Giving is Easy as 1, 2, 3

It doesn’t take much to be a philanthropist through The Dayton Foundation, just the willingness to make a difference.

Since 1982, the community foundation has been offering Charitable Checking Accounts (CCA), a unique donor-directed service where gifts as small as a few dollars can be made to charitable organizations anywhere in the world. Today, it’s as easy as a simple click of a computer mouse.

The Dayton Foundation, started in 1921, cuts a check to your charity when you make a gift and takes care of all the record keeping. There is no minimum amount to open a CCA, no minimum amount for the gifts, and no cost or fee to open an account, says Michael Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation.

“It’s intended as a way to engage people in philanthropy. It’s really about ensuring there is a place for everyone in community philanthropy,” he says.

Nan-c Lynn Moss, director of scholarship initiatives at Wright State University, has had a CCA for five years. Besides convenience, she says it a great way for groups to leverage the impact of small individual gifts.

“I really believe in the impact of community giving,” says Moss who coordinates her gifts through the African-American Community Fund, a component fund group under the umbrella of The Dayton Foundation.

Susan Harker and her husband Don, a Dayton bankruptcy trustee and attorney, have had a CCA for more than a decade, echoes that sentiment.

“It makes giving so easy. I don’t know why more don’t do it,” she says. “Even in small amounts, like $100. If you told 100 friends, that’s $10,000.”

Parks says The Dayton Foundation is one of only seven out of more than 800 community foundations in the country to offer a gift-giving service like the CCAs.

Currently, it has 1,631 CCAs. That’s up 125 over the last 12 months and those accounts have made more than 10,000 gifts totaling $12.8 million, he says.

And the advantages?

“First, it’s convenience. It’s all online. You can open an account and make a gift on any type of computer, iPad or mobile device, and there’s 24/7 access.”

Second, all the recordkeeping is in one spot. No hunting for gift-giving receipts at tax time.

And third are the tax advantages. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. So you can claim a charitable gift when your donation goes into your account, not when a gift goes to a specific charity. An individual or business can make donations into a CCA before the end of the year and not make disbursements until the next year. And the gifts can be stocks or even real estate. Donating stock allows the giver to avoid paying capital gains taxes, increasing the amount available for gifts.

Finally, Park says, the foundation does all the due diligence on qualifying charities and all the check writing.

The Harkers believe CCAs are a good way to pass on the spirit of philanthropy to their children. Several years ago they gave each of their three grown children a CCA with $1,000 in each so they could develop their own giving traditions.

“They were pleased and have kept their accounts going,” says Susan.

For more information on Charitable Checking Accounts go to daytonfoundation.org