Can you give to the charity of your choice?

Many people set up private foundations or donor advised funds with the assumption that they can support the charities of their choosing.  Rethink that thought, however.

  • A well known family foundation started more than 50 years ago now no longer as any family members on the foundation board.  Why?  Any current family members refuse to participate because the foundation no longer supports the causes of the founding family.
  • In the donor advised fund world, some civic based foundations are now refusing to direct contributions to churches or other religious based organizations—despite the desires of the donors to make such gifts.

In the past, a private foundation was a default option for many because they were sold on the notion that they had control of the foundation.   The fact remains that a foundation elects a board who may elect staff, who can run the foundation and determine its mission and ultimately it’s grants.

This reality can all lead to missional drift.

And while donor advised funds are great options as witnessed by their increasing popularity, it’s critical to choose a foundation that currently shares your values.  A gift to a donor advised fund is in fact a complete gift and the sponsoring organization owns the asset.  They don’t have to do what you want them to do.  So choose and study wisely the donor advised fund organization that best fits your values.

You can, in fact, make sure that you support the charities of your choice—even after you’ve passed away—but it does take planning.

For more information on wise charitable planning and how to ensure the charity of your choice feel free to contact me at whigh@servantchristian.com.  Servant Foundation is a donor advised fund organization working with givers and charities to create a culture of generosity.

William High is the President of the Servant Christian Community Foundation.

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