‘Tis the Season
Here we are folks, THE GIVING SEASON. Charity Navigator estimates that 30% of annual giving takes place in December.
Part of what fuels the popularity of giving can be last-minute tax planning but is more often driven by deep-rooted beliefs in giving. These beliefs are typically passed down through the family. While giving happens all year long, the holidays and family activities always bring charities front and center. As we celebrate the holidays at Community Foundation of Lorain County, we are grateful to everyone for their support this year and look forward to the gifts still to come as we close out 2020.
Part of the giving traditions you share with your family may include contributions to organizations you feel are essential to the community. However, it may also be a great time to learn what matters most to your family members and consider donating to those causes. It could be a great learning opportunity for all parties while supporting your community during this challenging time. Gifts to any of the organizational or field of interest funds at Community Foundation could fulfill the whole family’s giving needs.
Lorain County native Toni Morrison said, “Make a difference about something other than yourselves,” and I think that ties into giving traditions. It also relates to the beginning of another favorite time at Community Foundation –SCHOLARSHIP SEASON! Between now and March, hundreds of students will fill out our online application, which will automatically match their area of interest, community involvement, and academic achievement to each scholarship’s criteria. This process eliminates the need for them to complete multiple scholarship applications.
Many scholarships are available and are based on a field of study, merit, and community involvement. We offer scholarships to graduating seniors, those interested in trade schools or post-secondary education, and adult learners. Last June, Community Foundation awarded 64 scholarships and 75 scholarship renewals to Lorain County students for the 2019-2020 school year. These 139 scholarships totaled almost four hundred thousand dollars!
Maybe there is an area of interest you see in the community that could benefit from a particular scholarship focus? Creating a scholarship fund allows you to select the criteria to meet that need. The IRS guidelines prohibit you as the fundholder from selecting the student recipients, so a committee at Community Foundation will follow your established guidelines.
It was reported in 2019 by Giving USA that 14% of annual giving went towards education (second only to religious gifts). If you agree that education is important, but do not want to create a scholarship fund, any existing scholarship funds can be supported via our website peoplewhocare.org. Monies received this year into these already established funds will go towards the scholarships distributed in 2021.
Lastly, if you have not already done so, do not forget to use your $300 charitable deduction available through the CARES Act. Since this is only for 2020, now is your last chance. Typically you would need to itemize your taxes to claim donations to charity. If you are one of the 90% of taxpayers who now file their taxes using the standard deduction, you would not be getting this donation benefit without this CARES Act legislation.
This year Community Foundation has created both the Lorain County Cares COVID-19 Response Fund, and the Racial Equity Fund to help the local community. Initial rounds of grantmaking are completed and we are now seeking your aid in fulfilling additional grant requests. Our unrestricted/flexible Touch the Future Fund has also played a pivotal role in our community support and needs donations. Should this fit in with your family giving traditions, we would greatly appreciate your contribution to any one of these three funds.
Whether large or small, the size of the giving tradition matters less than what is learned and shared in those efforts. We thank you for having us as a part of your traditions. We hope you have a healthy and safe holiday season.
Remember that all gifts need to be completed by December 31st to qualify as a 2020 charitable deduction. To learn more about how your gifts can make a lasting impact, contact Laura Malone, Development Officer, at 440.984.7390