Formalizing Philanthropy


Winston Churchill is widely quoted as saying “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Leaving a legacy through philanthropy is a noble objective of many leaders, families and corporations. Philanthropy may be used for teaching the next generation about family values, for tax deductions, or to support a cause or organization that has special meaning to the donor. In any case, there comes a time to consider formalizing philanthropy through a major gift to a public charity, establishing a private foundation, opening a donor advised fund or selecting another charitable planned giving vehicle. Typically a donor will need to consider several questions before deciding what option is best.

  • What tax deduction limits against AGI are needed?
  • How much time do you have to commit to the administrative responsibilities?
  • Do you wish to hire staff members to pursue a charitable mission?
  • Do you anticipate making grants to individuals, such as in a scholarship fund?
  • Do you want to maintain control over investment management?
  • How important is anonymity in your grant making?
  • What is the long-term legacy you wish to leave? How will you involve the next generation?

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