John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, George Gund, Bill Gates, Chuck Adler '75 and David Leszcz '83. What do these men have in common? They pay it forward – using financially advantageous ways to make sure their good fortune helps charities of their choice in perpetuity.
"Personally, I believe that donor advised funds are a terrific way to introduce philanthropy to children and grandchildren," explains Adler, when asked why he chooses this giving method. "My parents set an example for me by working hard to send six children to Catholic grade and high schools. My impetus for supporting Saint Ignatius through a donor advised fund stems from recognizing that many students come or came from Cleveland families whose parents also work hard to give them this outstanding eduction. It's important to make the school affordable for everyone."
Today, donor advised funds allow anyone with $5,000 to create a giving legacy. While these investment opportunities were created in the 1930s, they became popular in the 1990s. "Donor advised funds are like a savings account for giving," says Adler. "They also provide an easy way for taxpayers to 'prepay' their charitable donations in one tax year and 'bunch' itemized deductions into that year–a financial advantage since the 2017 tax changes." For this reason and more, the National Philanthropic Trust reports donor advised funds are now philanthropy's fastest-growing investment vehicle, with grants allocated from these funds accounting for more than 3 percent of total giving in the U.S.
"Our financial advisor brought the concept of donor advised funds to me and my wife, Alison," says Leszcz. "The Donor Advised Fund allows us to create a family legacy for giving while realizing potentially significant tax advantages. We appreciate the flexibility to direct funds to the charity or organization we choose. The process is simple - we just request funds from the Donor Advised Fund, and they direct a grant in our name to the charity of our choice."
One of the first projects the Leszcz family supported was a capital initiative to improve the Strength and Conditioning Center.
"Extracurriculars at Saint Ignatius are an integral part of the formation process," says Leszcz. "Our hope is that contributing to a state-of-the-art facility will have an impact on athletics at the school for years to come."
According to Adler and Leszcz, there are many sponsoring organizations available to manage donor advised funds. The Catholic Community Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation and Community West Foundation are the three local nonprofit options, while many investment providers offer this giving vehicle that promotes philanthropy while providing a tax advantage to the donor.
Learn more about your giving options at www.ignatius.edu/ways-to-give