported your whole life?


A donor-advised fund with a bequest provision, established at the community foundation, is a great solution for many donors.


Here’s how this works:


  • Donor-advised funds continue to be popular tools to help charitably-minded individuals organize their giving and support their favorite causes and, because of the community foundation’s deep knowledge of our area’s needs and the organizations addressing critical issues, a donor-advised fund established at the community foundation is an especially useful vehicle.


  • If you are a current fund holder at the community foundation, or if you are considering establishing a fund, you already know that a donor-advised fund is easy to start and easy to use.


  • You’re also likely aware of the donor-advised fund’s tax benefits, in that you are eligible for a tax deduction in the year of the gift and then you can work with the community foundation to use the funds to support your favorite 501(c)(3) organizations over the long term.


  • What you might not know, though, is that the community foundation can work with you to include provisions in your donor-advised fund document to name your children or other family members as successor advisors to make recommendations following your death and you can provide that certain organizations or causes receive a portion of the grants each year after you're gone.


  • In this way, a donor-advised fund is not only a convenient giving vehicle during your lifetime, but it is also flexible enough to accommodate your wishes for leaving a legacy after your death.


  • You can even name the community foundation itself to receive all or a portion of your donor-advised fund following your death.


  • Bequests to the community foundation help keep our institution strong to grow the philanthropy required for our area’s nonprofits to serve the community for generations to come and respond to the most critical needs at any given time–needs that are impossible to predict.

Remember, with the help of the community foundation, you can give publicly or anonymously. We can help you fulfill your giving instincts by acting as a secure, knowledgeable, and trustworthy facilitator. Our team personally knows–and regularly vets–dozens of charities every year, and we can help you navigate the options for giving.


If you are a current fund holder at the community foundation, we look forward to working with you to include bequest provisions in your existing donor-advised fund documents. If you are not yet a fund holder, we’d love to work with you to achieve your goals for lifetime giving and leaving a legacy. Please reach out anytime by emailing sacf@sturgisfoundation.org or calling or office at (269) 659-8508.


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