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Record Eagle Forum: Charitable giving faces significant changes

posted December 24, 2017

Twenty-five years ago, a group of local leaders hatched a plan that resulted in the creation of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. This beginning relied on committed leaders and an inspiring vision for what a community foundation could mean for our region.

Your community foundation serves Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties and is home to endowments that serve community need, now and forever. Our endowments benefit all areas of our communities: arts and culture, the environment, youth, education, health and human services and everything in between.

In year one, we experienced the development of about $100,000 in assets and about $12,000 in grants. Fast forward 25 years and the Community Foundation has received gifts large and small from more than 16,000 donors and has awarded a total of more than $50 million in grants to more than 3,000 grantees that do the work every day of delivering meaningful programs, services and opportunities that enrich lives across our region.

At the end of our 25th year, donors have helped create assets of nearly $60 million, we award more than $2 million in grants annually, and we are poised for the next 25 years and beyond.

Yet, there are significant challenges immediately ahead for philanthropy as we enter 2018. At the national level, changes in benefits for charitable giving, itemized deductions, and other revisions in the tax code will have significant impact.

The Tax Cuts and Job Act was been passed by both House and Senate and will be signed by President Donald Trump in January. The Council on Foundations noted that “…Tax Cuts and Job Act will serve to severely diminish charitable giving by estimates of anywhere between $16 and $24 billion…We are looking at an inevitable decrease in charitable giving across our sector.”

At this time of year, we all seem a bit more giving and willing to share what we have with others. At the Community Foundation, we celebrate all who have given and continue to give. Yes, there are challenges ahead and it will be critical to be advocates for philanthropy as it has crucial impact on all areas of our region and is essential in building strong, vibrant, healthy communities.

Read Forum on Record-Eagle.com.


Phil Ellis, Ph.D., Community Foundation Executive Director
e: plellis@gtrcf.org | p: 231-935-4066

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