Imagine what Kalamazoo County will be like 25 years from now. The year will be 2040. What exciting possibilities will its people pursue? What technologies will be driving change? Above all, what will be the community’s biggest concerns? Given the pace of change today, it’s almost impossible to imagine what the 2040 landscape will look like.
This inability to clearly define community needs far in the future is the main reason we talk with our donors about unrestricted gifts. Unrestricted gifts give our board of trustees the financial flexibility to assess and address the community’s needs — both today and decades from now.
But perhaps you have a cause you care passionately about, something that has touched your own life or the life of someone you love. You may have very specific interests in certain organizations or efforts for change.
So you want to arrange a gift to support that cause, but you also understand the need for unrestricted giving. What to do?
A multigenerational legacy
"We don’t see this as either/or," says Jeanne Grubb, a member of our Donor Relations team. "We prefer to talk with our donors about a dual track approach. For example, one of our donors came to the Community Foundation originally to establish a Scholarship Fund in memory of her mother. This was a woman who had come from very humble beginnings, became a successful business owner in the community and loved helping children in need during her lifetime.
"When our donor talked with us after her mother passed away," Grubb continues, "we discussed all of the ways she could make a gift to the community that her mother would have enjoyed. She ultimately decided that she preferred the idea of an Advised Fund, and she’s now been actively involved in supporting community projects in her mother’s name for years."
Grubb notes, "What makes this especially interesting is that her giving is dual track as well as multi-generational. She has shared that when she passes, she would like the Advised Fund named for her mother to continue, but be converted to an Unrestricted Fund. So during her lifetime, this donor is actively involved in identifying projects her mother would have wanted to support. Then later, that legacy will continue indefinitely to support the evolving needs in the community."
This donor is not the only one who has made this decision. Many Community Foundation donors like the idea of establishing a fund that supports their specific charitable interests during their lifetime. But they also want to leave an additional unrestricted gift or convert their original fund to an unrestricted gift when they are no longer able to be involved. This dual track approach has proved to be very satisfying to donors and ultimately gives our board the flexibility it needs for future decisions.
Dual track giving can be arranged for most any gift, and an unrestricted gift can be combined with any existing or new Field-of-Interest, Advised or Designated Fund. "You have an opportunity to create change in the future in ways you can’t imagine today," concludes Grubb. "If everybody contributes a little bit — perhaps for both a specific purpose and for some unknown future need — we have a larger pool of resources to serve the community forever."
Our Donor Relations team is ready to help you determine which gift is right for you.