Tag Archives: Helaine Olen

Why the IRA Charitable Rollover is a Big Deal

It’s not often that good news comes out of Congress these days. But the nonprofit sector should give Congress credit for a provision in the federal budget that was passed in December.

First, a disclaimer: I am not making any judgment on the overall $1.1 trillion budget package. Without a doubt, there’s plenty in there to set my blood boiling. But for the purposes of this article, I simply want to address Congress’s decision to authorize what is known as “the permanent IRA charitable rollover provision.”

And here’s a second disclaimer: I’m not an attorney or a CPA, and I urge donors and charitable organizations to consult with their financial advisors to see what works best for them.

Anyway, in the last several weeks I’ve seen dozens of ecstatic notices from philanthropic associations and nonprofits praising this Congressional action, but most of the excited email blasts and blog posts don’t explain why exactly this particular action matters. Continue reading

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My recent blog post, “Wall Street Muscles In,” certainly got some attention: my largest readership ever for a single post, and a record number of comments both in this space and on LinkedIn, where people from around the country (nonprofit executives and financial services folks, mostly) debated my indictment of the commercial gift fund industry.

The majority of the comments on these various sites were positive, but one individual accused me of unfairly impugning the integrity of the financial services industry. He wrote, “There is an undertone that those [financial] advisors using donor-advised funds are somehow unethical because they are wanting to hold onto money to manage. A good advisor will listen to his client/donor and find the best solution, whatever it is. If he or she is simply standing between the ‘real’ charity and the donor, of course, that’s improper, but I may have a little more faith in the advisory community than you.”

Indeed, my critic does have more faith than I in the financial advisory community. Continue reading

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Baby Boom and Bust

It’s not always fun being a Baby Boomer. Nobody calls us the Greatest Generation – those are our parents. We’re not the cool, creative generation – those are our kids. And because we’re so numerous, people, in hushed tones, describe the demographic onslaught when we retire as a tsunami that will destroy Social Security. Sometimes it seems that we’re not so much a generation of human beings as a problem needing to be managed.

But on to a happier (or so it seems) topic: What’s the role Baby Boomers are playing in philanthropy today? And how will that change in the future? Continue reading

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