Donor Advised Funds for Baby Boomers
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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.
By Carol Wolf
Baby Boomers – who are we? It would take much more than a few words to define us. We do know that Baby Boomers as a group are generous people. Americans over 65 are more likely to donate than any other age group, and on average, more than double what adults 25 – 34 give, says a new Merrill Lynch study. Whether donating money or time, it is safe to say that Baby Boomers are looking for ways to make our world a better place.
Interestingly, happiness is another benefit to philanthropy. Seventy percent of us linked generosity with happiness and well-being compared with those who did not volunteer or donate. Those who gave said they were both happier and healthier than those who did not contribute.
A popular way for Baby Boomers to give is to establish a Donor Advised Fund. You can create a fund at certain charitable organizations (including the Jewish Federation of Cleveland) or financial institutions in which you, as the donor advisor, retain privileges to make charitable grant recommendations to the charities of your choice at the time of your choice. Donor advised funds may be established with cash, securities or other property. Donations to the fund are tax deductible and, at any time, you may make a grant recommendation to a recognized 501(c) (3) public charity. As always, it is important to consult your tax or financial advisor before making decisions about whether a donor advised fund is a good option for you.
How do we communicate our values to children and grandchildren? The donor advised fund can help start this discussion. Use the fund to include all the generations in the charitable discussion, demonstrating to them your personal values and the importance of philanthropy. You may ask children to recommend grants of a certain amount each year, or gather at holiday dinners to make philanthropic choices together. Either way, the fund is a wonderful catalyst for family philanthropy.
A donor advised fund provides many benefits, including efficiency, convenience and community impact. Ultimately, donor advised fund participation will affirm and reflect our commitment to tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (improving the world) to our children and grandchildren.
Carol Wolf, CFRE is Managing Director, Planned Giving and Endowments at the Jewish Federation. Contact her at 216-593-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.