Dan Davis column for January

Gifts, particularly planned gifts, are a substantial part of the philanthropic support received by the Community Foundation of Jackson County to fund services to the community and continue grant-making programs.

Planned gifts often involve tax and other forms of financial and estate planning activities and should involve legal and financial experts.

The foundation and its board of directors play a role in assuring that planned gifts are and remain a productive and positive aspect of our endowment building, ensuring that gifts continue to finance the long-term sustainability of grants that do so much good all across Jackson County.

Much of the earnings in the foundation’s endowments fund grants to local agencies such as the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour, Girls Inc. of Jackson County, the Jackson County Historical Society, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services and the United Way.

Earnings from other endowments fund programs through the fall grant cycle and classroom education grants.

Last year, our funds provided grants totaling more than $365,000.

The foundation and its volunteers and staff always consider the interests of our donors as the first priority in planning and accepting gifts. This includes the donor’s financial situation and philanthropic interests, as well as any tax or other legal matters discovered while planning for a gift.

We’ll never encourage folks to make a gift that is inappropriate in light of their personal or financial situation.

Information learned by any representative of the foundation about a donor or their assets or philanthropic plans always are held in strict confidence. Donors will be encouraged to notify the foundation of their planned gifts, including bequests, and all such information will be kept confidential unless written permission to release it is obtained from the donor or their legal counsel.

All planned gift agreements provided to a donor by the foundation are created by or reviewed by legal counsel. The Foundation always encourages folks planning gifts to the foundation to seek the advice of independent legal counsel before signing and entering into any agreements. It’s just good sense and provides a peace of mind — to donors, their heirs and the foundation.

A number of agreements or types of planned giving exist and can be used to help transfer wealth to charitable purposes. They include charitable remainder unitrusts, trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable gift annuities, and gifts by contracts such as life insurance in which the foundation would receive a benefit.

Donors also may choose to restrict the use of their planned gifts to any purpose consistent with the charitable purposes of the foundation and stewardship by the foundation.

Planned gifts usually are the largest and most helpful gifts the foundation receives. To express the Foundation’s gratitude for their generous support, donors can be publicly recognized by the foundation, provided donors authorize such recognition. Again, a donor’s right to privacy is paramount.

Revocable planned gifts will be formally recognized upon maturity in the same manner as other gifts, again, provided the folks making those gifts grant their approval.

If you’re thinking about your future and how to make charitable contributions through planned giving, you’re invited to call me at the Foundation.

We can help you get started and explore ways in which you can continue to make a difference in our community for years to come through your generous gifts.

Dan Davis is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, IN 47274. For information about donating to the foundation, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to [email protected].