Florida Weekly Column

Breathe. Give. Repeat.

Breathe. Give. Repeat.

My hope for each of you is if you are reading this column in the dwindling days of 2015 you have captured a few moments of downtime this holiday season. Maybe you are curled up sipping hot chocolate in a relaxed state of mind or just grabbing a quick moment to peruse Florida Weekly on your phone. Whatever the case may be, if you are reading this I want to remind you to breathe and to give.

As I was considering what to write about this week, my biggest goal was to convey a stress-free message. Although the holidays can provide many joyous moments and festivities, they can also create a sense that there just are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all we have planned before we ring in 2016.

Whether you are spending the remainder of the year in tropical Southwest Florida or traveling to lands far away, there is no doubt that your to-do lists are growing by the minute with last minute details and for many of you charitable giving is on that list. Throughout the holiday season we are reminded that giving is part of the fabric our lives. There are so many heartwarming stories of how lives have been changed through the care of others.

Many nonprofit organizations in our community rely on end-of -the year generosity to fuel their missions- so they are hopeful that our desire to give does not get lost on our overflowing lists.
At the Southwest Florida Community Foundation we consider ourselves your concierges of giving. With the calendar flying by we want to make this as easy as we can and help you enjoy your final 2015 acts of charitable giving.

There are so many options available to you and your professional advisors that allow you to customize your giving and enhance your tax benefits right NOW such as:

  • Donor Advised Funds – it’s what we call the “charitable checkbook,” and it takes 5 minutes to open. Get the deduction now and give whenever you like, after the rush.
  • Charitable Gift Annuity – the gift that keeps on giving, based on your age, you get income for life and the remainder is left for charity. You get a tax deduction now and ongoing payments come to you.
  • IRA Rollover – BIG NEWS! The Senate just approved the tax extenders bill and permanent extension of the IRA rollover. Retroactive to Dec. 31, 2014, the IRA rollover allows donors 70½ or older to transfer up to $100,000 directly from their IRA to charity each year. It is a tax-exempt distribution. Qualifying individuals can make charitable gifts using pre-tax IRA assets rather than taking a distribution, paying income taxes and using after-tax assets to make a charitable gift. It can be used to meet all or part of an IRA required minimum distribution.
  • Gifts of appreciated stock – the gift of the securities must be received in our office by January 31, so you may need to move quickly on this one to get the deduction this year.

The great news is it is not too late to make a plan. The Foundation team has special holiday hours – the office is open til 12 noon on December 31 with someone on call all day, online giving is always open 24/7 so make sure you contribute before the ball drops at www.floridacommunity.com. We also have a giving hot-line at 239-274-5900, a downloadable Guide to Giving at www.floridacommunity.com/guide-to-giving, and we even have a special brew of cocoa and mini marshmallows waiting for you if you come by the office to take a big stress reducing cleansing breath.
Just let us know how we can help!

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.

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