Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Wrapping up charitable giving for the year

Jean Larsen

Legacy Endowment Community Foundation

On the cusp of finishing out the 2023 year, what a year it’s been. Gladly, many people have figured out what to buy family and friends for holiday gift giving, so they can put their minds to work on making other people’s lives filled with joy, merriment and surprises during the year-end festivities. On this topic, I extend a few thoughts for wrapping up year-end donations, not only from the heart, but also for the taxman.

If you are over that 70+ year-old threshold and you haven’t taken your required minimum distribution from retirement funds, now is the time to consider turning those RMDs into charitable gifts to keep them from inflating your gross income. If you don’t have household plans for those RMDs, it is often a wonderful tax advantage to transfer the amount into a community foundation or towards benefiting a charitable organization.

For most nonprofit organizations, year-end giving represents one of the most important aspects of their annual monies raised each year and helps define for them the actual amount of money that can be spent the following year delivering their vital programs and services. Being generous all year long is truly wonderful, but the largest gift giving happens at year-end starting right after the Thanksgiving holiday. If you have plans to give, giving now makes an important difference.

When making year-end gifts, it’s always wise to check Charity Navigator or GuideStar to make sure the organization you are choosing is in good standing with these two organizations. If they have earned seals of transparency and effectiveness at using donations, you’ll immediately know it.

For many individuals who are familiar with certain organizations such as those with ringing bells and buckets by a store’s front door, we know many that are reputable and credible without having to check a website. But you need to be very wary of people calling you on the phone you don’t know or responding to text messages asking for money.

Always ask callers for donation paperwork to be mailed to you for review. If you have a concern or question, Legacy Endowment Community Foundation is a community resource ready to help research charities or special causes to ensure legitimacy and good standing.

As the count-down to holiday festivities begins, it is hoped you feel prepared and ready to enjoy all that the season has to offer without any of the brutal snowfall, deep freezes and white-tailed deer munching on our front lawns. What we do have in the region are crisp winter days and the warmth of community closeness with just enough morning frosts to pull out the warm jackets without needing snow shovels or tire chains.

On behalf of all of us at Legacy Endowment, we stand ready to help with any of your philanthropic questions and wish to extend to you and yours our best wishes for the happiest of holidays.

Jean Larsen is executive director of Legacy Endowment Community Foundation.


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