Channeling the light of a legacy through tax-efficient planning
This article is featured in the 2023 Raymond James Charitable Annual Report. To read the full annual report, click here.
A surviving spouse wanted to honor her husband’s longstanding legacy of giving. A donor advised fund helped maximize the value of donating highly appreciated company shares.
Philanthropy fueled by asset appreciation
Jimmy Stevenson spent his career working for the United Parcel Service (UPS). Away from the job, he was a patriotic, generous family man who frequently donated to his community to help those in need.
When Jimmy passed away, his wife Donna wanted to continue his legacy of giving and turned to her financial advisor. Drew McMillin of the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team suggested creating a donor advised fund with Raymond James Charitable.
Over the years, Jimmy and Donna accumulated a sizeable amount of UPS stock that had significantly appreciated, so by gifting those shares to the donor advised fund, Donna was able to avoid capital gains associated with the shares and receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value of what was donated.
“The donor advised fund was such a sweet strategy to marry Donna’s desire to give with my concern about some of her tax exposure, so we were able to get a lot of savings,” Drew explains. “She’s making a huge impact with the fund, which is just beautiful.
“There are more efficient ways to give than just donating the cash from selling an asset, which is actually the least efficient way to give. Our clients with donor advised funds get really excited about all the potential tax savings, and those savings power additional donations.”
Family and community connections
Since opening her fund in 2020, Donna has supported over 15 charities. That number is likely to grow.
“As I’m out in the community volunteering, I find out about needs and new ways to give,” Donna says. “Plus, once you say yes to one organization, others find out you’re open to helping, and they come to you with opportunities.”
Other charities aren’t the only ones who’ve taken note of her generosity; it’s also made an impression on her grandchildren. “I do talk to them about it, and I do let them know why I’m doing it, and I try to encourage them to work hard and be wise with their money so that they can be givers too,” Donna says.
At the same time, her family’s own volunteer efforts inspire her giving. “My granddaughter is a leader with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, so that’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart and one I happily support.”
“Having financial planners has been a blessing. And using a donor advised fund has been a great way to bless other people.”
An uncomplicated, joyful process
Helping these charities is a breeze through her donor advised fund. Donna just picks up the phone and asks her Raymond James team to issue grants to particular organizations for specific amounts. While she could also do the same through her online account, she enjoys the friendliness and quick action of Drew and his team.
One charity Donna especially loves supporting is Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive food banks nationwide. The food bank runs multiple feeding programs, including one that provides students facing hunger with backpacks containing easy-to-prepare food to meet their weekend needs.
“In working with so many people, I’ve observed that families who are generous with their resources have more fulfillment in life and are just generally happier,” Drew says.
That happy generosity radiates into the community, impacting those helped in more ways than one. Like her husband before her, Donna is delivering tangible assistance and the intangible relief that comes from knowing there are caring people in your community ready to help.
“Having financial planners has been a blessing,” she says. “And using the donor advised fund has been a great way to bless other people. When people receive a grant, they’ll call me and they’re just blown away.”
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
Being organized is essential to the mission of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. According to the charity’s website, “Massive quantities of food get dumped into landfills, yet 1 in 8 Middle Tennesseans is at risk of hunger. This is partially a logistics problem. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, Second Harvest has the space and manpower to manage large shipments, break them into smaller units, and send them at the right time and in the right quantity to our network of Partner Agencies across 46 counties.”
In fiscal 2022, Second Harvest donated over 35.2 million meals. Each week that year, through its BackPack program, the organization provided more than 5,400 children with backpacks filled with food for the weekend. In operating this and other programs, Second Harvest uses donated funds very efficiently, with 96 cents of every dollar going to its feeding programs.