Donor-advised funds offer simplicity


Donor-advised funds, also called charitable gift funds, have been around for a long time, but they have historically been used on a limited basis.

That’s changing, however.

Many folks, including brothers Gary, Pat and Bob Myers, find that a donor-advised fund simplifies their charitable donations, giving them better control of their money and a simplified deduction for their taxes.

The Seymour natives established a donor-advised fund that honors their parents, Francis “Pat” and Dorothy M. Myers, and the family’s dedication to helping the communities that supported the family business, Kocolene Marketing. It’s the second-oldest fund at the foundation, established in 1992.

“Kocolene receives many requests for charitable donations each year from within our local county but also outside since we market in three states,” Gary Myers said. “The guidelines established by the Community Foundation help us screen the requests and ensures the true worthy causes gain the strongest consideration. The donor-advised program is very flexible in that we can request grants be made from the fund to any qualifying charitable organization be they local or outside the county.”

Grants from the fund have benefited many organizations over the years, including the Distinguished Young Women of Jackson County, Girls Inc. of Jackson County, Boys & Girls Club of Seymour, the Seymour Police Department DARE Program and the Jackson County United Way.

More recently, Gary Myers and his wife, Janet, created the Janet L. and Gary F. Myers Charitable Fund, also a donor-advised fund. The fund, started in 2015, has approved recent grants to Peace Lutheran Church, Indiana Sheriff’s Association, Seymour Main Street, the Schneck Foundation and the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts.

Giving to others was something instilled in the Myers brothers from childhood.

“My brothers and I were always raised by both our father and our mother to share our blessings and help in ways one can to make the community better,” Gary said. “If we want a good quality of life, we cannot sit on the sidelines and hope someone else does all the work. We each need to pitch in and share our individual gifts and talents to make our community a great place to live, work and raise a family. Getting involved in some way is also rewarding personally. I’ve gained many friends and have such good memories from my days serving on local and state boards or committees.”

When compared to a private foundation, a donor advised fund administered through the foundation offers simplicity.

Consider these facts:

  • No legal or accounting fees are needed to establish the fund, although it’s always good to have a legal or financial advisor go over any proposed fund agreement.
  • The fund is not required to file an IRS 990-PF as private foundations must do.
  • Funds do not pay the 2 percent excise tax required of private foundations.
  • No required distributions. Private foundations must distribute at least 5 percent of assets each year.
  • One gift can support many charities. It all depends upon the fund advisor’s wishes in a particular year.
  • Because the Community Foundation is a public charity, donations may be deductible up to 50 percent of AGI rather than the limit of 30 percent for a private foundation.
  • Minimal cost and no recurring fees beyond an annual management fee.
  • Better timing and control of your charitable giving.
  • Gifts may be cash, mutual funds, bonds or securities that may avoid capital gains and increase the value of the gift.
  • At any time your fund may be used to establish another endowed fund at the Foundation, such as an administrative endowment that could benefit the future of the Foundation.
  • Establishing a donor advised fund is simple.

An initial irrevocable gift of at least $5,000 to the foundation can establish an endowed fund.

You name the fund and designate an advisor, which can be you or someone else you designate. This can be a great way to teach philanthropy to your children, involving them in the selection process and reviewing the impact of gifts and earnings.

The advisor makes recommendations regarding grants. All grant recipients must be valid charities, and Foundation staff will do the research and confirm this before grant checks are written. This preserves the charitable nature of the fund.

You may add to the fund at any time. Ideally the fund will continue to grow with earnings from investments.

The two donor-advised funds created by the Myers families are among 23 overall at the foundation.

Another is the Everett V. and Maria Moritz Fund, which was established in 1997 to benefit the community. In recent years, Fred Moritz has recommended grants from the fund to benefit Immanuel Lutheran Church, Seymour’s skate park, the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, Leadership Jackson County and the Community Foundation of Jackson County. For years, the Moritz family owned and operated Union Hardware in downtown Seymour.

“These organizations are important assets in our community, and helping them and others meet their needs and provide the work they offer is why the fund was created,” Fred Moritz said. “Our family wants to be of help in our community.”

With the Moritz Fund created as an endowment, the fund will offer grants to the community in perpetuity.

To learn more about establishing a donor advised fund and how they operate, give me a call at the Foundation office, 812-523-4483.

And keep in mind that there are other types of funds that might better suit your giving goals, such as community funds, field of interest funds and designated funds.

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Donor-advised funds

The Community Foundation of Jackson County administers 17 donor-advised funds. They include:

Bender Lumber Company Inc. Fund

W. Andrew and Carol Denny Fund

Tom and Harriet Conner Fund

The Hoevener Endowment Fund

Seymour Noon Lions Club Donor Advised Fund

Everett V. and Maria Moritz Fund

The Francis “Pat” and Dorothy M. Myers Fund

Jackson County Sertoma Club Endowment

Dave and Ann Windley Fund

Nick Greemann Endowment Fund

David R. Lange Memorial Fund

Crothersville Community Schools Fund

Chris Johnson Memorial Endowment

Tom and Dana Bollinger Family Endowment

Orville and May Schnitker Memorial Endowment

Janet L. and Gary F. Myers Charitable Fund

Dennis and Nancy Sterling Fund

Brownstown Fund for the Arts

Jackson County Hearing Aid Fund for School Age Children

Rust Companies Foundation

Adria Ann Waskom Memorial Fund

Aisin Chemical Indiana Charitable Fund

Immanuel United Church of Christ Community Fund


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

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