Did you know that despite the beauty of its 48-acres, Oakland is not a perpetual care cemetery? It’s not! Families and owners are responsible for maintaining their lots, but in the years since the last of Oakland’s lots were sold, many families have moved away or died out, leaving the cemetery with no direct support. (That’s bad!) But there is a long term solution to this problem and it is:
The Historic Oakland Foundation Endowment: Gifts that Keep on Giving (That’s good!)
How does our endowment work?
The Foundation’s current endowment spins off about $160,000 per year to support our maintenance obligation in the (approximately) one-third of the cemetery we have already restored, but the annual maintenance work required for that section is $250,000, a gap that must be covered by operating funds that we have to raise every year. (That’s bad!)
How can you help?
By adding to the endowment corpus, you’ll give the Foundation a larger and more predictable funding stream, allowing it to stay ahead of the ongoing restoration work and to quicken the pace of preservation. Every dollar given to the endowment spins off approximately 4% toward filling that gap I referred to above. (That’s good!)
So, David, what are some ways I can give and take advantage of existing tax laws?
I am so happy you asked! Here are some small and large ways you can give in 2021:
Because the standard deduction went way up in 2017, fewer people could itemize their charitable deductions making giving to charity less attractive. (That’s bad!) However, the CARES Act passed in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic gives donors the option to claim an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 ($600 if filing jointly) in contributions to charities, regardless of whether they take the standard deduction or itemize. (That’s good!)
But wait, there’s more!
The CARES Act also gives donors who will itemize deductions an option to deduct 100% of their adjusted gross income for cash donations. This is 40% more than it used to be! (That’s good, too!)
So, even if you take the standard deduction, you can deduct up to $300 (or $600 for joint filers) by giving to the Historic Oakland Foundation Endowment, or if you itemize you can give up to 100% of your adjusted gross income to the Endowment. Take advantage of this before the end of the year as you never know when what the government giveth will be taken away.
Oh, and one more thing, if I may. You may have noticed that the stock market has been going up, up, up in the last several years, and many of you have some much-appreciated assets.
So…if you have stocks that you’ve held for more than one year and they have grown in value, no matter your income tax situation, it’s always advantageous to give stock rather than cash.
You can avoid paying capital gains tax on those assets altogether, which, for the vast majority of people, is 15-20%; and the market value of the stock is what is eligible as a charitable deduction on your taxes. I call that a double-whammy advantage. (That’s doubly good!)
You can give to the Historic Oakland Foundation Endowment with your cash gifts or appreciated stock by going online (here).
If you can’t wait to hear more about ways to give to Oakland’s Endowment, then watch for our next newsletter and my blog post about IRA’s and testamentary bequests! (They are both GOOD!)
Or you can always call me at 404-309-7793 or email me at email@example.com and we can talk planned giving for Oakland all day long. (And that’s great!)
David Moore serves as emeritus executive director at Historic Oakland Foundation. He served as the executive director or co-executive director of Historic Oakland Foundation for fourteen years before retiring in 2020.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.