Make charitable giving span generations, nonprofits told


Published: Friday, September 27, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 27, 2013 at 6:17 p.m.

If Alachua County’s baby boomers gave 5 percent of their children’s inheritance to charity, the money could buy a month of groceries for every local person living in poverty, or send 26,750 children to a week of summer camp. It could plant 80,000 trees or buy YMCA memberships and field trips for 17,000 seniors.

As the largest generation ages, the largest transfer of wealth in the nation’s history will be passed down to the next generation, giving charities an unprecedented opportunity to appeal to donors to leave some of that money to make a difference in their communities.

In the next 10 years, $3.19 billion will transfer from one generation to the next in Alachua County, according to the Florida Philanthropic Network’s Transfer of Wealth Report for Florida.

If local charity foundations were able to capture 5 percent of that, giving would increase 60 percent to $159.7 million. Since nonprofit foundations are required to allocate 5 percent of assets annually, that would provide at least $8 million more per year for local causes.

The Community Foundation of North Central Florida, which hosted a presentation to estate planners and nonprofit leaders Friday at the AvMed office, is working with the Florida Philanthropic Network to appeal to financial advisers, nonprofits and donors to consider planned giving as part of their financial strategies.

The foundation manages $12 million in assets and donates about $1 million a year.

Part of the appeal is to get donors to consider the power of collective action, according to David Biemesderfer, president and CEO of the network.

“They may think they can’t make a difference leaving 5 percent, but when you add it all together, you can make a huge difference in the county,” he said at Friday’s presentation.

One of the challenges for Florida foundations is to convince the large number of transplants and retirees to “give where you live,” Biemesderfer said.

The study showed 57 percent of charitable giving goes out of state.

Another challenge is convincing people who may be more inclined to trust national organizations or their alma mater that local charities are a “good bet,” according to Theresa Beachy, executive director of the Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network.

She described how a $1 million donation from oncologist Paul Schilling and veterinarian Jay Dutton helped secure $3 million in state funding to build an 80-bed campus.

“The unique thing about it is because it’s something that’s going to impact our community for years to come — thousands of families going through this — they were able to see how really their money is making a huge difference in the place that they live,” she said.

Koss Olinger financial advisers already talk to clients about charitable giving, said Kirk Klein, managing partner, who attended Friday’s presentation.

A large part of their business is multi-generational planning and making sure clients’ children and grandchildren understand the wishes of the matriarch and patriarch.

He said they see people who give to local and nonlocal organizations.

“The longer someone is in this community, the more they want to give to the organizations that are in this community,” Klein said. “Clients who came from somewhere else, there’s always organizations, schools, towns that they want to contribute back to.”

The report showed that 10.8 percent of Alachua County residents are 65 or older compared with 17.3 percent statewide, which presents a challenge for transfer-of-wealth fundraising, Biemesderfer said.

On the other hand, Gainesville is very philanthropic, said Barzella Papa, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of North Central Florida. “To be such a small community, it’s very giving, very charitable in nature.”

The foundation has grown by about $1 million per year during her seven years here, she said.

Among other findings about Alachua County in the report:

- Residents have $15.02 billion in current net worth, or $149,400 per household.

- 19.7 percent of households have a net worth of $250,000 or more compared with 27.1 percent statewide.

- 6 percent of households are worth $1 million or more, compared with 7.1 percent statewide.

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