Recognition or anonymity: Which one’s for you?

Recognition or anonymity: Which one’s for you?

The FM Area Foundation is committed to working with you and your family to fulfill your charitable goals, whether those goals relate to making an impact, leaving a legacy, saving money on taxes, expressing gratitude, or a combination of objectives. Suppose you have not yet established a fund at the community foundation (even if you have!). In that case, a donor-advised fund or other types of funds not only offers flexibility to meet your giving goals but also gives you options for recognition or anonymity, depending on your goals and preferences.

Many philanthropic individuals and families appreciate–and sometimes even seek–recognition for gifts to their favorite charities. In addition to feeling appreciated, donors give publicly for many other reasons, including knowing that their names can lend credibility to an organization and that their gifts can inspire other donors. The FM Area Foundation team also understands nonprofit organizations’ perspectives about anonymous giving. This means we can help you navigate your relationship with a favorite charity, which allows us to help ensure that your intentions are achieved. The nonprofit’s mission is supported in the way you envision.

The FM Area Foundation carries out your wishes for recognition in various ways. When you recommend grants to your favorite charities from your donor-advised fund, for example, the FM Area Foundation’s team typically will issue the grant checks to the charities noting that the gift is from your fund so that you receive the recognition. Sometimes, though, our fund holders have good reasons for wanting their support to be anonymous, whether because of modesty, religious convictions, avoidance of unwanted solicitations, or wanting to keep the focus on the charity.

Whatever the reasons you might prefer to give anonymously, whether from time to time or across the board, the FM Area Foundation respects your wishes and can help in various ways.

–First and foremost, our team will listen intently to understand your charitable goals and interests and ensure that we are structuring your donor-advised fund, other type of fund, or series of funds to achieve your charitable giving and family philanthropy goals. Indeed, some individuals and families set up multiple funds to serve different needs, including the desire for anonymity for a portion of their giving but not all. Our team will be sure to ask clarifying questions to determine how best to structure your charitable funds to achieve your desired level of recognition. Do you prefer anonymity for every grant? Is there a threshold amount where smaller grants can be acknowledged? Does the restriction apply only to a public disclosure by the grantee, but the grantee organization is aware? We know these discussions can be delicate.

–You may wish to recommend that certain grants (but not all) from your fund be issued anonymously. The FM Area Foundation allows to opt into anonymity on a grant-by-grant basis. Also, remember that no solicitations will flow directly to you; the FM Area Foundation handles all correspondence related to grants to nonprofits made from your fund.

–Remember that you can establish a donor-advised fund under a nondescript, less identifiable name, perhaps one that is generic sounding or honors ancestors who may have “seeded” the fund through a prior generation’s wealth transfer or inheritance. For example, you can select a name for your fund that is less obvious than yours. Instead of the “Sam and Vera Barker Fund,” for instance, you could name the fund the “SVB Fund,” “Desert Family Legacy Fund,” or something else. When the FM Area Foundation sends a grant check to a charity from your fund based on your wishes, the charitable recipient will see only the name of the fund, not your name.

–As always, with any fund (whether some or all of the grant making is anonymous), the FM Area Foundation’s code of ethics and operating principles mean that our team follows and enforces strict confidentiality. For example, we are careful about the visibility and accessibility of donor information, even internally, and we adhere closely to permissions and protections within the donor database.

–Finally, the FM Area Foundation does not disclose information about you or your fund to any third party, nor is detailed information available through a Form 990 filed with the IRS.

We’re here to serve the greater good at the FM Area Foundation. We welcome all conversations about giving, and we gladly strive to honor the charitable giving preferences of our donors and fund holders to the fullest extent allowed by law.

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We can do so much more for our communities by working together. If you want to make a difference close to home, you can join like-minded supporters and give to one of our 400+ charitable funds, each with its own unique story and purpose.

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