2016-07-20 / Columns

The Jewish Community Foundation encourages donors to ‘think different’

Executive Director, Jewish Community Foundation

To borrow from Apple’s famous—if grammatically imperfect—brand slogan, the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. likes to work with donors who “Think Different.”

With the goals of assisting donors in creating a legacy by establishing endowment funds, and enabling donors to improve their current charitable giving by offering donor advised funds (DAFs), the JCF is here to serve as a philanthropic resource to the Southern New Jersey Jewish and secular community.

And while most non-profit organizations focus on (rightfully so) encouraging cash gifts, we here at the JCF like to remind donors that cash is NOT king when establishing funds with us.

Now, let’s “think different” about how you can combine your philanthropic interest with making non-cash donations, in order to maximize your tax benefits.

Do you own appreciated stocks, bonds, or other securities that you have held for over one year? If so, this might be your best option for kickstarting a fund. In fact, most of the non-cash donations that the JCF receives involve appreciated securities. Fortunately, now may be an ideal time to consider this option. Since March 2009, the S&P 500 Index has more than doubled. This means that you may be sitting on stocks that have appreciated greatly in value over that time, or perhaps dating back even longer. Bonus tip: Do you have a long-held stock but unsure of the basis cost? Donate it! Doing so will save you time tracking down documents and capital gains taxes.

If you were to sell an appreciated stock and donate the proceeds, you would miss out on potentially substantial tax savings. Instead, before selling the stock, contact the JCF about establishing a DAF, and you can donate your stock right to your fund here at the JCF, gain an immediate income tax deduction while avoiding capital gains taxes, and then recommend grants at any time in the future to any qualified 501(c)(3) organization. The JCF makes the process simple and straightforward and you will love the flexibility of your new DAF to assist your charitable giving efforts.

Next, let’s “think different” about your home or business.

Do you own a home (or vacation home), a closely held business, or other property that has appreciated in value? If so, donating it to the JCF could make sense if you would incur a significant capital gains tax upon selling it—thus avoiding the tax if you donate the property— and if the property is reasonably simple for the JCF to liquidate. There are certainly many more factors that go beyond this space, but if you find yourself in this scenario, please contact me well in advance of potentially selling or donating your property so we can work with your advisors to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

And here’s a third way to “think different”: Donating artwork or other collectibles.

It’s important to note that donating art or other collectibles is, frankly, not feasible in many cases, but if you own a collectible that has a high appraised value and would cause you to incur capital gains taxes if sold, it may be worth having a chat about it. There are numerous considerations that go beyond this column, but in the right situation, a donation of collectibles may benefit you as well as the community.

So, have you started to think different about your charitable giving? While cash gifts are always needed by charities, as well as to build endowments and DAFs, alternative gifting options may provide you with key tax benefits that are worth considering.

Please note that the JCF does not provide financial, legal, or tax advice, but we can work closely with you and your trusted advisors and help you think different so you get the most out of your charitable giving.


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