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Left behind? Why companies need philanthropy advice, too

Left behind? Why companies need philanthropy advice, too

It’s relatively straightforward to see how philanthropy figures into the financial and estate plans you build for individuals and families. After all, many of these clients are already supporting their favorite community causes, and it’s your job to make sure they know about all the options for structuring their near-term and long-term plans to give to charity using techniques that achieve both philanthropic and tax goals. The FM Area Foundation works with attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors every single day to help meet clients’ needs.

What you might not always consider, though, is that many of your clients are executives in companies whose leaders want the company to engage in charitable giving. That’s why it’s wise to be aware of corporate philanthropy’s best practices and know how the FM Area Foundation can help.

For example, establishing a corporate donor-advised fund–essentially functioning and named as a corporate foundation–helps corporate executives organize the company’s giving in a convenient, 501(c)(3)-qualified structure, avoiding the time and expense that would be required for the company to establish and maintain a separate foundation entity. The company can fund the corporate donor-advised fund each year (especially in excellent years!), thereby organizing charitable donations to a wide range of nonprofits through a single source of funds. This structure can help maintain historical corporate giving levels even when the company experiences a down year.

What’s more, many companies coordinate with the FM Area Foundation to offer donor-advised funds to employees, especially to take advantage of company stock gifts. A program like this is a perk for employees who’ll enjoy organizing their giving and using the community foundation’s many tools and services. The program also helps inspire employees to get more involved in the community, which benefits everyone.

The FM Area Foundation often takes on a back-office role for a company’s matching gifts program, grant administration, and giving strategy. For example, the FM Area Foundation can help guide corporate leadership in creating and administering a program that matches employees’ volunteer time with dollars. In addition, the FM Area Foundation can help a company develop and implement a strategy for responding to and evaluating funding requests to align with the company’s goals for supporting and prioritizing causes.

Finally, the FM Area Foundation can help establish and administer employee giving and disaster relief campaigns. The Foundation’s tools for receiving and processing donations can help a company and its employees respond quickly and meaningfully to disasters and other urgent community needs.

It’s important to note that many companies appreciate the FM Area Foundation’s infrastructure, reporting practices, and compliance protocols. These ensure that all tax laws and other IRS requirements are met, providing a sense of security and confidence. Instead of the company bearing these responsibilities, it’s the community foundation’s job. Corporate executives regularly view the relationship with the FM Area Foundation as a very wise outsourcing move, further reinforcing the Foundation’s expertise and reliability.

The team at the FM Area Foundation looks forward to working with you and your clients who are corporate executives, or even local small business owners, who are excited to give back to the community where they’ve built businesses and developed lasting relationships with employees and customers.


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You have the power to make a positive impact in two ways. You can donate to one of our 500 existing funds, or you can contact us to create a charitable fund that matches your values. Whichever route you choose, we are humbled by your trust and grateful for your kindness and generosity.

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