News
Member news plus local and national philanthropic reporting

  • December 30, 2020 10:04 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 28, 2020, by Delaware Business Times) Beebe Medical Foundation presented a gift of $20,504 to Beebe Healthcare’s Oncology Services for their Cancer Patient Special Needs Fund. Gifts were made by over 270 community members during the annual Miracle Mile event held on June 27 and continued to be made to the Foundation throughout the year.

    The fund assists individual patients who have limited financial resources and need help in covering emergent expenses such as prescriptions or copays for medications, medical supplies (e.g., wigs, mastectomy prosthesis), nutrition, essential living expenses, and transportation. Without the availability of this fund, patients would not have access to their basic needs while undergoing cancer treatments.

    “The Miracle Mile event is all about hope,” said David A. Tam, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare in a statement. “Hope for our community of cancer patients and survivors, hope for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and hope for the future as Beebe strives to provide the most advanced and compassionate care at the Tunnell Cancer Center and the new South Coastal Cancer Center near Millville.”

    For 17 years, Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center has hosted a celebration to honor cancer survivors and their caregivers with a 1 mile walk on the boardwalk. The Miracle Mile, a morning full of commemoration, music, food, and festivities, has become a staple in the community, but with the global pandemic, things looked different this year. Participants drove the Miracle Mile through Hudson Fields. The 1-mile drive was lined with messages of hope and enthusiastic supporters who cheered everyone on. The 2020 Miracle Mile was a true testament to the community’s strength, solidarity, and resilience.

  • December 28, 2020 11:41 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 23, 2020 by Delaware Business Times) - The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable arm of Sallie Mae, has made a $50,000 contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware to support programs to help students impacted by COVID-19.

    Specifically, the $50,000 grant will help provide academic support and one-on-one guidance for low-income students adapting and adjusting to virtual learning due to COVID-19. In addition, the grant will support the expansion of mentoring programs, including those designed for LGBTQ+ students.

    “Our goal to help children realize their full potential is made possible through the commitments made by our friends, mentors, and role models, and by the support of companies like Sallie Mae,” said Tom Thunstrom, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware in a statement. “With this grant, we can help ensure students in Delaware are met with opportunity, regardless of who they are or what means they have.”

    For more than 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware has partnered with adult mentors and role models to provide at-risk children, primarily from single-parent homes, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-on-one relationships that help them gain self-confidence, realize their potential, and envision happy and successful futures.

    “The pandemic underscores, perhaps now more than ever, that education is critical in the pathway to success, but it has presented significant challenges in maintaining a learning environment where students can thrive,” said Nic Jafarieh, senior vice president of Sallie Mae in a statement. “We feel a strong sense of responsibility to help remove some of those obstacles and create more access to education, and I’m confident that our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware will do just that.”

    Since 2015, The Sallie Mae Fund has awarded more than $290,000 in grants to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware’s work to connect at-promise youth with adult role models. Sallie Mae team members regularly participate in the nonprofit’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake signature fundraiser and the Clothes for Kids’ Sake program.

    For more information about Sallie Mae’s support in the community, visit salliemae.com/about/community-engagement.

  • December 21, 2020 4:25 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 21, 2020 by News.delaware.gov) - All relief grant recipients to receive 20 percent bonus; hospitality businesses will receive 50 percent bonus; $10 million for arts organizations

    Governor John Carney and the Delaware Division of Small Business on Monday announced a new round of relief funding – $26 million to support small businesses most affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

    The DE Relief Grant program – funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – has supported roughly 3,000 Delaware businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis with more than $180 million in grants.

    Also on Monday, Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of State announced $10 million in relief funding for Delaware arts organizations. The State of Delaware will provide $5 million, with another $5 million in matching contributions.

    “Small businesses continue to make sacrifices that will help get us through this crisis, and beat COVID-19. We owe them our support,” said Governor Carney. “Hope is on the way with the vaccine. But we continue to face a difficult winter. Let’s do what works. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with friends or family outside your household. Stay vigilant and we’ll get through this.”

    The additional funding announced on Monday will provide a bonus of 20 percent for all DE Relief Grant recipients. Hospitality businesses, including restaurants and bars, will receive an additional 30 percent bonus, bringing their total bonus award to 50 percent of the value of their original grant. This is the third time that a bonus award has been given to grant recipients, though this is the first award that has gone to all recipients; previous bonuses focused on particularly hard hit industries.

    Relief funding for not-for-profit arts organizations will cover 35 percent of those organizations’ 2019 operating expenses, up to $300,000.  

    “The arts are a critical sector of the Delaware economy, and one we can’t replace. Arts organizations have been very hard hit by the pandemic. This funding will help them survive through the winter,” said Governor Carney. “I want to thank Delaware’s philanthropic community, particularly Tatiana and Gerret Copeland and the Longwood Foundation, for leading the way in matching these CARES Act funds.”

    The federal government is currently discussing a new stimulus package that may lead to changes in the states assistance programs for businesses, allowing assistance to be provided into the new year. Businesses that want to stay updated on this can visit delbiz.com/relief, where any updates to the DE Relief Grant program will be announced.

  • December 21, 2020 11:48 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 18, 2020 by News.ucr.edu) - This week, more than 200 leaders from across the United States helped launch Census Legacies, a new community-building effort by the Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside with partners in philanthropy, government, and community.

    The initiative aims to build more inclusive and equitable regions, using the same messengers and coalitions that helped ensure strong community participation in the 2020 Census.

    The Dec. 15 Zoom launch event previewed a toolkit being developed by Census Legacies. The toolkit identifies four broad areas of post-Census work based on stakeholder conversations. One is in vaccine outreach and planning, deploying “trusted messengers” in community outreach on Census to combat misinformation and engender trust in communities that have been historically undercounted and underserved.

    Speakers at the national launch included representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau; philanthropy-serving organizations such as the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, United Philanthropy Forum, Minnesota Council of Foundations, Philanthropy Northwest; and regional census coalitions from the counties of Imperial, Orange, and San Diego.

    “Outreach on Census 2020 saw the most inclusive coalitions ever built,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor of public policy and director of UCR’s Center for Social Innovation. “Instead of dismantling these coalitions, we are seeing significant interest among funders, government, and community partners to continue ensuring that historically undercounted communities have an equal voice in shaping the future of our regions.”

    Ramakrishnan said he witnessed this interest as director of the Inland Empire Census Complete Count Committee, as community and government partners built close relationships and worked together in ways that were unprecedented for the region.

    Karla Lopez del Rio worked as the lead community partner specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau in Riverside County before joining the Center for Social Innovation as its associate director in September 2020.

    “What I consistently found was that it was easier to build community partnerships to work on census outreach when the community was unified and organized,” Lopez del Rio said. “In places where community organizations had built strong relationships with each other and with partners in government agencies, like school districts and various county agencies, it became much easier to get communities to participate in the census.”

    Ramakrishnan said replicating census outreach provides an opportunity to build inclusive tables that include historically undercounted communities, including communities of color, immigrants, seniors, people with disabilities, LGBT communities, and more. 

    Beyond vaccine planning, increasing civic engagement in underserved communities is at the heart of Census Legacies’ mission. The Census Legacies toolkit provides guidance on including voices of affected communities in conversations about budgets, essential services, housing, transportation, economic development, and education.

    Census coalitions may also be used to develop a pipeline of community leaders who built important skills and experiences in demographic data, understanding local needs, and building policy expertise.

    Finally, the effort is looking to get communities more actively engaged with Census Bureau products and activities in the coming decade, including the American Community Survey and various economic surveys. Partners in Census Legacies aim to preserve the documents and contact information to produce an even stronger effort for Census 2030. 

    “Many funders, government agencies, and community organizations saw the power of breaking silos and improving collaboration across sectors,” Ramakrishnan said. “Relationships and data coming from census constitute what we call ‘Community R&D,’ and we are excited to continue invigorating and strengthening community development in collaboration with various partners.”

  • December 21, 2020 10:33 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (Dec 18, 2020 by Phillytrib.com) - Wells Fargo is a Philanthropy Delaware Member. Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation announced Friday that they will transfer their programmatic activities and $100 million in charitable assets to a new Regional Foundation LLC, which will be operated as a component of the Philadelphia Foundation.

    The Regional Foundation LLC will begin operations in the coming weeks.

    “There is no better time to have a bold, robust, and inspiring public-private partnership than now given the impact particularly that the pandemic has had on communities of color,” said Aldustus Jordan, national community co-head of the Wells Fargo Social Impact and Sustainability Group.

    “This partnership will provide resources directly to neighborhoods involving residents and thought leadership partnerships with key institutions to drive impact and change in communities.

    “We’re really excited about this announcement because we know that is going to drive real impact and change in the lives of thousands of children and families,” he added.

    The charitable transfer will help continue and expand the Wells Fargo regional foundations’ original commitment to address community needs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

    Jordan said that a full transfer of assets will be made to the Philadelphia Foundation and a board will make all grant decisions.

    “With this announcement, the full transfer of assets will go over to the Philadelphia Foundation and they’ve created a new public charity LLC that will be a part of the Philly Foundation,” Jordan said. “The assets and the decisions for how the money will be allocated will be made from a community board.

    “The board will be made legally of the existing regional board that’s transferring over to this new entity,” he added. “And the board in partnership with the Philadelphia Foundation will make all the grant decisions.”

    Pedro A. Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, said in a written statement that the community foundation is “excited” about the partnership.

    “For more than a century, the Philadelphia Foundation has grown and stewarded effective and permanent philanthropic investment in our region,” Ramos said. “We’re excited to welcome the Wells Fargo Regional Foundations and to be a part of assuring that its legacy of extraordinary commitment and innovation in supporting communities continues to grow.”

    Wells Fargo and Company will provide an additional $500,000 donation to the Philadelphia Foundation to support the transition, needs and mission of the Regional Foundation LLC.

    The Wells Fargo Regional Foundations’ 47 active multi-year grants will continue without interruption. Investments currently being made by the Wells Fargo Regional CDC will also be maintained and there will be no changes to loan structures.

    The move will also not affect Wells Fargo and Company’s local philanthropy and social impact through the Wells Fargo Foundation. The Wells Fargo Foundation will also continue with its focus on housing affordability, financial health and small business growth.

    “Over the past 22 years, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundations have been proud to support some of the most forward-thinking and innovative grassroots community organizations in the Northeast United States,” said Wells Fargo Regional Foundation board chair John Thurber.

    “The funding focus will continue to embrace a resident-driven, long-term approach to neighborhood revitalization and act as a catalyst for systemic change in building stronger communities.”

  • December 21, 2020 10:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 20, 2020 by Nicholas Kulish nytimes.com) - Through a streamlined operation, Ms. Scott has given away $6 billion this year, much of it to small charities and nonprofits.

    On a Monday evening in November, Dorri McWhorter, the chief executive of the Y.W.C.A. Metropolitan Chicago, got a phone call from a representative of the billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The news was almost too good to be true: Her group would be receiving a $9 million gift.

    Between the pandemic and the recession, it had been a difficult year for the Chicago Y.W.C.A., which runs a rape crisis hotline and provides counseling to women on jobs, mortgages and other issues. Money was tight. Ms. McWhorter shed tears of joy on the call.

    Similar scenes were playing out at charities nationwide. Ms. Scott’s team recently sent out hundreds of out-of-the-blue emails to charities, notifying them of an incoming gift. Some of the messages were viewed as possible scams or landed in spam filters. Many of the gifts were the largest the charities had ever received. Ms. McWhorter was not the only recipient who cried.

    All told, Ms. Scott — whose fortune comes from shares of Amazon that she got after her divorce last year from Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder — had given more than $4 billion to 384 groups, including 59 other Y.W.C.A. chapters.

    “Women-led, Black women-led organizations tend to be at the very bottom of the pile for philanthropists,” Ms. McWhorter said. Ms. Scott “has a recognition that the organizations are doing the good work and let us be the stewards of those dollars.”

    In the course of a few months, Ms. Scott has turned traditional philanthropy on its head. Whereas multibillion foundations like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have fancy headquarters, Ms. Scott’s operation has no known address — or even website. She refers to a “team of advisers” rather than a large dedicated staff.

    By disbursing her money quickly and without much hoopla, Ms. Scott has pushed the focus away from the giver and onto the nonprofits she is trying to help. They are the types of organizations — historically Black colleges and universities, community colleges and groups that hand out food and pay off medical debts — that often fly beneath the radar of major foundations.

    “If you look at the motivations for the way women engage in philanthropy versus the ways that men engage in philanthropy, there’s much more ego involved in the man, it’s much more transactional, it’s much more status driven,” said Debra Mesch, a professor at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. “Women don’t like to splash their names on buildings, in general.”

    As she did in July when she announced donations of $1.7 billion to 116 organizations, Ms. Scott unveiled her latest round of philanthropy through a post on Medium.

    She noted that she had made “unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached.” Such strings are a mainstay of modern philanthropy: onerous grant proposals and nerve-racking site visits, followed by reports on the variety of performance benchmarks that charities are required to meet to keep the money flowing.

    “Not only are nonprofits chronically underfunded, they are also chronically diverted from their work by fund-raising and by burdensome reporting requirements that donors often place on them,” Ms. Scott wrote.

    Charitable groups applauded the unconditional nature of Ms. Scott’s gifts.

    “That mentality of trust is what we need in philanthropy,” said Katie Carter, chief executive of the Pride Foundation in Seattle, an L.G.B.T.Q.+ charity that received a $3 million donation.

    Ms. Scott has moved away from “the heavy hand of the philanthropy in steering the direction of social change,” said Benjamin Soskis, a senior research associate in the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. Many big-time donors, he said, “model themselves off of venture capitalism and take an extremely aggressive approach in terms of monitoring” the performance of grant recipients.

    Experts on philanthropy said Ms. Scott’s nearly $6 billion in gifts might be among the most ever handed out directly to charities in a single year by a living donor (as opposed to a billionaire making a huge one-time gift to a foundation to be disbursed over decades). And rather than a few targeted donations, she gave broadly to hundreds of groups.

    “She’s moved extraordinary sums out the door, quickly, in an anti-paternalistic way,” said Rob Reich, co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford.

  • December 16, 2020 9:45 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (Tuesday, December 15, 2020 by Desu.edu) DSU is a Philanthropy Delaware member.  Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who has already become one of the most significant benefactors for racial equity causes, announced today that her second cycle of charitable donations has been completed, bringing her 2020 total of giving to an unprecedented $4.158 billion to 384 nonprofit and charitable organizations, including a $20 million gift to Delaware State University. The gift marks the largest single gift ever received by Delaware State University.

    Ms. Scott, recently listed by Forbes as one of the world’s “most powerful women,” noted in her statement that in selecting the recipient organizations, she and her advisors “took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”

    Today’s recipients, culled from an initial list of 6,490 organizations, included 15 other Historically Black Colleges and Universities besides Delaware State University, and, locally, the YMCA of Delaware.

    Delaware State University President Tony Allen responded to the announcement, saying, “Ms. Scott’s gift is not only a reflection of her enormous generosity, but also a clear commitment to a more equitable and just society – one that wholly recognizes that in our country’s history we have sometimes stumbled, but focuses nonetheless on the American tradition of cooperative uplift.  The award is a force multiplier for some of the nation’s most important institutions and the great many students they have propelled forward to change the world.”  

    Allen indicated that the $20 MM is an unrestricted gift, which will be used for specific strategic investments to grow the University, extend its intellectual capital to help solve some of the global community’s most pressing problems, and enhance sustainability for generations to come.  Most notably he highlighted:

    • The recently developed Global Institute for Equity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights, an institute designed to build the capacity toward an inclusive economy;
    • The ongoing acquisition of Wesley College and the creation of an integrated College of Health and Behavioral Sciences focused on preparing the next generation of health care professionals and practitioners;
    • A healthy investment into the University’s endowment which will open up additional scholarship opportunities for students while simultaneously increasing the institution’s financial resiliency in the face of future challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Board of Trustees Chairwoman Dr. Devona Williams reflected on the significance of Ms. Scott’s gift, saying, “It is a truly transformational gift that will provide the resources to enable our fine University to continue to grow, flourish and meet its very important mission of providing the highest quality education to the most diverse student body in the nation who will become our future leaders. We are both honored and humbled to receive it.”

    The grant wraps up an historic fundraising year for the University.  Amid millions of dollars in financial loss as a result of COVID-19, the institution raised more than $32 MM from a variety of notable corporations, foundations and alumni.  Those awards have included gifts from Bank of America, Laffey-McHugh Foundation, Barclays, Testing for America, JPMorgan Chase, Delmarva Power/Exelon, and many others. 

    In announcing JPMorgan Chase’s recent $1 MM gift, Market President Tom Horne emphasized the reason that more partners than ever are being attracted to the University: “For us, the right partners are those with great vision, a shared commitment to access and excellence, and a desire to create more opportunities for their clients and customers. Delaware State University has proven to be a noteworthy institution in all three areas. And we are proud to be standing with them.”

  • December 16, 2020 11:05 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 16, 2020 by Press Release) – Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is a member of Philanthropy Delaware. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware announced today the recipients of its social determinants of health grant cycle through its donor-advised fund, BluePrints for the Community.

    The grant cycle opened in September, originally set to total $1 million, in response to the continuously growing needs that existed prior to, but have been exacerbated by, the pandemic. Highmark Delaware decided to increase funding in accordance with the volume and quality of the projects and programs it received, totaling more than $1.9 million.

    “We are not at all surprised by the excellent grant proposals we have seen through this grant cycle and we are proud to support 17 grant recipients in the tremendous work they are doing,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. “It was a difficult decision process and we applaud all the organizations that applied for their dedication to our community. They have exemplified that we are all in this together, and Highmark and BluePrints are privileged to take part.”

    Key areas of social determinants of health that were considered included economic and financial stability, access to education, transportation, health and health care, including dental/oral health, and neighborhood and environment factors.

    “Our Delaware nonprofits have again stepped up to answer the call for those in need and we couldn’t be more proud. While we weren’t able to support every proposal, we ask our colleagues to join us in congratulating the recipients and in, not just applauding the efforts of all our nonprofit friends, but in supporting them,” said Rita Landgraf, Director of University of Delaware’s Partnership for Healthy Communities and Professor of Practice and Distinguished Health & Social Services Administrator in Residence. Landgraf serves as the chair of the Blueprints for the Community Advisory Council.

    Recipients and their projects/programs include:

    1. Catholic Charities - Diocese of Wilmington will receive funding to support its Behavioral Health Services Program for low income families to address emotional, behavioral, and mental health concerns.
    2. Children and Families First DE requested funding to establish an EnVision Center site to serve residents of an identified Section 8 housing neighborhood with supports and wrap-around services.
    3. Culture Restoration Project, Inc. will use funding to transform a vacant lot into an impactful arts and culture space for the community in a high needs area called the Sankofa Healing Space.
    4. Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition will receive a grant to support breast health education, screening, navigation, and virtual programs in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.
    5. Delaware Center for Horticulture requested funding for their Neighborhood Tree Steward Program, which addresses health through green spaces and natural modifications to neighborhood environment.
    6. Family Promise of Northern New Castle County, Inc. will use grant funding to expand services for their Hospitality Center and Network which provides assistance to quickly move families into permanent housing.
    7. First State Community Action Agency requested support for their Home is Health Program to provide in-home assessment of risk factors, installation of Healthy Homes kits, and community education.
    8. Great Oaks Charter School – Wilmington will use their grant to support students and their families in New Castle County with mental and physical health services and community intervention.
    9. Jewish Family Services of Delaware’s Employment Support Network will receive funding, which will use volunteers from different professions to support unemployed individuals in response to the effect COVID-19 has had on unemployment.
    10. NCALL Research, Inc. requested funding to expand their Opioid Outreach and Restoring Central Dover Programs in order to continue current services to the residents of Central Dover and begin serving Dover Housing Authority neighborhoods.
    11. Neighborhood House, Inc. will receive support for a Wellness Coach to serve students engaged with their Learning Hubs program in the Southbridge area.
    12. Sojourners' Place was approved to receive funds in support their comprehensive Transitional Housing Program, which will provide education services, job skills and employment training to help homeless adults become self-sufficient.
    13. Survivors of Abuse in Recovery will get funding to support their Children and Teen Project to provide mental health services to teen-aged survivors of sexual abuse and assault statewide.
    14. Sussex County Habitat for Humanity requested a grant for their Home Stabilization Affordable Housing Initiative, which addressing weatherization, improves accessibility, and provides financial coaching and energy efficient solutions to lower costs for 345 low-income families.
    15. Tidal Health’s Wagner Wellness Program was approved for funding to purchase a mobile health van that will provide health screenings, multidisciplinary health services, education and outreach in low-income rural communities.
    16. United Way of Delaware, Inc. requested funding to expand the $tand By Me Program in response to COVID-19 to provide financial coaching statewide.
    17. Westside Family Healthcare was approved for funding for it Feeding Families Program to address food insecurity, expand access to fresh foods, provide routine nutrition counseling, and teach patients how to better manage their chronic disease.

    Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, along with its enterprise-wide social determinants of health (SDOH) team at Highmark Health, aims to address the confluence of medical and non-medical drivers of poor health outcomes. Enterprise efforts include Highmark’s free and anonymous online resource tool Highmark Community Support, powered by Aunt Bertha. Highmark Community Support is an online, social care network that connects people with social service resources, such as food pantries, transportation services, housing and utility needs, child care, and niche needs for populations like veterans and seniors. Highmark Community Support can be accessed at Highmark.auntbertha.com. Highmark is also a sponsor of the Gravity Project, an organization developing consensus-driven structured data standards to support use and exchange of SDOH data that can help identify and measure social barriers, strengthen continuity of care and provide important insights into the intersection between health and social care.

    About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware

    Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware serves approximately 441,000 members through the company’s health care benefits business. It is an influential company in the market generating an economic impact of $135 million and supporting more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs across the state. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmarkbcbsde.com.

    About BluePrints for the Community

    BluePrints for the Community, the donor-advised fund of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware at the Delaware Community Foundation, has contributed over $17 million to the community since its inception in 2007. It was established to serve Delawareans, with emphasis on, but not limited to, the needs of the uninsured and underserved, and to reduce health care disparities in minority population and address social determinants of health.


  • December 15, 2020 10:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 11, 2020 by Brenda Bouw Theglobalmail.com) - The holiday season is a time when Canadians turn their attention to giving back. That’s particularly the case this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has left many in need of financial support.

    In fact, financial advisors say they’ve been having more discussions with clients about charitable giving in recent weeks, and that the topic is becoming a larger part of financial and estate planning, in general.

    “Philanthropy is becoming more and more important as an overall goal when you talk about planning, especially for high-net-worth Canadians,” says Glen Brown, managing director and head of Manulife Private Wealth in Toronto. “And this time of year is when people give a lot of thought to giving. I think we are going to see more of a focus on this issue because of COVID-19.”

    Tannis Dawson, vice-president of high-net-worth and business succession planning at TD Wealth Advisory Services in Winnipeg, says she’s hearing from more clients who are either looking to give more or to give back in different ways this year.

    “With many stores not open [due to the pandemic] and people not getting together, more people are giving donations in a person’s name in lieu of gifts,” she says.

    Regardless of how or how much you give, there are ways to give back that not only make you feel good but can also be tax efficient. Here are some of the options for investors to consider:

    DONATE SECURITIES

    Many investors choose to donate investments such as stocks or investment funds directly to charities as a way to give back and avoid paying capital gains taxes.

    “Capital gains aren’t taxable if the securities are donated to a charity in-kind,” Ms. Dawson says.

    She uses the example of an investor who buys shares of a company for $8,000 and donates them when the value reaches $10,000. The investor will receive a donation tax credit for $10,000 and will not pay taxes on the capital gain of $2,000. Also, if the charity sells the stock, it will receive the $10,000 tax-free.

    Business owners can make the same transaction through their corporations, Ms. Dawson says. The difference is that the $10,000 donation will be a straight deduction from the business’s expenses. Similar to the personal donation, the $2,000 gain on the investment isn’t taxed.

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    She adds that the corporation can only deduct a donation of up to 75 per cent of its income for the year during which it’s made. Any amount above that can be carried forward for use in future years.

    Employees can also donate stock options to a charity, which are taxed and can be substantial depending on the size of the options. The key point is that they have to make the donation within 30 days of the date at which they exercise the options and in the same calendar year, Ms. Dawson says.

    “If you were going to make a charitable donation, anyway, it makes sense to do it that way to reduce the taxes,” she says.

    CREATE A FOUNDATION OR DONOR-ADVISED FUND

    Many high-net-worth families choose to set up a foundation to distribute their wealth to charities. The two main types are a private foundation and a donor-advised fund. With a private foundation, the donor can distribute grants to charities and is responsible for all of the administration. Meanwhile, with a donor-advised fund, a public foundation handles the administration and distributes the funds based on the donor’s wishes.

    The advantage of both options is that the donor receives the tax deduction immediately while distributing the funds over a longer period of time, says Kevin Burkett, portfolio manager at Burkett Asset Management Ltd. in Victoria.

    Mr. Burkett, who also operates the accounting firm Burkett & Co. Chartered Professional Accountants through which he advises clients on options to create a long-term legacy with their funds, often collaborates with the Victoria Foundation, a community foundation in British Columbia that can serve this purpose.

    He says more investors are choosing donor-advised funds, leaving the administration to someone else while keeping the more fulfilling job of choosing which charities to support.

    “Donor-advised funds can be a very efficient means of establishing an ongoing funding stream [for charities] without placing yourself under the administrative burden of registering and maintaining charitable status,” Mr. Burkett says. “It’s a great way to avoid becoming mired in complexity.”

    DONATE THROUGH INSURANCE

    A growing number of investors are also using life insurance policies as a way to donate to charities, which usually enables them to make a larger gift.

    Ms. Dawson says the most common ways to donate include assigning a charity as a beneficiary in a will, which means the estate gets the tax credit, or changing the policy beneficiary to a charity and receiving the tax credit while alive.

    In the latter example, the donor would receive a tax credit for the fair market value of the policy at the time of transfer, as well as any annual premiums paid.

    “When you pass away, the policy goes to the charity, which ends up with more money,” Ms. Dawson says.

    It’s also possible for charities to take on the premiums, but Ms. Dawson says the organization should be contacted first to ensure it’s on board with this option.

    HOW ADVISORS CAN HELP

    People interested in making larger financial donations should speak with their advisor to ensure both they and the charity are getting the most out of the gift, Mr. Burkett says.

    “Co-ordinating with different advisors can also bring a lot of benefits,” he says.

    For example, Mr. Burkett says advisors at his firm work with accounting professionals to set up donations using securities or to establish a donor-advised fund.

    Philanthropy is a growing area for advisors and a part of the wealth management process that Mr. Burkett says his team – and many of his clients – enjoy the most.

    “We love these sorts of questions. They give us an opportunity to lean into both sides of the business, bring them together and sync up the advice to the end client,” he says.

    “Clients are also expecting more from their investments … and many are driven by a wider purpose other than investment returns.”

    Mr. Brown says advisors should be including philanthropy in their wealth planning strategies with clients.

    “If you’re providing holistic planning, this is one of the areas you need to focus on,” he says. “Philanthropy is an excellent way to ensure you’re on the pulse of the family as an advisor."

  • December 14, 2020 4:13 PM | Philanthropy Delaware (Administrator)

    (December 1, 2020 by Philanthropy.com) - The uprisings that followed the killing of George Floyd brought renewed attention — and new donations — to organizations that focus on racial justice and overhauling criminal justice. Now those groups are looking to make even greater headway under the Biden administration.

    The American Civil Liberties Union is placing special emphasis on racial justice this year. Ronald Newman, the ACLU’s national political director, says securing broadband internet access for low-income residents is one issue that may actually get bipartisan support in a divided Congress. Low-income urban neighborhoods — often predominantly African American — suffer from inadequate access, just as many low-income rural neighborhoods do. Inadequate internet speeds can affect work, schooling, and obtaining critical information about the pandemic, Newman says.

    “You can see the landing space for potential bipartisan progress,” he says.

    He also hopes to see Biden take action to help close the racial wealth gap. In November, Biden said he supported canceling $10,000 worth of student debt, but progressives are pushing for the cancellation of all student debt. That would help close the racial wealth gap since Black people are far more likely than whites to be behind on student-loan payments.

    As President Trump pointed out during the debates, Biden has a mixed track record on racial and criminal justice — he supported a 1994 crime law that led to mass incarceration in the 1990s.

    “Both Biden and [Vice President-elect] Kamala Harris have things in their background that cause people who look at this work closely to question where they’re coming from,” says Ann Jacobs, executive director of the Institute for Justice and Opportunity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “They are among a large group of people who now say, ‘We got this wrong.’ They’re going to need to be pushed to do things that might not flow easily from their lips or their pens.”

    Philanthropy has played an important role in supporting advocacy that has reduced the prison population over the past decade, Jacobs says. The current fashion of supporting grassroots groups led by people of color is a positive step, she says, but foundations need to continue to support existing programs, like her institute, that serve large numbers of people — especially during this economic downturn when government contracts are being cut back. The Institute for Justice and Opportunity engages in advocacy to eliminate barriers to housing and education for former prisoners and also uses the resources of its parent, the City University of New York, to educate about 1,000 students a year who are currently or have been incarcerated.

    “We’re stronger as a large diversified community,” Jacobs says. “There needs to be some attention paid to sustaining all the components of this work long enough for the economy to bounce back.”

    Vivian Nixon, executive director of College & Community Fellowship, a New York City program that helps women recently released from prison earn college degrees, wants to see the federal government again allow prisoners to receive Pell Grants. Biden wants to reinstate Pell eligibility for formerly incarcerated people, but he has not said whether he would like to make current prisoners Pell eligible.

    Nixon acknowledges that President Trump has helped boost fundraising for groups like hers, but she thinks foundations and other donors will keep up their support during the Biden administration as they realize that additional policy and regulatory changes are possible.

    “There’s a sense of urgency that will cause people to hang in there,” she says.

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