Make the Most of Your Year-End Charitable Giving

By Steven Levy, JCF President

With the end of the 2019 tax year fast approaching and the stock market at or near record highs, now is a great time to use your appreciated securities to open—or add to—a donor-advised fund (DAF) with our Jewish Community Foundation (JCF). By doing so, you will avoid paying taxes on those gains, which is especially valuable if your appreciated stocks have been held for more than a year.

A donor-advised fund is a simple, flexible, and tax-efficient way to give to multiple qualified charities of your choice while taking advantage of the highest charitable tax deduction available. You can establish a JCF DAF for as little as $5,000 and you can make additions to your fund at any time, in any amount. JCF handles all the rest – investing and administering your DAF’s assets, processes your recommendations, mailing checks to recipient organizations, sending you regular reports, and more.

According to a recent article in Consumer Reports:

     You may be able to get a tax deduction for your contribution to a donor-advised fund, but only if it still makes sense for you to itemize. For 2019, the standard deduction is $12,200 for singles and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly. So you will need sizable itemized deductions to come out ahead, which is more difficult to do under the new tax law.

If itemizing doesn’t work for you this year, you might opt for a so-called bunching strategy instead. Double up on your charitable contributions every couple of years or so, which may help you reach the itemizing threshold.

Even if you don’t itemize, a DAF may still be a good giving option if you have noncash assets—such as securities that aren’t publicly traded, or stocks—that have grown in value over time… Contributing that appreciated asset to a DAF allows it to be sold and the money sent to charity with little or no hassle. (5 Things to Know about Donor-Advised Funds, by Penelope Wang, Dec. 7, 2019)


Once these contributions are in the DAF, here is what you can easily do with those funds through the JCF’s easy-to-use website:

  • Pay your UJA Annual Campaign pledge or make an increased gift
  • Easily plan and request grants to your favorite charities on the timeline that is convenient to you
  • Promote family philanthropy through establishing other DAFs for your children or grandchildren
  • Participate in a new incentive program that would support your synagogue as well
  • Help secure the future of our community through creating an annual campaign endowment

The deadline for initiating gifts of stock to be used in a DAF is December 25, 2019, and JCF can help you meet these deadlines.

We hope you include Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest in your year-end plans and that they include a gift to Federation’s UJA Annual Campaign. To donate appreciated stock to a DAF, to one of our many community endowments, or as an outright gift to JCF, please call Beverly Kestenbaum at (973) 929-3063.

Click here for information on other end-of-year tax deadlines.