Forging a philanthropic legacy

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A personal and financial legacy that includes supporting charitable causes can be deeply satisfying and have long-term benefits for others. Achieving those results will require planning and the support of a team of experts.

Steps for philanthropic success

For those wishing to establish a financial legacy, philanthropic efforts can cement one’s wishes beyond a charitable gift. Of course, the greater the magnitude of giving, the deeper the planning and the closer scrutiny required to avoid failing to meet the benefactor’s expectations or worse.

The recipients of such support can be one or more charities or other entities, but philanthropic giving often includes a large-scale and long-term strategy. The combination of significant funding, expansive impact and long timeline results in many details to consider. Personal philanthropy is invaluable to charities, with 67% of all giving provided by individuals and an average donor-advised fund (DAF) account size of $159,019.

Identify a cause

Regardless of the amount of support planned, first seriously and patiently determine what group(s) or cause(s) you’re passionate about. A sincere commitment to an effort or issue could better translate into effective actions. This is particularly important if an individual or group of people will be expected to fulfill your philanthropic intent at some point in time.

“When contemplating a charitable gift, it is important that it is made from the heart versus for an income tax deduction. When done for personal reasons, we find that it is a financial commitment from which our clients and their family derive great personal satisfaction.”

Jill Garvey, CPA, CFP®
Senior Wealth Strategist, Huntington Private Bank ®

How much to commit?

Determining the amount of the charitable gift depends upon how much you can afford to commit without sacrificing other goals and the impact you wish to make. Your financial and tax advisors can provide guidance regarding a single donation or annual funding and the best structure and vehicle to accomplish your goals.

It’s important to note that the size of the gift is certainly central to successfully achieving the giver’s goals, but maximizing the earning potential of the funds is vital in many cases. As an example, if you wish to create a donor-advised fund to help fulfill your philanthropic objectives over a longer period of time, you will want to consider a longer-term investment objective versus leaving the funds in cash.

A great option: Donor-advised funds

A structured approach to charitable giving integrated with personal wealth planning empowers families to enhance their legacy. A donor-advised fund is one of the most widely used charitable vehicles which can be established with a community foundation, certain financial services providers, or other charitable organizations. It is easy to create and operate with low fees and few administrative burdens. Annual distributions are not required, and funds can be invested for long-term objectives. The donor receives an income tax deduction in the year of contribution to the fund. Additionally, grants can be made anonymously or publicly, depending upon the donor’s wishes.

DAF assets were $159.83 billion in 2020, a nearly 10% increase from $145.49 billion in 2019, with the number of DAF exceeding 1 million.

What are the desired results?

A benefactor’s hopes may not align with the size of the planned gift, so sometimes a desired realistic outcome should be nailed down before an amount is pledged. Nevertheless, coming to terms with what outcome(s) are likely is a must. In some case, a gift’s range may be impacted by the desired results.

Determining what is accomplished will require advisors well experienced in whatever field of endeavor is under consideration. This person or team may be the most important tool in the planning and execution of the effort.

Getting the advice you may need

The personal gratification felt when establishing a philanthropic legacy can be deep and long-lasting. A team of professionals can help better ensure your gift is used how you desire. To learn more, please contact your Huntington Private Bank team to see how we can help or find a Huntington Private Bank Office near you.

Related Content

National Philanthropic Trust. 2023. Charitable Giving Statistics. Accessed May 10, 2023.

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