on Monique's mind

Empowered Evanston
Season of Giving

At recent tax panel event with speakers: Kirk Hoopingarner, Donald Souhrada and Mike BrodyIt is now the season of holidays, year-end appeals, and thoughtful philanthropy throughout our community. And what’s on my mind is helping my family identify which causes we will support. Philanthropy is an act of gratitude, albeit much more complicated now than ever. Thank you for giving to the causes that you identify with most. Here at ECF, we enjoy being a helpful resource of information and connections to address some of our community’s most challenging issues through philanthropy.

Earlier this year the Foundation hosted a workshop on navigating the new tax laws, specifically the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 or TCJA. It was a well-attended event that concluded with audience questions about the future of giving and how nonprofit organizations should look to diversify their fundraising portfolio. All these things we think about daily at ECF. Because laws are always changing, I appreciate the fact that our supporters are in-tune with planning their gifts to assure the most impactful nonprofit organizations and the community they love will continue to benefit from their donations.

I’ve had the privilege of connecting with my community foundation colleagues across the country. Collectively we’ve fielded questions from nonprofits concerned about support in a year of uncertainty. We’ve heard from donors who will continue to give regardless, but who are thinking strategically about their philanthropy. From gift bundling to itemized deductions to multiyear gifts-I’ve heard from donors who are figuring it out.  With ten years under our belt since the last recession, we continue to learn and employ skills to help our nonprofit community be financially sustainable. ECF programs like root2fruit, Partners for the Future and Building the Future work with organizations over time to build on their strengths and make improvements, mainly in the area of financial growth but the overall governance of the organization is where our attention is focused. 

In our workshop we also discussed donor advised funds (DAF’s), a giving option offered by ECF and an excellent tool for strategic philanthropy. When establishing a DAF at the Foundation, donors benefit from the knowledge of staff including how to make their donations most impactful within our community. All of the Foundation’s DAF holders are invited to participate in our Grantmaking Partner program, in which we share community-vetted, top-rated proposals that best align with their family’s philanthropic goals and interests. It’s important to us that donors understand the needs of the community and are able to make informed decisions about their philanthropy. As such our team stands ready to partner at all times. 

We take pride in this work and we care deeply about Evanston. And, we understand that the financial markets are ever changing. Just as we help prepare our nonprofit partners to sustain funding instability, we’d like our supporters to be informed as well. ECF offers several options for giving and meet our donors where they are in their planning and thoughtfulness.This season, allow us to assist you in being impactful with your gifts. We appreciate you navigating the many ways that your family can be philanthropic this season and are here to assist in any way we can. 

Be Empowered
October 23, 2018