Where to give in Memphis?

Memphis has a heart for giving – and we also have causes worth supporting. With so many asks coming in on a daily basis, and with a number of worthy organizations tugging at our heartstrings, it can be hard to land on which organization you want to support through your Christian giving. But if you know how much you want to give in a year, then there is an easy solution – create a donor-advised fund.

Creating a donor-advised fund through the Christian Community Foundation affords you time and the opportunity to give strategically. Donor-advised funds allow you to budget, plan and execute your giving in one move without designating a nonprofit. So, when a need arises or your heart is touched, you can immediately make a grant to the nonprofit of your choice from the pool of money you’ve set aside for giving.

Donor-advised funds are a flexible, convenient way for you to donate money when you aren’t sure of where to give. With a donor-advised fund, you receive an income tax deduction in the year that a contribution was made to the account – and you no longer have to keep up with donation receipts for every nonprofit or charitable contribution you make. You also can easily make a grant request online, and we’ll write, mail and confirm donation for you. We do all the leg work! Through CCF, you can also donate assets including cash, stocks, bonds or even real estate. This flexibility allows you to contribute what you want when you want with no extra stress or inconvenience! 

In our city, the opportunities to donate seem endless. And it’s amazing that we have a nonprofit landscape so committed to tackling our community’s most challenging issues. We want to empower you to use the gifts you’ve been entrusted with to impact the community. You can do this most effectively with a donor-advised fund.

We know that the giving process can be overwhelming at times, which is why we are here to help every step of the way. If you need assistance in setting up a donor-advised fund or with any donating needs, feel free to contact us at (901) 682-6201.

How to cultivate a giving spirit when donations are auto-drafted

In this digitally run world where donations are often auto-drafted, it can be hard to remember why you started donating in the first place. With almost 54% of donors giving online, forming real-life relationships with the organizations you support can be more difficult. At times, it can feel as if the giving spirit is lost in the transaction. With a few small reminders, and by trying some new things, you can cultivate a giving spirit, even if your actual donation requires little action on your part.

Volunteer with organizations you support financially
Most nonprofits need volunteers year-round. Volunteering can help you see and feel what your donation does. Getting some up-close-and-personal experience with your chosen organization could highlight the reason why you give and why your continued support is important. This experience can also be extremely meaningful to people in need. Physically serving people you support financially can create a personal bond that cannot be put into words or felt online – it’s a wholesome experience that is sure to rekindle your giving spirit.

Discuss results and impact with the organization’s director of donor relations
Directors of donor relations are equipped to support you in your giving journey. When contacting the organization’s point person, ask how your donations are affecting the cause. Was something done as a direct result of your donation? Were all of the needed materials provided for that health event? All of these questions can be answered when you contact the director. You can learn how your donation helped change someone’s life. When you see a plan come through and impact lives, the spirit of giving can be fulfilled, even if you don’t get to see the behind-the-scenes footage.

Meet up with other donors
Meeting up with those who are giving to the same cause is sure to bring excitement about the common good. When you bond with others who share your passion for helping a community, it creates a sense of commonality and affirms that others see the nonprofit’s work as valuable, too. These gatherings could also bring about other ways you could help the cause that you care for – like volunteering, hosting an event, visiting those in need and more.

There are multiple ways to revitalize the giving spirit for auto-drafted donors! If you just can’t grasp that feeling, contact us and we’d love to help you find meaningful ways to connect with your giving.

What does generational giving look like?

When you take a look at the breakdown of givers, the numbers tell an interesting story. Baby Boomers make up 43% of givers, while Generation X makes up 20% and Millennials 11%. It seems clear that age correlates with generosity, and younger givers appear to be behind. Undoubtedly, younger individuals and families have more expenses – from student loan debt to child care – and are also less established in their careers. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are likely past most of these expenses, leaving them with more disposable income to give.

While it’s easy to attribute the generational drop-offs to age (and some can surely be attributed to age) there are additional factors, like lack of education on the matter. Younger generations may also be giving in other ways, such as giving their time to causes. No matter the reasoning, the best way to learn about giving is through demonstration. At Christian Community Foundation, our family of givers is comprised of people spanning a wide range of ages. And, we believe that giving isn’t about the amount of money you can contribute, it’s about establishing a practice of generosity. What we can say firmly is this – giving is a learned behavior, and our youngest givers do so because they learned the behavior from people they love.

As a foundation centered on helping others find ways to donate to causes they care about, we aim to provide all routes necessary to help you help others. These efforts are made to aid organizations right in our own backyard. And what better way to help following generations learn about helping our community than through the help of family? We want to bring that spark of helping others back to life – and strategic giving starts with education.

That’s why we’ve created the NexGen Fund. This donor-advised fund was created to start conversations on giving in your family. With the help of more established generations, younger people can learn the values of giving at any age. While most funds require a minimum investment to be established (which is intimidating to some younger donors), NexGen has no such requirement. You or a family member can create a fund in another’s name, and upon access to their own funds, the mentee can continue to give and distribute. Creating a trickle-down effect can help improve your family’s knowledge on giving to those in need. This is a plan of action waiting for family members following in your footsteps.

Creating this type of fund allows future generations to distribute it to organizations in need. Why is this important? Because at the center of Christian faith, giving is the ministry of God at work. We are called to keep hope alive, and we can’t do it without you!

Stephanie Jones joins Christian Community Foundation as director of donor relations

Christian Community Foundation is excited to welcome Stephanie Jones as the new director of donor relations! With more than 20 years of experience in budgeting, financial analysis and accounting, she makes a wonderful addition to our team.

Stephanie received a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Memphis. After serving as a Principal Analyst, Controller, and Accounting Manager for multiple organizations, Stephanie began praying for a career change. She couldn’t put a finger on it but, she had a feeling that she was being called elsewhere. Her commitment to healthy living led her to frequent the gym during her lunch break, where she met CCF’s president, Rex Jones. Fast forward three years later, Rex called with a proposition – for her to join CCF.

As director of donor relations, she is most excited about the overall vision of the organization. “Since stepping into this role, I’ve seen Christian Community Foundation impact lives for the good of the Kingdom,” Stephanie said. Her goal is to educate people about what it means to be a Kingdom giver in a way that is authentic and transparent.

In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her high school sweetheart and husband of 21 years, Malvin, and their three daughters Autumn, Ashley and Sequoia. She also enjoys exercising, reading, sewing and traveling.

We’re blessed to add Stephanie to our family and army of givers!

How do I give money in someone’s name?

Have you ever searched for the perfect gift – one that keeps on giving long after the wrapping paper and gift bags have been discarded? Giving a gift in someone’s name is an amazing way to pay tribute to someone you love, and is a special way to give a gift that is more impactful than any physical item could ever be. A donor-advised fund through Christian Community Foundation is a prime example. A donor-advised fund is an amazing gift opportunity that will reap benefits for years to come.

Giving money in someone’s name is a simple process. Our funds are fully customizable, regarding how you would like to name them. A fund can be created in honor of a loved one, as a gift to a friend, as an example of charity for your children, or for any other purpose you see fit.

You might be asking, “Is giving money in someone’s name actually a good gift?” We believe so. When you create a donor-advised fund for someone, you’re not just making a donation in someone’s name. You’re empowering someone to dole out funds to an organization that’s close to his or her heart. It’s more than writing a check, it’s supplying the opportunity to practice generosity.

A charitable act of this magnitude will cause a positive rippling effect throughout the community, far beyond the person you choose to name the fund after. One of our primary goals at the Christian Community Foundation is to help guide our donors in the right direction, so they can be a blessing in our community.

So, if you ever notice yourself struggling to find a way to properly pay your respects to a special person in your life, consider creating a donor-advised fund in their name! Romans 12:10 states, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” There aren’t many better ways to abide by this word of Christ than by using a worthy individual’s name as a vessel to bless others!

 

Do donations through CCF make a difference in Memphis?

Local nonprofit organizations are a driving force in improving the quality of life within our community. It is our duty as citizens to support these organizations, as they are bettering the very place we call home.

Nonprofit organizations assist other businesses in the community to drive economic development, provide greater access to the arts, amplify cultural awareness, ensure citizens receive a quality education, confront our city’s greatest health care challenges, and foster spiritual growth and revival for people in need — they virtually lend a hand to every sector of the community.

Nonprofits act as the arms and legs to our community’s boldest dreams – they turn the belief that our city can be a better place for everyone into action. Supporting local organizations provides us the opportunity to see our communities turn into the place we’ve always envisioned it to be. Last year, our donors gave more than $40 million in grants to local nonprofits through their donor-advised funds. These donations undoubtedly allowed nonprofits to expand their operations and make a bigger impact on their clients and community.

Even if our donors choose to give to worthy nonprofits around the globe (that also need our support), they’re still inadvertently supporting local nonprofits through our Hope for Memphis Fund! The Hope for Memphis Fund is a grant program sponsored by CCF that pours money directly into Christian nonprofits in the Greater Memphis Area.

To support our organization’s operations, CCF charges a small administration fee on each donor-advised fund we manage. These fees cover our operational costs, which we responsibly manage. At the end of each fiscal year, we determine what our surplus funds are, and all of those funds are made available to nonprofits through the Hope For Memphis Fund grant process. The surplus funds have grown year over year, exponentially expanding the impact we can make through Hope for Memphis Fund grants.

The Hope for Memphis Fund is dear to CCF, as it’s a simple way to live our mission. These grants serve as the arms and legs of our efforts to transform our city.

Help us continue to keep the hope alive on this journey to advance our community! Together, we can support development in the city of Memphis and its surrounding areas. Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” So, let’s do our part to turn the ripples into waves by supporting local nonprofits with CCF!

Do I have to be wealthy to give?

What is generosity? Societally, generosity typically is associated with giving away money or objects. In a culture centered around wealth and success, how do you adopt a generous mentality without connecting it to the amount you can give financially?

There are common misconceptions about generosity – the largest is that generosity is defined by monetary value. We tend to measure our generosity by how much money we are able to give and miss other ways to give by doing so. You don’t have to donate a large sum to be considered a generous person. The true power of generosity radiates from the ability to let go of what we value and give back to others.

When you put generosity into practice, the impact you have on the recipient is unparalleled. Generosity toward others encourages generosity from others, and this effect builds over time. You can exercise generosity by taking small steps instead of a great leap, and that’s OK. Try putting aside $10 every month, then at the end of the year, you’ll have $120 to donate to an organization!

You may be wondering, what about future generations? How do you instill the value of generosity in your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren? Here’s where the NexGen Fund comes in. If you already have a donor-advised fund through Christian Community Foundation, you can create a NexGen fund with no minimum donation requirement. It includes solutions for a wide-range of customizable strategies and can be created in the name of someone to encourage charitable giving for the next generation.

Even still, giving a monetary donation, no matter the size, can be challenging. Even if you can’t write a check, there are numerous ways to increase giving and encourage philanthropic efforts. Instead of giving money, think about giving your time or your skills. Join a board or seek volunteer opportunities at churches, hospitals or other local organizations within the city. Generosity knows no bounds.

Are you inspired to give but not sure where to begin? Contact us to start your journey at 901-682-6201!

What is a community foundation?

When you consider charitable giving, there are likely a number of organizations that come to mind. And that is exactly the challenge for many people trying to start a journey toward giving – where do you even start?

Most soon-to-be philanthropists don’t realize that giving doesn’t have to start with an organization; it can start with the gentle prodding that you feel in your heart to be more generous. That prodding can lead you to an organization that can help you strategically plan your giving – a community foundation.

Simply put, a community foundation is a conduit and facilitator of your generosity. They file donations away into donor-advised funds. Think of these funds as a charity piggy bank where you can safely store money until you’re ready to make a charitable contribution. While you’re deciding where you’d like to donate, your community foundation partner is investing your donor-advised fund, and it’s growing tax-free. So, when you’re ready to give, your original donation is larger than it was when you started. That’s a win-win!

What’s the benefit of donating to a community foundation? Well, for starters, community foundations are knowledgeable experts in giving. If you’re unsure of where you’d like to donate but can articulate causes that matter to you, your local community foundation can help connect you to organizations you may choose to support. Community foundations can even connect you with organizations around the country and the globe in response to natural disasters or tragedies. Once you invest in a donor-advised fund, that money is yours to grant to any 501(c)(3) organization.

Community foundations also allow families to create a culture of charitable giving. Many families create funds for their children and grandchildren, allowing them to practice regular giving. When the children are older, they can access their fund and support organizations close to their heart. Partnering with a community foundation is an amazing way to cultivate a heart of giving in your children.

As mentioned earlier, community foundations allow your charitable donations to grow tax-free. While your local community foundation can’t provide tax advice, they can work with your personal accountant or tax manager to create a donation strategy that works best for your family’s financial circumstance. Once your money is invested in a donor-advised fund, it can start to grow.

Christian Community Foundation is proud to be an organization that sponsors giving in Memphis. It’s our goal to power giving, and our greatest joy is granting funds to organizations in and around Memphis that are making a tangible impact on people in our community. When you choose to donate through Christian Community Foundation, you’re investing in Memphis and the nearly 1 million people who call this city home. And we believe that’s a valiant cause.

If you want to start your charitable-giving journey, give us a call. We can help you get started.

How to be more generous

Memphis is no stranger to generosity and giving. In 2017, Business Insider named Memphis the most generous city in the United States, with citizens reportedly giving an average of 5.6 percent of their incomes to charity.

We encourage you to strive to be more generous: with your friends and family, with others, with your community, with yourself. But how?

Committing to monetary donations is an easy way to grow your generosity this year. When finding time to serve is challenging, and deciding where to give seems daunting, Christian Community Foundation is here to facilitate your desire to practice gratitude through generous giving. Creating a donor-advised fund through CCF affords you the opportunity to donate now and determine where you’d like to recommend grant disbursement later. In the meantime, we’ll grow your funds tax-free through wise investments.

If you don’t know where you’d like to give, that’s OK. The beauty of creating and contributing to a donor-advised fund is that your donation counts today as a charitable gift (a tax benefit), but doesn’t have to be distributed until you feel called to grant the funds. This process is perfect if you want to begin a new habit of giving but don’t feel called to support any one organization.

With that being said, if you’re looking for an organization to support now, we can help there as well. Our donors contribute to thousands of 501(c)(3) certified nonprofit organizations annually, each with unique and valuable missions that make our world a better place to live. At CCF, we divide them into three categories:

  • Giving for the Kingdom – giving to organizations whose mission facilitates the building of God’s kingdom.
  • Giving for Common Grace – giving to an organization whose mission provides essential services that positively impact lives and communities.
  • Giving Hope for Memphis – giving to organizations whose work is changing the landscape in Memphis.

Making the decision to give generously is challenging for many, and we recognize that giving requires sacrifice. But as a facilitator of generosity, we know that giving radically changes the lives of those who receive and those who give. We want you to experience the power of giving.

2019 is the perfect time to begin giving back to our city. Interested in learning more about what we do and how you can start giving back? Give us a call at 901-682-6201!

Overcoming A Poverty Mindset In The Church

Have you ever heard…(or said)

I work so hard, but still can’t make ends meet.
If the economy would turn around, I might have a chance.
You don’t understand what it is like to struggle.  It’s the story of my life!
If I ever have any extra, I’ll be the first to give back and live generously.

You nailed it…that’s the poverty mindset.  And it can be both heartbreaking and frustrating to deal with this mindset as you call people to imitate the generous ways of God.  So, what do you do?

For starters, you can search Google.  There are a ton of articles related to the poverty mindset online.  Some of these resources are developed by churches and ministers…others by sociologists and well-intentioned bloggers.  But, let me save you some time.  They pretty much all say the same thing.  The majority of these resources encourage you to nudge people from an “I can’t” mindset to an “I can” attitude.  Sounds good right?

There’s only one problem.  Momentary motivation rarely leads to long term change.

Other ministry blogs will tell you that the poverty mindset is destructive and they point to a variety of cut and paste verses from Proverbs.  They tell you to work hard, be more disciplined and stop making foolish decisions.

But, here’s the problem.  All of these answers address the surface and the temporal.  They don’t get to the root of the issue.  Each of these suggestions buys into the idea that we are defined by what we have and by what we do…not by who we are.

Identifying the real issue

I have never been in a church that is completely absent of the poverty mindset.  It’s almost ridiculous to see this in the U.S., but there are pockets of it in every group of people that gather for worship.  Additionally, there are some church communities that run their organization out of a poverty mindset.  They are always worried about meeting the budget.  They are uptight about last week’s giving and they don’t know how they will get through another strenuous financial year.

So, what do we tell those disciples who think this way?  What do we say to churches which operate in this manner?  Work harder?  Be more disciplined?  Plead more often?

While those answers may be contextually appropriate, they don’t address the real issue.  Here’s the big question: Who are you?

Are you defined by what you have, what you’ve done…or by who you are?  At its core, the poverty mindset is an identity issue.  And it makes perfect sense that

both people and entire church communities would define themselves by the resources in their possession.  Isn’t that what the rest of society does?  Isn’t that the way of the world?  Doesn’t that fit with the business models and consumer mindsets of our day?

But, listen to the resounding theme of Scripture…

  • The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  (Psalm 23:1)
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  (Galatians 2:20)
  • For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

According to the Bible, our identity is not found in what we possess, it is found in who possesses us.  Our lives are hidden in Him and the actions that we take are actions of faith.  We are not identified by our meager possessions, we are identified by our Father–who created, sustains and rules over all things.

Isn’t that the way that Jesus lived?  Even Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:30).  He – our perfect example – said that the only way to find your identity is to lose yourself in the lordship and leadership of the Father.  And no child of the King is poor.

Jesus “had no place to lay his head,” but we would be hard pressed to call Him lacking.  He “had no place to lay his head,” but in spite of that, He called us to join Him in His abundance (John 10:10).  That’s because living on a peasant’s income in ancient Israel didn’t make Him poor.  He was rich in every way as He lived by faith and trusted in the astounding wealth of His Father.

He didn’t have a poverty mindset because His identity was not wrapped up in His (on-hand) possessions.

A story for perspective

A few years ago, a friend made a last minute request that I go to Orlando and attend a conference he was hosting.  I almost laughed at the proposal.  There was no way.  Living paycheck-to-paycheck didn’t provide room for a last minute flight, hotel room, rental car, conference fee and meals.  But days later, I clearly sensed God telling me to go.  So, I crawled out of bed and got on the internet.  I had a small reserve remaining in my bank account and knew that if I used it, our family could potentially run into deep financial trouble.  This was not wise money management.

Through a remarkable series of online events, I was able to book a last minute flight at a deep discount and package it with a hotel rate that was more than fifty percent off.  All told, the trip would cost me about $300.  So, I booked it.

On the last day of the conference, I got a surprise.  No one in Orlando knew my financial situation.  No one knew what the trip would cost me.  But as we sang in worship, a gentleman came up and tapped me on the shoulder.  He told me that someone had been prompted by God to give me a gift.  He wouldn’t tell me who the gift was from, other than to say it was not from either him or my friend that was hosting the conference.

Humbled, I said thank you and slipped the envelope into my pocket.

As the conference closed, I made my way to the rental car and headed for the airport.  When I opened the envelope, there was a wad of $20 bills.  In total, the gift was $300…covering the cost of the entire trip and replacing the meager reserve funds that were left for our family.

That event did not happen because I changed my attitude or mental state.  It did not happen because I tightened up my boots and worked a little harder (I was already working about 60 hours a week at the time).  It happened because I decided to listen to my Father and trust in

my identity as His child.

One note of clarification: Faith is not easy (that’s why it’s called faith).  And I still have moments where I define myself by the resources in my possession.

But, in my healthy moments, I know that my identity is hidden in Christ…not in stuff.

And realizing that identity shift is the key to helping your church members…or your church community…overcome the poverty mindset.  Let me know how this works for you…or simply what you think…in the comments section below.

– –
Read more from John Richardson by visiting http://www.generouschurch.com/