Helping Our Neighbors RISE on Giving Tuesday

Like so much this year, #GivingTuesday will look and feel very different, not least because participants will respond to new and different priorities.

Charitable giving has been a priority for many this year and we were inspired by how many of our clients, neighbors and friends have generosity committed to their favorite causes. These difficult times have truly brought out the best in many.

If you’re still looking for ways to maximize your charitable giving this year, there are a few thoughts and ideas we’re eager to share, including our commitment to match your charitable donations.

Spotlight on RISE Foundation
As the saying goes, charity begins at home. A number of opportunities exist to help those in the Mid-South facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. 

We are particularly passionate about supporting free financial counseling, and RISE Foundation (Responsibility, Initiative, Solutions, Empowerment), a nonprofit launched by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the Memphis Housing Authority and United Way of the Mid-South has a 21-year history of doing so. 

The original RISE program, Save Up, provides financial literacy to the working poor and incentivizes their budgeting and savings with matches. Those savings can be applied toward financial goals like the down payment on a home, a car or education. Just under a thousand working families have saved a collective $9 million to-date. These awesome results have permanently changed the financial trajectory of many families. 

Their most recent initiative is partnering with the Shelby County Trustee to launch the Greater Memphis Financial Empowerment Center, which provides one-on-one, pro-bono financial counseling to anyone who needs assistance. In a relatively short period, they have conducted more than 1,500 individual financial counseling sessions with 592 clients, collectively reducing non-mortgage debt, like credit cards, payday loans and student debt, by more than $500,000.

Jay Healy is a former board chair and has supported the RISE Foundation for many years. We see this as an opportunity to step up our game and provide resources for this organization as they do important work in the community. Therefore, we have committed to matching all Giving Tuesday donations to the organization via the Century Wealth GoFundMe page, up to $10,000. Click here to donate now.

Charity Opportunities Online
We continue to recommend to clients the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’s Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, which offers flexible funding to organizations serving those impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic. So far, the Fund has deployed close to $5 million to 138 organizations in West Tennessee, East Arkansas and North Mississippi. Online contributions require a $50 minimum donation, but you can easily set up recurring contributions if you wish.

The Mid-South Food Bank, in partnership with Feeding America, has done critical work for food-stressed households and communities in our region during this uncertain time. We would equally recommend supporting healthcare systems serving Memphis’s most vulnerable including Church Health and Christ Community Health Services, both of which offer online donations either one-time or recurring. 

Amazon Smile remains an easy giving avenue, allowing you to shop as you normally would while allocating a small portion of your spending to the charity of your choice. When you specify that charity after logging in through the Smile portal, the charity will receive 0.5% of the value of items purchased. 

What Remains the Same
Through the PATH Act of 2015, IRA owners over 70 1/2 years old continue to have the option to donate up to $100,000 directly from their IRA to qualified charities. This strategy has strong tax benefits for those who meet the age requirements, are charitably inclined, and don’t need the distribution themselves.

A simple and seamless giving method, we also continue to recommend donor-advised funds to clients, either through such entities as the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, or those offered through Fidelity, Schwab Charitable, Vanguard and others. You can also access considerable tax benefits by contributing investments with embedded gains directly to charity, which eliminates liability for capital gains taxes.

As always, let us know if we can answer any of your questions or guide you through any charitable options not mentioned here. We are a phone call or email away. 

Stay safe and healthy.

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