How can I start the discussion of charitable giving without recommending a charity? Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: your local community foundation. A community foundation is a single, trusted vehicle your clients can use to address the issues they care about most while gaining maximum tax benefit under state and federal law. We offer a variety of flexible, giving options, including the ability to set up a charitable fund in your client’s name.
When meeting with your clients, you can learn their charitable intentions with questions such as:
- Have you ever thought about what kind of personal legacy you want to leave?
- What principles have guided the way you’ve lived your life? Raised your family? Run your business?
- Do you currently volunteer at or financially support any charitable organizations, such as a house of worship, your alma mater, or a local arts association, social service agency, or civic group?
- Are you interested in supporting such organizations after your death?
From these questions, you can suggest options for charitable giving. LACF can work with you and your client to recommend the best charitable solution.
Typical client discussion scenarios could be:
- Year-end tax planning
Your client just earned a large bonus and wants to give a portion back to the community, but has no time to decide on the most deserving charities. Recommend establishing a Donor-Advised Fund through their community foundation for an immediate tax deduction, and the ability to stay involved in recommending uses for the gift for years to come.
- Qualified charitable distribution from IRA
Individuals 70 1/2 and older can roll over up to $100,000 from an individual retirement account (IRA) directly to a qualifying charity without recognizing the assets transferred to the qualifying charity as income. Giving to charity in this way can reduce adjusted gross income and provide other tax benefits. Note that this can be donated directly to a charity, such as Los Altos Community Foundation, but not directed to a new or existing Donor-Advised Fund. More info
- Sale or disposition of highly appreciated stock
Your client has appreciated stock and wants to use a portion of the gains for charitable giving, but the identified charities are too small to accept direct stock gifts. Suggest establishing a Donor-Advised Fund at LACF with a gift of appreciated stock. Your client receives a tax deduction on the full market value while avoiding the capital gains tax that would otherwise arise from the sale of the stock.
- Preserving an estate
Estate planning identifies significant taxes going to the IRS, but your client wants to direct dollars for local benefit. LACF can work with you and your client to reduce his/her taxable estate through a charitable bequest or other planned gift. Your client’s gift will create a legacy of caring in the community that stays true to his/her charitable intent forever.
- Retiring in comfort
Your client is concerned about running out of money during his/her lifetime but has always been charitable. Recommend establishing a life income gift (such as a charitable remainder trust) at the Community Foundation that pays income potentially for life. Upon your client’s death, the gift can be distributed by the Community Foundation in accordance with his/her charitable interests.
- Establishing a private foundation
Your client is thinking about establishing a private foundation. That may be the best solution for them, but suggest what could be a simpler, more cost-efficient alternative: a Donor-Advised Fund at LACF.
- Closely held stock
Your client’s personal net worth is primarily tied up in a closely held company, but it’s important for him/her to give back to the community. Recommend establishing a Donor-Advised Fund or planned gift; your client is eligible for a tax deduction measured by the fair market value of the appreciated stock.
- Sale of a business
Your client owns highly appreciated stock in a company that is about to be acquired. LACF can work with you to suggest several ways to structure a charitable gift (including the use of planned giving techniques) to help your client reduce capital gains tax and maximize impact on the community.
- Strategic giving
Your client is passionate about helping to meet a specific community need and wants to make a meaningful gift. You and your client can work with our grantmaking experts to understand community needs and programs and then direct gift dollars to make the greatest impact.
- Substantial IRA/401(k) assets
Your client wants to leave his/her estate to community and family and has substantial assets in retirement accounts. The community foundation can help you and your client evaluate the most beneficial asset distribution to minimize taxes, giving more to his/her heirs and preserving charitable intent.
Do you have clients that have included bequests to the Los Altos Community Foundation (“LACF”) in their estate planning?
If so, they may be unaware that they are missing out on the benefits of being part of LACF’s Legacy Circle. Legacy Circle members also inspire others in the community to leave planned gifts to benefit our community in future generations. You can send this letter to these clients so they can learn the benefits of notifying LACF of their planned gift.