Everyday individuals receive numerous solicitations for donations and they are faced with the quandary, "How do we pick and choose which are worthy of our donations and which are not?" "Which organizations are of deep interest to us and are close to our hearts, which satisfy our desire to make the world a better place, research health concerns or field our interest in the arts?"
Like so many others, Naomi and Gerald Weiner were facing that very problem. They were receiving inquiries from over 125 different charities, most of them several times a year and donating to almost all of them. This was becoming an increasing burden rather than a philanthropic joy until Jerry came to us to ask our advice towards a solution.
After much discussion we suggested a Donor Advised Fund. With a Donor Advised Fund, the Weiners could donate a certain amount of money or stock to the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF), get an immediate income tax deduction and then leave the check writing to us. We would provide a statement for their income tax deduction and they would not have to save all those individual receipts provided by the charities. We would also provide them with quarterly statements as to the status of their fund.
Jerry came into the office armed with shoe boxes of solicitation letters and home-made charts that he had created over the years as records of their contributions. We sat together going through them one by one. As a donor-centered organization the Foundation was prepared to discuss with Naomi and Jerry and also research some of the organizations that were questionable to them. After great thought process, a list was created and as long as the gift to the organization was at least $100, and there were no goods or services in exchange for the donation, we could write the check from their newly created Donor Advised Fund. The Weiners provide for both secular and Jewish causes as do most philanthropists and the JCF could handle both. Thus the Naomi and Gerald Weiner Donor Advised Fund was established.
They saw the establishment of their DAF as a wonderful time-saver, lifting what had become a burden off their shoulders. They continue to add or take away from this list asking questions along the way about which organizations qualify and which do not. The Weiners have a great sense of satisfaction knowing that this time consuming process that can come with researching and supporting a wide-array of non-profit organizations.
Now that their current charitable giving was in order, being the philanthropists they are, the Weiners were concerned about what would happen to these charities when they are no longer around to support them with annual contributions. Jerry asked, "What about the animals and the homeless, who will help them when we are gone?" So the Weiners decided to create an endowment fund that would be funded upon their death and together we wrote a gift agreement listing exactly how the JCF would distribute these funds year after year after year when the Weiners were no longer present to provide those important instructions.
You might be thinking, how could they continue after their death to give to as many charities as in their lifetimes? Well the list was narrowed down a bit, but by giving to both the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun United Way many of these causes are taken care of as these organizations distribute to many of the causes the Weiners are supporting. Then an additional list was created for the agencies that were not under the wings of both those agencies. During the Weiners lifetime they can still make changes to their gift agreement adding or deleting a charity.
What a sense of accomplishment and relief they feel to know that they are making and will continue to make such a lasting legacy to our community and other communities that they are close to.
When the JCF asked the Weiners if we could write this story they hesitated not wishing to place the spotlight upon themselves but their closing words of permission included if it will help others then okay. That is the mantra of these wonderful individuals, if we help others it will be okay.
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