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Three questions can make philanthropy happen

Local professional financial advisors glean expert philanthropic advice for their clients Tuesday at the Fox Cities Environmental Learning Campus at Bubolz Nature Preserve, presented by the Community Foundation.

Philanthropy consultant and national speaker Kathryn Miree offers three questions that, asked more frequently by estate accountants and lawyers, would improve the community.

The questions concern charitable giving. Miree advocates the professional advisors ask them of every client they see for estate planning, no matter their level of wealth. Many are just waiting for guidance in how to support favorite charities after their lifetime.

The questions are:

  1. Do you have charitable organizations you support on an annual basis?
  2. Would you like to include these organizations in your estate or financial plans?
  3. If there were a way to shift tax dollars to charitable dollars, would you be interested in that?

Three dozen local professional advisors heard Miree’s message Tuesday at a presentation at the Fox Cities Environmental Learning Campus at Bubolz Nature Preserve, presented by the Community Foundation.  She says advisors frequently ask her how they can get the philanthropy conversation started. The three questions accomplish that.

“You need to ask. All of you need to ask,” Miree says.

Tax deductions are a nice plus, Miree says, but they are not the main reason people give. IRS statistics show that 89 percent of American households donate to charity, but only 30 percent itemize. The others, claiming the standard deduction, don’t have the opportunity to deduct their charitable giving.

People who support a charity with annual gifts – or serve on its board or volunteer in some other capacity – are more likely to leave an estate gift to the charity, she said.

The best way they can give, she says, is through an IRA charitable rollover, appreciated stock or property that has grown in value. The potential capital gains taxes disappear when they become a gift to a charity or charities.

For clients age 70½ or older, Miree says, “An IRA gift is a no-brainer.”

Advisors or donors who need help in learning how to make these gifts, she says, can get answers to their questions at the Community Foundation.

(Kathryn Miree also spoke to more than 100 local nonprofit leaders. Read more here.)

The Community Foundation offers professional advisors many resources for starting the conversation with their clients, spotting giving opportunities and determining what, when and how to give. We welcome the opportunity to tailor a gift or charitable fund to your clients’ interests and goals.

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