2014-04-30 / Columns

Donor Advised Funds offer easy way to support charities

Executive Director Jewish Community Foundation

Today’s consumer is smart, savvy—and short on time. One can stop at a drive-through for an early morning coffee, shop online anytime day or night, and visit web sites offering consumer reviews on the pros and cons on anything and everything that one wishes to purchase.

Philanthropy has come a long way too, in being smart, savvy, and quick. Many charities today allow donors to go online to make fast and easy donations. Ephilanthropy is also here at the JCF. Our JCF Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are quick and easy to establish, but, better yet, they allow generous individuals to go online to make grants from their individual funds to any charitable organization for any charitable purpose.

Let’s say that “Joe Donor” makes annual contributions to his synagogue, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey’s Annual Campaign, the local animal shelter, and another six charities. He normally writes individual checks in various amounts over $100. This can be extensive record keeping for tax purposes and personal tracking. Who has that kind of time?

Instead, Joe can sign up for a JCF DAF and make these same donations online from one location—the JCF donor portal. Checks will be sent from the JCF to Joe’s favorite charities, and Joe will receive copies of the checks after they have been sent.

Donor Advised Funds are very popular today. Most major investment institutions offer these funds. The JCF DAF offers competitive fees while also offering confidential and individualized attention to our donors. Funds can be established with almost any amount and we have worked with donors to establish funds with cash, appreciated securities, real estate, and even collections of art.

Being smart and savvy, Joe also has learned that donating stock can save him from paying capital gains taxes on the appreciation. Joe established his DAF with a gift of stock he had held for several years. This saved him capital gains taxes, and Joe also received a charitable income tax deduction on the day he transferred the stock to the JCF. Now, he can make gifts from his JCF DAF at any time.

What’s more, Joe’s wife and his two married children can all have access to the DAF so that they can make gifts to their favorite charities as well. And to get his kids involved in philanthropy, he may want to open a DAF for each of them when they are at an appropriate age. He and his wife can contribute money to the funds, and his kids can award grants as they see fit. It’s a wonderful way to pass on your values.

An interesting side note: Jewish federations throughout North America have offered philanthropic funds (now more commonly referred to as charitable gift funds or DAFs) for nearly 50 years. As a reflection on the success of our Jewish federation DAFs, in 2012, over $840-million in grants were awarded from Jewish federation DAFs, according to the recent JFNA Annual Survey of Endowment Development. Our attention to detail and customer service sets us apart from many of these funds. Here at the JCF, you will always have the ability to pick up the phone and speak to me or one of our JCF staff whenever you have a question or a concern.

While e-philanthropy may be of interest to many of our JCF DAF donors, we know that many people want to have a friendly voice to speak with on the phone. I can promise you that as a JCF donor you will always have someone to speak to or you will receive a prompt call back.

To learn more about JCF DAFs, please visit our web site at www.endowmentfunds.org or contact me at (856) 673- 2521 or jklein@jfedsnj.org for a confidential discussion. .

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