Friday, March 14, 2014

Suddenly Donor-Advised Funds are in the news

Whoa, what's this?  There is actually a thoughtful and well-reasoned conversation underway about Donor Advised Funds.  One side, of course, wants to do away with them while the other sees them as a fundamental shift in how big ticket philanthropy gets done.  The truth must be somewhere between the two. Question is, do we have to kill Donor Advised Funds to see their role in fueling the nonprofits in our community? This is not some arcane tax ruling that only affects a few.  Coastal Community Foundation is nearly all Donor Advised Funds so this is not just news but big news to us.

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times provides some history of Donor Advised Funds, calling them a powerful force for good.  Donor Advised Funds would be phased out by Dave Camp’s (R-MI) Tax Reform Act of 2014.  It is too soon to tell if this is just political posturing or if it will be picked up in future legislation as Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) tries to outmaneuver Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) for the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee.  Also unclear is if existing Donor Advised Funds could be converted to other types of endowments or if Congress intends for billions of charitable dollars to flood the nonprofit sector over the next five years.

It is much too soon to figure out if we, and you, should be against this or for this or if this warrants just a shrug and an "I just don't know..."

But hey, Donor Advised Funds are in the news.  That itself is news.

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