It’s not about where you give, but how you give

We’re in the business of strategic, generous and impactful giving. We work with our donors to develop giving plans that meet their needs and allow them to create the most impact possible with the money they can give. Using those three words, we drive emphasis on the process of giving. We don’t mention anything about where our donors grant funds. We purposefully focus on the how.

Understandably, we get a lot of questions around where people can or can’t donate. It makes sense – blessing an organization with a gift is undoubtedly the most exciting part of a person’s giving journey. Most often, we’re asked if giving through CCF is limited to Christian ministries. And our answer is clear: no!

While we don’t disclose the organizations to which our donors give, we can share that our donors support thousands of nonprofits that meet people’s needs across the globe. Many of these organizations are Christian ministries, but not all of them are. As long as an organization has a 501(c)(3) status and does not operate against Christian values, our donors can give to it. 

When we say that we focus on the how, we mean it. As a foundation, we don’t provide recommendations on where to give, even when asked. We believe that giving should be a movement of the heart, a process of discovery that each giver should go through with their family and through their own relationship with Jesus Christ. If the Lord leads you to give to an organization, and you and your family prayerfully consider that gift, then we encourage you to request the grant. 

Our founders recognized that extending the love of Christ into our community would often happen by supporting Christian organizations, but not always. That’s why you’ll see Common Grace gifts mentioned throughout our founding language. Common Grace gifts are given to nonprofit organizations that meet the foundational human needs of our neighbors. These organizations do lifesaving work, providing food, shelter, companionship, medical care and education to people who need it. While Common Grace gifts don’t go to Christian organizations, they do go to organizations that are meeting people’s human needs, which mirrors an example set by Jesus throughout the Bible. 

So, when you ask us about where to give, we won’t give you a list of organizations. Instead, we’ll encourage you to consider how you can give strategically, generously and impactfully wherever God leads you. If you’d like help getting started on your giving journey, or learning how to put these three words into practice, give us a call at (901) 682-6201.

Three giving resolutions to enact in 2022

Oftentimes resolutions are inward facing. Focusing on fitness, committing to a yearly devotional or investing in healthy eating are good resolutions to keep your body and spirit well. But an outward facing goal, like being more generous, can not only be good for the community around you but can also be good for your soul. 

At the Christian Community Foundation, we encourage faith-driven givers to be strategic, impactful and generous with their giving. To do so, we have three simple resolutions to work into your 2022 plans. 

Create a plan for giving.

Did you know that grant requests increase exponentially in November and December? At the end of the year, many people try to give away as much money as possible to meet needs, bless people during the holidays or wrap up their tax planning. Giving in this fashion can be stressful, ad hoc, and ultimately leads people to give less than they might otherwise be able to. 

When you create a plan for your annual giving, you’ll know exactly how much you can give away. By making an annual contribution to a donor-advised fund, you get a better look at what your tax benefit will be. Then you can dole out funds as it makes sense throughout the year. A strategic giving plan can simplify your plans and increase your giving potential. 

Seek opportunities to learn more about where you choose to give.

It’s one thing to make an investment in a nonprofit. It’s another thing to learn about the people you’re supporting. When you make an investment of time alongside your financial gift, you’ll be amazed at what the Lord can do in your heart. As you build connections with nonprofit organizations and the people they serve, the more generous you might become! Becoming an invested giver is a great way to increase your generosity.

Multiply your gifts through prayer.

One sure-fire way to multiply your gifts is to accompany them with prayer. Once you’ve learned about the organizations you’re supporting, you can lift up specific prayer requests. As you continue to walk alongside the organization, you’ll see the power of your gifts and your prayer in action. That’s one way to be an impactful giver! 

When to consider granting money anonymously

One of the major benefits of granting through a donor-advised fund is that community foundations take on the administrative aspects of giving. Once a fund holder requests a grant, the community foundation handles vetting the grantee, check processing and distribution. A letter is included with each check that includes the donor’s name and mailing address for acknowledgements. However, if a donor requests to be anonymous, the donor’s information is excluded from the letter.

Why might a donor want to give a gift anonymously? Is anonymous giving something you should consider? There are several reasons why anonymous gifting might be the right option for you or your family:

You want to alleviate donor relations work a nonprofit has to perform.
Many nonprofit organizations have robust donor relations programs that require handwritten thank yous, specialized invitations to events, and targeted communication outreach, among other things. This is a lot of work for nonprofit organizations that are working tirelessly to support their clients. By giving anonymously, you can support the organization without adding another donor to their donor relations docket.

You generally prefer privacy.
Some companies and families choose to remain known so that recognition of their gifts may drive awareness and further support for the respective organization, especially among extended family or professional circles. You’ve likely seen sponsors and donors highlighted at annual galas, sporting events and other large gatherings. Sometimes seeing others’ commitment to giving back can spark a desire in our own hearts – there is definitely a time and a place for it! But if you want to give a gift at a high level and prefer your name not be flashed on a screen, you can give a gift anonymously. This allows you to give to organizations you love without your gift amount or name being associated with the organization.

Your gift is a one-time gift and you don’t want to be solicited for future gifts.
Say tragedy strikes across the country and you feel led to donate to disaster support efforts. You can use your donor-advised fund to make that grant request. But because the organization is outside of your community, you don’t plan to give to the organization more than once. By giving anonymously, your information will be withheld from the organization. Therefore, you cannot be solicited by the organization for future gifts.

Your career makes anonymity the best option.
Depending upon your career, it may be in your best interest to give gifts anonymously. For example, if you are a pastor, it is fair to assume that your congregants seek to follow your wisdom and advice. There are thousands of worthy Christian nonprofits out there that your congregants can bless with gifts. If you publically give to one of them, that might sway your congregation to invest in that organization rather than spreading their gifts across ministries as they feel called. Giving anonymously prevents this from happening.

What gifts can’t be made through your donor-advised fund?

One of the great things about donor-advised funds is how many different ways you can give! Whether it’s liquid assets, appreciated stocks or property, a donor-advised fund is a safe, secure way to ensure your giving wishes are carried out efficiently. However, while there are many options for giving, there are some gifts that can’t be made through a donor-advised fund. Keep reading to learn more about our giving guidelines.

Grants must be given to public nonprofit organizations.

Each gift recommendation must be made to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as designated by the IRS. Most charitable organizations you know of qualify as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, but there are some organizations that are “not-for-profit” but are not 501(c)(3)s. Two common examples are political campaigns and foundations or private foundations. You also cannot give to an individual’s crowdfunding campaign, like those shared through GoFundMe or other online donation platforms.

Grants must be used for charitable purposes.

Gifts of personal value are ineligible. This means that you cannot use your donor-advised fund to purchase tickets to fundraising events, even if the event is hosted by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Because you would get a personal value – the ticket to the event – for your grant, this gift is ineligible. The clearest way to put it: you cannot receive any money from a grant disbursed from your donor-advised fund.

Grants can only be given directly to an organization.

Want to give a gift to a missionary or to a student looking to go to college? Through your donor-advised fund, you cannot give gifts to them directly. Since all gifts must go through nonprofit organizations, you would have to grant money to the organization overseeing the mission work and overall scholarship funds. While you can specify how you would like your gift to be used – like designating your money toward a scholarship fund for students in a specific program – you cannot stipulate that the funds directly impact a particular individual.

Grants have to go to organizations that align with our Christian values.

As a Christian organization, it’s our duty to further His Kingdom on Earth – one way to do that is by supporting Christian ministries. But, as a donor-advised fund holder at CCF, you can make grant requests to non-religious organizations so long as those organizations do not stand against our Christian values. We call these gifts Common Grace grants.

Questions? Feel free to give us a call at 901-682-6201 or email rex@hopeccf.org to discuss. We’re here for you!

How to talk with a financial advisor about donor-advised funds

Are you interested in opening a donor-advised fund, but don’t know where to begin? One of the best ways to understand all of the details that come with having a donor-advised fund is to talk to a professional advisor.

Talking with a professional advisor

Meeting with your trusted professional advisor, such as your CPA, attorney or estate-planning advisor, can help answer questions about how a donor-advised fund will fit in or impact your overall finances. These professionals will keep personal financial strategies in mind while also considering your current and future financial well-being.

Narrowing down fund options

Your professional advisor can provide numerous fund options that best suit your giving preferences. We cover a few of the different types of funds we offer on our blog.

Before meeting with your advisor, we recommend sitting down with your family and establishing your giving goals so that you make the best decision possible. At CCF, we refer to these goals as a stewardship philosophy. Check out our blog post to learn more about how to establish yours.

Asking questions

When preparing to meet with your advisor, one of the most beneficial things you can do is ask questions. If you show up with a list of prepared questions, the meeting will be much more helpful for you and the advisor. It can be intimidating to know where to begin, so we’ve listed some examples:

  • Is there a difference between establishing a donor-advised fund versus establishing a family foundation?
  • What’s the difference between giving through a donor-advised fund and writing checks directly to nonprofits?
  • How does a donor-advised fund fit within my family’s overall financial and estate plan?
  • When is the best time for me to start a donor-advised fund?
  • What type of assets can I contribute to the donor-advised fund?
  • How much should I contribute to my fund? How much should I give away each year?

Do you have additional questions about donor-advised funds? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at 901-682-6201.

Giving generously, impactfully and strategically

Talking about giving is challenging. It’s deeply personal yet critically important to share. If we all band together to share our giving stories, we can make meaningful change in our communities. At the Christian Community Foundation, we’ve been carefully honing our language and defining our purpose. As we seek to create ways for our donors to share their giving philosophy, three words continue to rise to the forefront: generosity, strategy and impact. 

When these three words are at the center of your conversation about giving, the message shifts from one that can come across as braggadocious to one that is engaging, enticing and motivating. It takes the focus off the giver and places it onto the process. 

These three words will guide our conversations about giving through the Christian Community Foundation for years to come. We’re excited to share what they mean to us and how we talk about them so you can reflect this message in conversations with friends, family and people you love. 

Giving generously. 

If you’ve spoken with Rex Jones, CCF’s president, about giving (and we hope you have), you’ve likely heard him say, “God doesn’t deal in dollars and cents but in the condition of the heart.” That is the crux of generous giving. We seek for our family of donors to give in accordance to their personal conversations with God and their families. When you focus on generosity as a concept and not as a number, it makes giving accessible to all people. Being generous isn’t about the size of your donor-advised fund account. It’s about the personal sacrifices you make in accordance with your calling from the Lord. Speaking with others about giving in terms of generosity shifts the conversation from money to the condition of the giver’s heart.

Giving strategically. 

When the Lord lays it on your heart to make a gift, it may not always fit within your budget, especially if you don’t set aside money for philanthropy. From a practical standpoint, giving can stretch us. At the same time, it can feel odd to put aside a pool of money for giving. But the Lord tells us to prepare our fields for harvest, and one way to prepare your financial fields is to allocate money for giving in advance. If you’re prayerfully considering your giving, it is no less meaningful to invest in a donor-advised fund at the beginning of the year to meet needs than it is to write unbudgeted checks as you’re presented with an ask. As an added bonus, when you pour money into your donor-advised fund, that money can be invested and grow tax-free.

Giving strategically helps protect the condition of your heart in the giving process and allows you to answer God’s calling when a need arises without jeopardizing your family’s well-being. When we talk about giving strategically, it removes guilt from the process and allows donors to reconcile their desire to give with the financial needs of their family.

Giving impactfully.

All giving is impactful. We believe that gifts given in alignment with a believers heart are used by God in ways we may not be able to fathom. Like we’ve said earlier, giving isn’t about the amount of money on the check. But when you give generously and strategically through a donor-advised fund, one advantage is that your money grows tax-free until you give it away. This is an incredible way to increase your impact through giving – one that excites many of our donors. 

When you give generously, strategically and impactfully, you are ultimately creating an active giving process. You are prayerfully considering what you want to give away, are making financial plans that account for philanthropy and are creating opportunities for your gifts to grow. This is a powerful conversation that we believe can transform Memphis and the world for the Kingdom of God. Do you want to join us in this effort? You can start today by contacting us at 901-682-6201.

What are the best ways to invest in your donor-advised fund?

When you choose to open a donor-advised fund, you’re making a conscious decision to dedicate some of your assets to generosity. It’s an exciting path to embark upon! But there are a lot of questions that come along with opening a DAF. Most commonly, what fund sources can be used to build a DAF?

CCF recommends that you consult with your personal financial advisor before making any decisions related to your assets. However, we wanted to list common fund sources that many of our donors use to build their funds. Talk with your financial advisor about these options. 

Liquid assets

Many donors choose to populate their DAF with liquid assets. This is one of the easiest ways to start or add to your account. All you have to do is give our office a call and send the check in the mail. From there, we’ll process your request and quickly add the funds to your account. It’s that simple! 

Appreciated stocks

If you’ve seen gains in your stock portfolio, you can invest those tax-free in your donor-advised fund. It’s also a simple process. Talk with your personal financial advisor and let them know which stocks you’d like to send to your donor-advised fund. Then, call our office to let us know about the upcoming sale, noting the type of stock and number of shares we should anticipate. This will help us direct the proceeds of the sale to your account. 

Property

While property donations are less common, we have donors who like to give in this way. If you have property you’d like to invest in your DAF, talk with your personal financial advisor then give us a call. We can talk with you about the process and how to proceed. 

Ultimately, choosing to give is an excellent decision, no matter the type of assets you choose to donate. If you want to make an impact through giving, creating a donor-advised fund is a great way to get started. We’d be honored to help you as you consider your giving options. To connect with the Christian Community Foundation, you can call our office at (901) 682-6201.

Meet the board!

Behind every great organization is a board that helps guide the way! The same can be said about Christian Community Foundation. CCF is blessed to have a board that prayerfully considers decisions and uses the Word as a guiding light. It is the board’s mission to create a path forward for CCF, one that follows God’s vision for the organization while empowering donors to give strategically and impactfully.

 

Here is a list of our board members, past and present:

Current board members:

  • Roshun Austin
  • Brad Crawford
  • John Dudas
  • Tom Dyer
  • Ken Edmundson
  • Mark Forrester
  • Robert Frazee
  • Lee Greene 
  • Sarah Haizlip
  • Shelley Hill
  • Hamp Holcomb
  • John Laughlin
  • Larry Lloyd
  • Bill Martin
  • Bryan Miller
  • Douglass Skipworth
  • Ben Smith
  • Harry Smith
  • Michael Stockburger
  • Kemmons Wilson, Jr.
  • Stephanie Wilson

 

Past board members

  • Kirk Bailey
  • Nancy Coe
  • Howard Eddings
  • Kim Gaskill
  • Lee Gibson
  • Stuart Harris
  • Ashley Remmers
  • Jimmy Sexton
  • Lauren Young

 

What’s the role of our board?

The board’s role is to collectively guide the organization in a way that furthers the Kingdom and encourages Biblical stewardship. Our board members are a part of internal committees that work together toward a common goal in a specific portion of the organization. For example, the event committee works to organize and plan CCF events such as the Annual Power of Giving Celebration, and the education committee works to deepen connections and understanding of CCF among financial partners. Our board serves as a guiding light with our donors’ best interests at heart.

As a donor, do they know who I am?

Anonymity is an important pillar of CCF’s. We never share our donor list, even with our board members. While the board reviews grant requests, they are not told who requested any of the grants. This is to protect your anonymity – ensuring your privacy and allowing you to focus on the giving. Our board members are not privy to any information regarding donors.

How can I get to know the board?

While getting to know the board isn’t essential to your CCF experience, they can serve as a great resource to you if you do choose to engage with them. If you’re interested in reaching out to our board members, please contact CCF’s director of donor relations Stephanie Jones at stephanie@ccfmemphis.com. Stephanie will happily relay any messages, comments or concerns to our board and put you in touch with them if necessary.

Congratulations to this year’s board members, new and returning. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish for CCF and Christ’s kingdom.

 

Giving locally versus giving globally

There are many ways to donate and make a difference around the world or in your backyard, but which is calling to you? Christ commands us to love each other and offer ourselves to those in need, whether they are in our community or across the world.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:8-11)

God’s word calls us to give faithfully, but let your heart lead you to where you’re called to give. Local donations support your community and can have an impact on your day-to-day life. Memphis is a city filled with opportunities to give your time and money in an effort to make a difference in community lives. 

When you give locally, you have the opportunity to see the firsthand implications of your donation. You see where your donations are used, you employ locals, create positive relationships and more! 

Choosing to donate outside of your community still impacts your heart and the lives of others. Giving more globally can mean that your monetary gift goes much further and depending on the location, your donation could make a larger tangible impact. Choosing to donate outside of your community also gives you a wider range of nonprofits and causes to support. 

If you decide to donate money nationally or globally, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to invest locally! Community service and volunteerism has just as much of an impact as monetary donations. You can support organizations abroad while still investing time in your community. 

Deciding where to give can be both exciting and overwhelming, which is why we are here to help you navigate the path toward giving. If you have any questions about deciding where to give or how you can get started, please contact us at (901) 682-6201.

 

Finding the best fund for you

At the Christian Community Foundation, we have many ways for you to easily invest in the community. While traditional donor-advised funds are the most popular option, there are several options that might better suit your unique giving desires. When you’re planning to start a new fund, our team can help you identify the fund-type that is best for you. Here are the two most popular options you can pursue through CCF:

Legacy Fund

A legacy fund through the Christian Community Foundation ensures that your charitable donations live on. Upon your death, your legacy fund will continue to make charitable donations on your behalf to the nonprofit organization(s) of your choice. This fund creates more than a lifetime worth of support – it creates a charitable legacy for your family, friends and loved ones to continue in your honor. If your account is designated as a donor-advised fund – don’t worry. The parameters you outlined at the onset of your relationship with CCF will apply in the event you should pass. If you’d like to update or revise plans related to your DAF, reach out to CCF. 

Scholarship Fund

Investing charitable dollars into education is one of the greatest gifts you can leave to future generations. Many of our donors choose to develop a scholarship fund at the university, college or school of their choice. We can connect our donors to the appropriate school department to manage the scholarship development process directly with the university. If you choose to pursue this arrangement, you can make scholarship contributions directly out of your existing donor-advised fund account. However, you can also create a dedicated scholarship fund through the Christian Community Foundation if that is your wish. Contact our team to learn more about this account type. 

While these are excellent options, there are many more funds to consider when you’re seeking to start your philanthropic journey. The Christian Community Foundation makes it easy for you to answer God’s call to give. If you have any questions about which fund is best for you or how you can get started, please contact us at (901) 682-6201.