I am passionate about my clients’ and my own support for numerous philanthropic organizations. Yet, I had never heard of National Philanthropy Day, so I “googled” it. There is a dedicated website explaining it is “a special day set aside during the month of November, with the purpose of recognizing the great contributions of philanthropy.” Made official thirty-five years ago by President Ronald Reagan, the day “celebrates the endless daily contributions individuals and organizations across the world make to countless causes and missions.” In a newsletter from one such organization, Abe’s Garden, the board chair noted that philanthropy “improves the life of the giver and the recipient.” This “National Day” is a great reminder of this.
It is gratifying to know that numerous clients and colleagues are quietly doing their part to help in these efforts. Heritage currently serves a number of non-profits by managing their reserved funds and endowments. We are also advising countless more individuals and their families with tax-advantageous ways to support the organizations they love. In a blog post a few years ago, I wrote about this very subject and highlighted some specific techniques our clients still use to this day. These methods can still be used as part of a sound financial plan and include:
• Making charitable gifts through required IRA distributions
• Funding donor-advised funds and/or foundations
• Creating charitable lead trusts/charitable reminder trusts
• Thoughtfully planning the timing of donations
Specific details on each of those strategies can be found in the link above but, in general, these strategies can provide benefits both to the charity and the individual. Charities can use many different types of donations to make their dollars go further, while donors can benefit from tax breaks for charitable giving. Plus, it just feels good to know you are helping a worthy cause. In fact, a study by the University of Zurich concluded that individuals who were urged to perform selfless acts of generosity were happier at the end of the experiment than those who spent money on themselves. Both groups in the study were given money, but only the experimental group was tasked with performing charitable acts. Four weeks later, the self-sacrificing group reported feeling higher levels of happiness. Indeed, charitableness can improve the lives of both giver and receiver.
Beyond financial support, Heritage employees have volunteered their time and expertise to many organizations in their local communities. Recently on another “National Day,” fellow members of our Nashville office and I celebrated National Food Bank Day by volunteering at Second Harvest. Just a few hours of volunteering gave us all a great appreciation for not only the endless daily contributions of their employees and volunteers but also of the endless needs of those they serve. In honor of National Philanthropy Day, I hope you will join me in thanking those dedicated individuals whose contributions make our communities better for all. In addition, if you are interested in learning more about ways you can financially support philanthropic efforts in the most tax-efficient way, please contact your advisor at Heritage.
Mindy Hirt is a senior vice president, wealth advisor in our Nashville office at Argent Trust of Argent Financial Group, the parent company of Heritage.