Q. Why don't charitable vehicles like to drive? A. They prefer to stay parked and thrive.

Charitable vehicles. I’m not talking about donating old cars or trucks to charity. I’m talking about the kinds of charitable vehicles that can help you donate to charity and potentially save money on your taxes. Just like cars, there are a wide variety of makes and models of charitable vehicles to choose from, each with its own unique features and benefits. Choosing the right one depends on your personal circumstances, financial goals, and philanthropic interests, but here is a short list of popular options.

Donor Advised Funds (DAFs): These funds are like having your own personal charitable savings accounts. Donors contribute to their fund, enjoy tax benefits for the contribution, and can recommend grants to their favorite charities and causes over time.

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Charitable Trusts: These are legal arrangements that allow individuals to set aside their present and future assets for charitable purposes while retaining both a current income stream and other benefits. There are different types of charitable trusts, including charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts.

Private Family Foundations: Private Foundations are independent legal entities usually set up by an individual family to support their charitable activities. This vehicle offers donors a great deal of administrative responsibility and control over how their charitable dollars are distributed.

Scholarship Funds: These funds are often created in memory or honor of a loved one. Donors who are passionate about education have the opportunity to design their own eligibility criteria and requirements and choose how much they want to participate in the student selection process.

Beneficiary Designations: You can easily make any eligible nonprofit a beneficiary of your IRA by simply updating your beneficiary form. You can name your favorite charitable organization or even your DAF to receive a specific percentage of your retirement account. Retirement funds given to your heirs will be taxed as ordinary income, which is why these types of assets are some of the best to donate to charity.


Bequests: Specific language can easily be added to will or trust documents instructing a gift to charity from your estate upon death. Bequests are one of the easiest ways to leave a legacy. And bequests can be made to one or several entities, specified by a specific dollar amount or percentage of the donor's estate.

Once you have decided on the right vehicle for you, you need to find it a new home where it can be kept safe and secure. There are lots of options out there for you, and you should consult with your professional financial advisor or attorney to find the best parking spot for your charitable plan. Just remember that your local community foundation is here for you with a knowledgeable staff that is ready to provide professional guidance, administrative support, investment management, and more. We are dedicated to helping your charitable vehicle operate smoothly and efficiently, supporting your philanthropic efforts for generations to come.