Efficient Philanthropy With Donor Advised Funds
Several months ago there was an interesting story that was floating around various Atlanta area news
outlets about a challenge that was issued by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Buffet has famously
announced his intention to give away most of his wealth to charity and he has, in fact, already donated
about $8 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. So these two icons of American capitalism
challenged the wealthiest people in the country to pledge that they will eventually give away at least
half of their wealth to charitable causes.
Aside from the direct plea, the hoopla surrounding this challenge helped to shine a spotlight on the
value of charitable giving. Few people have the means to start their own charitable family foundations,
but a very viable alternative exists in the form of donor advised funds. With these funds you make a
single contribution to a third party that can be a charitable organization in its own right, a for-profit
financial services concern, or a community fund. These entities have relationships with myriad
individual charities who can receive endowments from the fund. As the name of the instrument
suggests, you as the donor advise the fund regarding how they invest and ultimately endow portions of
As the donor you can satisfy your desire to contribute to the common good efficiently, giving to as
many causes as you want via a single donation. You also gain some tax advantages as a reward for your
generosity. No capital gains taxes are levied on appreciated assets that are contributed into the fund, but
you are entitled to a tax deduction for the market value of the donation. To underscore just how
efficiently these funds are administered, 99% of every dollar contributed actually ends up in the coffers
of charitable organizations.
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and business planning resources to residents of Atlanta GA. To learn more about these free resources,
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