Giving: Defining a 6-Letter Word with
7 Ways to Maximize It

Pinning down an exact definition of “giving” can be challenging. For some, giving is emotional. Maya Angelou believes “giving liberates the soul of the giver” and the idea of giving brings joy and pleasure. For others, giving is literal like Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition, “to make a present of,” and may feel more like an obligation. What “giving” means for each and every person is personal. It is not how or why we give that is important, it is that we give at all.

However you go about your “giving,” the Santa Barbara Foundation is here to support and connect you with your interests and the causes you care about. In donating to the Santa Barbara Foundation, you have the opportunity to give to our community grants programs, which fund the greatest needs in our community and provide student aid.

Your gifts bolster our LEAF and Community Caregiving initiatives that help build resilience in our natural systems and implement innovative approaches to care for elders and their families. Additionally, if you have a specific interest, the Santa Barbara Foundation is pleased to accept donations on behalf of our collective giving groups, affiliates and initiatives, which include everything from supporting women through the Women’s funds to fostering international community through the Global Neighborhood Fund.

Regardless of how you want to give, the Santa Barbara Foundation can help you do it effectively. Here is a list to answer commonly asked questions about how to make the most of your end-of-year giving and even give a little back to yourself:

1. Itemize to deduct

You must itemize deductions on your tax return to be able to claim a charitable deduction in the year you make a gift to a qualified charity.

2. Appreciated stock makes excellent charitable gifts

Donating appreciated stock is a very tax-effective way to make a charitable gift, especially if the stock has been held for more than one year, as the fair market value of the security can be deducted and capital gain on the appreciation avoided. The receiving charity does not pay capital gain on the sale of appreciated securities.

3. How much can you deduct?

For cash donations, you may deduct as much as 50 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) or as much as 30 percent of AGI for donations of appreciated securities to charity. Donations over these thresholds may be carried forward for up to five years.

4. Consider an IRA Required Minimum Distribution directly to charity

Individuals who are 70½ or older may make a direct transfer of up to $100,000 from a traditional IRA to a qualified charitable organization, with no tax. The amount transferred to charity will not be considered a taxable IRA distribution and will satisfy required minimum distributions. Contributions to donor advised funds from an IRA are not allowed.

5. Legacy gifts to the Santa Barbara Foundation help continue our work for decades to come

Supporting the community foundation with a legacy gift insures that our good work continues into the future. IRA owners may name the Santa Barbara Foundation as a designated beneficiary of some or all of a traditional IRA account, and avoid taxes upon distributions from the tax-deferred account. Gifts of life insurance also make great legacy gifts as the foundation may be named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

6. Consider establishing a donor advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation

Donor advised funds are an efficient way of donating now and gifting later. These flexible accounts are easy to set up and provide the opportunity to take a tax deduction in the year established and then decide how to allocate donations later. Gifts from donor advised funds can be anonymous if desired.

7. And finally….gifts to charity may affect estate taxes

All charitable gifts are permanently removed from the donor’s estate and may reduce estate taxes.

Make sure you consult your accountant or financial advisor to find out what works best and applies to you. With any further questions about end-of-year giving, please contact Jan Campbell, chief philanthropic officer for the Santa Barbara Foundation, at
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101