By November 3, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

InterView-The Giving Couple

Thanks for Giving in Modesto By Chris Murphy

I have just finished an amazing busy month. The MAMA Awards are one of my favorite times of the year as it is the most amazing one night of music in Modesto. Seeing all of the different genres, all of the radio stations, the venues, bars and restaurants all together, it makes you realize what we can do if we collaborate and all lend a hand. I also finished working on the Modesto Arch restoration project that all came together through a huge group of people joining together to make a difference and the result was a huge new dose ofcivic pride and a restored arch that was re-lit on Oct 26. I was honored to be the MC for the evening.

As we move into fall, we dub this season “fundraiser season”. This is the season of giving and as we approach Thanksgiving, the spirit of giving is in the air and it is also when the needs are the greatest. There are so many local organizations that are in need of funding and volunteer time and there are no shortage of events and request that citizens are being asked to attend and consider. How do you know what do to? Where should you go to lend a hand? This month, we brought in adynamic team to share some giving insights. We welcome our “giving couple” Kenni and Lou Friedman.

I got to know Kenni back when she was an educator and was setting up the MGM/Gate program in the mid 70s. She was a visionary then about that programs would help serve people and students. Today, she is one of the most dedicated citizens and has championed many of the projects that were shared by Bette Belle Smith will keep the needs of our community front and center. Let’s learn from Kenni and Lou.

As we ramp up to the Salvation Army Kettle Kick Off, where Kenni is one of the Christmas Angel Fundraisers, we asked her, what makes Modesto special when it comes to community volunteering and what are our greatest needs.

“Modesto is amazing when it comes to giving and volunteerism. Many Salvation Armies call us for information about out Kettle Kick-Off. This fundraiser takes hours of volunteer time and effort nonetheless community members love the reward of giving to those most vulnerable. “Love Modesto” is another example of community volunteerism and many other cities are replicating what has been started here.

The biggest need is making sure our children are given the tools to be good citizens; to have a good education and to stay in school. That’s why I am involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Stanislaus County. We will need volunteers who love to work with children and are willing to share their talents.

I want to stress that you need to give time and funds to the area where you have the passion. With that you are able to get others to support you in your cause. Ask yourself, what do I do that gives me the most satisfaction. What are the skills I can offer? Look for the nonprofit that matches your skills and interest and inquire as to how you can help.

I volunteer for organizations where I have a passion and where there is the greatest need. I came from a family where volunteerism was an expectation, whether it was helping a neighbor or an organization, you just did it”

If you think you are busy or stretched too thin, check out what this turbo volunteer is involved in. Currently, Kenni serves with these organizations: The Salvation Army Kettle Kick-Off, the Salvation Army One-Night Out dinners for 2013, launching Boys and Girls Club of Stanislaus County, Gallo Center for the Arts Board, Veterans Day Citizen of the Year, Helen White Trail, American Leadership Forum, Great Valley Center, UC Merced Foundation, Regional Board for Sutter Health, Education Foundation of Stanislaus County, Commonwealth Modesto and Rotary Information Committee. She just finished the United Way Power of the Purse luncheon helping women and children in our community.

Kenni Friedman has a BS and MBA from UCLA. She was on the Modesto City Council for 10 years, is a past chair of the San Joaquin Unified Air Pollution Control District and Stanislaus County Council of Governments. She served on the Memorial Hospitals Board of Directors, the Sutter Health Board of Directors and the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation Board. She is a past president of the Modesto Rotary Club and currently chairs the Information Committee. Kenni has received awards for her nonprofit work from UCLA, California State Senate, Sierra Health, Chamber of Commerce Robert Cardoza Award, Stanislaus County Outstanding Women, Nonprofit Professionals and the Children’s First Award from Center for Human Services.

Lou Friedman is the other half of the Kenni Friedman giving team. He served as CFO for Gallo Winery for many years and now is a family estate planning attorney with the Gianelli Group. We asked Lou what people can do from a financial planning point of view to create sustained giving programs. The reason we asked this now was to give you all plenty of time before the end of the year. His directions were simple.

You want to make your giving as tax efficient as possible. Some ideas are: 1) Give stock that has gone up in value (and that you have held for at least one year.) You get a deduction for the full market value and never pay capital gains tax on the appreciation.

2) Time your contribution so you get the most advantage. a) If you need a deduction this year, give appreciated stock or cash to a ‘donordirected fund’. This gives you an immediate deduction for your gift, and you can direct the fund to distribute to public charities in your name in the future. Donor directed funds require a larger gift to set up the fund, but after that there can be smaller gifts and the fund balance does not need to be maintained. Funds include Stanislaus Community Foundation (minimum initial gift $10,000), Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program (minimum gift $25,000), Fidelity Charitable (minimum gift $10,000), and every major brokerage firm has a fund.

b) If you are close to being able to use the standard deduction for income taxes, make your 2013 charitable gifts in December 2012 and itemize deductions for 2012 and then take the standard deduction for 2013.

3) Give a used car, boat or RV. Almost every major charity has a program to take these assets and give you a deduction for the market value. Avoids the hassle of running an ad or Craig’s list and dealing with strangers.

4) Leave a gift on your death. a) IRAs and other retirement plans are great to leave. If your family takes them, they pay income tax on what they take out and get only a part of the value. The charity does not pay tax and gets the full value. b) Leave your home. You won’t need it after you are gone and you can get an income tax deduction now for signing over the future value to a charity.

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