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Getting and Giving the Most from Your Assets

Getting and Giving the Most from Your Assets

When most people think about making a charitable gift, they think of giving cash. While we appreciate gifts of any kind to help support our cause, there are many ways that you can give and benefit through making a gift of other assets. Gretchen Winter and Jim Brown explain the benefits of giving to LCFS using their donor-advised fund.

As students attending the University of Chicago law school, attorneys Gretchen Winter and Jim Brown were introduced by a professor who oversaw the legal aid clinic. Married for 34 years, the couple is a great team with the heart and desire to make a difference in common.

As a former LCFS board member, Gretchen personally knows the value that the agency has for those served. "I was able to learn about many of the programs through board meetings, site visits, and conversations with the staff," Gretchen recalled. "The programs are provided with love, care, and a faith-based perspective and do so much good for the people in every community that is served - from children through seniors."

"We support organizations where we have a personal connection and can see the value and impact for the community," said Jim. "Our donor advised fund helps us support organizations like our church (St. James Lutheran in Chicago), LCFS, the Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago - which was instrumental in our personal history, and the Boy Scouts-- because our son is an Eagle Scout."

Looking for the best method to fund their charitable causes, Jim was delighted to hear about the benefits of donor-advised funds (DAF) through a co-worker. "I am the technical guy," Jim explained. "Gretchen is more of the big thinker when it comes to our charitable giving. Once I did my research, it took me all of ten minutes to determine it was a great vehicle with multiple benefits for us. I contacted our financial advisor and asked them to set up a fund," Jim remembered.

"Basically, Gretchen and I donate appreciated assets like stock to the fund and then we can make charitable gifts directly from it each year," Jim explained. "By transferring appreciated shares to the donor-advised fund, we receive a tax deduction for their market value on the day of the transfer and avoid having to pay capital gains taxes on any appreciation since we've owned them. Every year that we contribute to the fund, we are entitled to take a tax deduction. Gretchen and I have found that we're able to maximize our tax deductions through bunching our charitable gifts using our DAF, using the standard deduction in those years that we don't contribute. Additionally, we love the simplicity of the DAF. It was so easy to set up. And, our financial administrator manages the bookkeeping and administering of checks," Jim said.

Gretchen and Jim found that using their DAF has helped them make an impact through their giving. By directing funds to organizations like LCFS, they hope to make a difference in the world by helping individuals to reach their God-given potential.

"I love the quote attributed to Margaret Meade: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.'- "We can all make a difference in the world. It starts with a passion for change and a willingness to donate your time, talent, or treasure," Gretchen said thoughtfully.

"If you don't have time now, there will be a time in your life when you will have too much and you'll be ready to volunteer," said Gretchen knowingly. "If you have treasure today, it may be time to give some away. And talent should be broadly defined—I remember a wonderful LCFS staff member who enjoyed wrapping Christmas gifts and donated her time/talent for this task as an auction item at the LCFS Gala each year. Wrapping gifts is a task I don't enjoy (my presents end up in the bags or boxes they come in with a bow stuck on top) , and I'd give away my treasure until I won this item and benefitted from her much appreciated talent each year."

"We all have something to give. We can all make the world a better place by staying aware of organizations like LCFS so that when we are able and available, we know how and where to begin."

There are many advantages to making charitable gifts using a Donor Advised Fund. If you'd like to learn more please contact your financial professional or you can contact Marylyn Rodgers, VP for Advancement @ marylyn_rodgers@lcfs.org.

Other advantages of Donor Advised Funds:

Versatility. You can make gifts to the fund using cash, appreciated securities, and a variety of other assets.

Multiplicity. You can make a gift of one large asset to fund multiple charitable interests.

Privacy. You can designate our grants/gifts anonymously if you choose.

Family. You can engage your family in the journey and joy of generosity.

Legacy. You can ensure that your legacy continues by leaving instructions with those that inherit the fund to direct their giving.

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