hand holding growing money

A New Look at Transfer of Wealth

Imagine the difference we could make in our community if $55 million in grants were available to our local nonprofit organizations each year.

By Thomas Griffith

Winter 2019

Imagine the difference we could make in our community if $55 million in grants were available to our local nonprofit organizations each year. For reference, the Community Foundation currently deploys about $3 million per year from its general funds towards community grants and strategic initiatives. That means we could distribute nearly 20 times more support to vital community programs each year, forever! 

This was our motivation in 2010 when the Community Foundation took part in a nationwide study conducted by the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, which analyzed household wealth data and the assets expected to transfer to the baby boomer generation through probated estates by the end of the decade. As 2019 comes to a close, we refocus on this issue of wealth transfer and in many ways see that the opportunity has just begun. 

The researchers who first looked into the wealth of our nation and the expected transfer between generations updated their predictions over the past five years. Not only has their estimate increased by 50 percent, but due to factors like medical advances that let people live longer and more donors “giving while living,” the busiest era for wealth transfer is now expected to be on the horizon rather than in the rearview mirror. 

Applying the updated predictions to our own five-county region is encouraging. Not only should we expect higher amounts of wealth transfer, we should also expect more charitable giving in that wealth transfer. Over the past decade we have been focusing on ways to encourage people in Central New York to support local nonprofits. Specifically, our 5forCNY campaign has gained traction and now many people are treating the community as one of the heirs in their financial and estate plans. At the Community Foundation alone, the number of planned legacy and estate commitments – which will benefit a wide range of local charities and causes – has more than doubled!

For advisors, this is encouraging too! Not only does this mean a more vibrant region with increased local charitable support, but the impact that this support provides will remain connected to the families that you are working with today. As they include charitable gifts as part of their legacies, this may lead to more of your clients maintaining multi-generational connections here in Central New York.

Taking action based on these findings is easy. YOU CAN DO IT BY SIMPLY ASKING YOUR CLIENTS TWO QUESTIONS:

  1. Do you have charities that you care about?
  2. If so, would you like to include those organizations in your financial and estate plans?

If needed, we are available as a resource to help with any of your clients’ charitable planning needs. As we continue our 5forCNY campaign into its second decade, we expect the impact of our promotions and community outreach on this topic to grow. Already, more and more people who come to the Community Foundation mention the 5forCNY mantra: “You’ve lived here. You’ve worked here. This community is part of who you are.” They feel the same way and want to give back with a gift to the region’s future. 

If the community gets behind the importance of charitable bequests, generous donors could build funds that would exponentially increase the current amount of foundation grants available to enhance our community. That number would grow even more in the decades to come, thanks to the power of endowment. Imagine the magnitude of positive change that could be made in our region. It would mean improved health and human services, more initiatives to care for children and teens, new arts and cultural endeavors that drive economic development, and increased attention to our neighborhoods and educational attainment – resulting in a better quality of life for everyone. 

If you would like to discuss this topic further or learn about options to make a difference with your plan or your clients’ plans, please feel free to contact Tom Griffith, vice president, development, at 315-883-5544 or tgriffith@cnycf.org

We invite you to view our Transfer of Wealth video at www.5forCNY.org and share it with your clients as well.

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