Please note that December 31 falls on a Saturday this year. See below for implications related to FedEx deliveries, stock donations, and more.

Important Year-End Dates for FJC Account Holders

Grant Recommendations & Distributions: December 16, 2022.  This is the deadline for this year’s grant recommendations!  We know that many of your favorite charities plan big year-end campaigns.  Please help us make these critical resources count for your nonprofit partner’s fiscal year by making your recommendations before this deadline.  

Please note that grant recommendations made after December 16 (5PM Eastern Standard Time) may be approved and processed early in 2023. 

Contributions: December 31, 2022.  For your giving to FJC to qualify for a 2022 tax deduction, we must receive your contributions by December 31. Please note that December 31 falls on a Saturday this year, so in some cases we will need to modify our standard practices.

  • Electronic transfer recommended.  We recommend that cash contributions are sent by credit card, ACH, or wire transfer and received by FJC by December 31. (Please note that ACH transfers can take up to 5 business days to settle, so please plan accordingly). Using electronic payments ensures the most efficient crediting of your account. Please contact FJC for instructions. 
  • Contributions by check.  If you make contributions to your account by check, please note that checks that are sent via U.S. mail must be postmarked by December 31  to qualify as a 2022 tax deduction. Please note that due to the 31st falling on a Saturday, deliveries by other means (such as FedEx, DHL or others) must be received by Friday, December 30

Please make note of our NEW PERMANENT office address:

FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds

225 West 39th Street, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10018

(212) 714-0001

  • Contributions of securities and mutual fund shares. These should be made as soon as possible and received by FJC by Friday, December 30. (Please note that the 31st is a Saturday, and markets will be closed). Please notify us in advance of the transfer so we can promptly credit your fund. 
  • Contributions of other assets.  Real estate, restricted securities or privately held stock can be made, but require long lead times, so let us know ASAP.

Questions?  Contact us at fjc@fjc.org

Photo courtesy iStock.com/Michael Burrell

2022 Year-End Giving – A Conversation with FJC Board Member Neal Myerberg

As the end of the year approaches, FJC CEO Sam Marks interviewed FJC Board Member, Neal Myerberg, Principal at Myerberg Philanthropic Advisors, who consults with charitable organizations, foundations and philanthropists.  A transcript of the conversation, edited for length and clarity, is below.

Please note that FJC does not offer tax advice; any prospective donor should seek the advice of a qualified estate and/or tax professional to determine the consequence of his/her gift.

It’s a time of real uncertainty in the markets, with equity markets down for the year, plus rising inflation putting downward pressure on bond prices.  At a time when many donors are seeing their portfolios decline, how should donors think about year-end giving?

There’s no question that investors may not be feeling as flush as they did in prior years.  That said, long-term investors may still have capital gains from securities they bought many years ago.  It’s worth asking the question to their tax attorneys or planning professionals.

“Regardless of what the market is doing, it’s always a good time to plan.”

Neal Myerberg, Principal, Myerberg Philanthropic Advisors

It’s also good to remember that cash and appreciated stock aren’t the only assets that can be donated.  FJC has accepted real estate, cryptocurrency, illiquid or lightly traded stock in advance of an IPO.  These items can take a bit more lead time for be approved by FJC’s board committees, so I’d definitely encourage reaching out to Sam or Regina soon if people are looking to make these donations before the end of the year.

Are there any tried-and-true rules of thumb that philanthropically minded families should keep in mind, even in a down market?

Regardless of what the market is doing, it’s always a good time to plan.  You might review your account documents and make sure that you have Successor Recommenders identified. And maybe it’s a good time to involve those successors—family members, the next generation—in your giving.  Some donors engage in a family-wide “strategic plan” for their philanthropy. FJC encourages this and can even allow some or all of the costs of strategic consultants to be paid with funds in a donor’s DAF account.

For so many donors we work with, philanthropy is part of their legacy.  Whether they are identifying beloved organizations for final distributions, or setting up a Board-designated fund to live on in perpetuity, FJC is really committed to meeting its donors where they are and creating a customized solution for them. 

Could you offer one or two planning techniques that could be highly impactful for increasing our donors’ philanthropic capacity? Any little-known tactics that you wish more DAF account holders would consider?

FJC’s donors probably know that the Treasury Department has reinstated annual required minimum distributions for people who have inherited Individual Retirement Accounts. This is basically a reinterpretation of 2019’s Secure Act, which eliminated the “ten-year stretch”.  In plain language, this means that under this change someone inheriting an IRA who does not fall into the category of exceptions has to take all Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)–and pay taxes on them—within 10 years, instead of over their whole lifetime. 

IRA owners that want their beneficiaries to receive benefits for life are interested in considering other alternatives.  One solution may be to direct distribution of all or a portion of the IRA to a charitable remainder trust (CRT) after the lifetime of the IRA owner.  The trust would be constructed to make fixed rate payments to one or more beneficiaries for life. Thus, the beneficiaries of the IRA owner would not be limited, as direct heirs of the IRA, to a ten-year payout. At the end of the term of the CRT when all beneficiaries have passed away, the remaining assets may be distributed to a family DAF for recommendations by the next family generation; e.g. the children or heirs of the lifetime beneficiaries of the CRT.

Anything you’d like to highlight about our ever-changing tax code?

While the estate and gift tax unified credit continues to increase year-by-year, the provisions governing annual increases will sunset at the end of 2025.  Beginning in 2026, the unified credit will drop to approximately $6.2-6.5 million ($5 million base in 2010 indexed for inflation through 2025) or such amount as shall be enacted before then to govern estate and gift taxes from and after January 1, 2026.  In addition, the maximum federal gift and/or estate tax rate may increase from 40% to 45%., Taking advantage of the current unified credit amounts ought to be considered in estate planning by the end of 2022 and over the following three years. 

Ruth Messinger engages with the AJWS Global Justice Fellows in the Dominican Republic. Photo by Christine Han.

Ruth Messinger: A Philanthropic Legacy in Social Justice and Education (Blog)

As we look to the decade ahead, my husband and I have been thinking a lot about how our current and future philanthropy can continue to build on our life’s work, mine in local and global social justice, his in education and both of us in moving toward a more just and equitable city/nation/world.  We are now at the life stage when we are planning for the legacy we can leave to our adult children and grandchildren and to the causes we care about.  We are truly fortunate that we can consider philanthropy as a part of that legacy.

We’ve had a donor advised fund account at FJC for over twenty years, and during this time we have used it to make dozens of grants each year to organizations we know well and whose work we admire.  This has included, for me, regular annual gifts to  American Jewish World Service which I was privileged to lead for 18 years and where I still do some work; Surprise Lake Camp, the nation’s longest-running Jewish sleepaway camp, with which my family has had a relationship for over one hundred years; and SAJ, our synagogue for the last 52 years. 

“As we think about issues of succession and inheritance, we are taking the time to think bigger and more ambitiously about what our philanthropic resources can do…”

Ruth Messinger, FJC Donor

It has also included gifts to such significant organizations, inside and outside the Jewish community, as the Equal Justice Initiative, the Nation Fund for Independent Journalist, the American Civil Liberties Union, Hazon, Avodah and others. In addition, we have given substantial amounts of money to progressive tax-exempt 501(c)(3) voter mobilization organizations like Movement Voter Fund or Focus For Democracy.

As we think about issues of succession and inheritance, we are taking the time to think bigger and more ambitiously about what our philanthropic resources can do, and we are working with the team at FJC to take some of our ideas and put them into practice, acknowledging both our individual and our joint interests

I am in the process of drafting a will that will provide bequests to my three children and eight grandchildren and to my current and future great grandchildren, and then fund a family DAF account with my three children as authorized signatories.  In an accompanying memo to the will, I am doing two things.  I am letting them know what some of my causes are in case they want to keep some of those on their list and—more importantly—I am telling them how I hope the fund will operate.

I have tried, with my husband, to prioritize social justice and anti-racist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Equal Justice Initiative, to protect the human rights of all marginalized populations, and to address the immense challenges to voting rights, to immigrant rights and to climate change.  I hope that the Fund will consider making small closeout grants to some of the international organizations I have come to know and support through AJWS like Minga Peru, Beyond Borders, Aegis Trust, Fonkoze and UDEFEGUA.

“My husband and I have led incredibly meaningful lives of public service, which have continued even as we have left our CEO jobs.  For all of our accomplishments, we know the work of making a better world is never truly done.”

Ruth Messinger, FJC Donor

I am urging my children to decide how long they want to keep the fund alive.  I am counting on their involving the next generation in their funding considerations, create opportunities to discuss different options for these charitable dollars, and work to come to consensus about their decisions, but I’m also realistic. My kids have been warm and loving siblings, but their priorities may evolve in different directions.  So, if they feel that the process is causing conflict and they  want to divide the DAF account into three separate funds, that’s fine with me too.

My husband Andrew Lachman is taking a different planning approach with FJC. A longtime advocate and practitioner in public education, Andrew is passionate about supporting innovations in local school districts around the country that lead to demonstrated learning improvement.  He is bringing together a half-dozen experts with whom he has worked or whose work he admires who will help guide this national strategy.  This initiative is a work in progress.  Andrew is anticipating a family inheritance soon, and depending on a few factors, it’s possible he may be able to fund this effort with enough resources for it to have meaningful impact over a long period of time, starting while he is still alive.  How long should the work continue? Who should drive its activities?  Will it have paid staff? These are questions that are still to be determined, and we are working them out with the staff at FJC, including whether there may be a role for FJC in the initiative’s future stewardship.

My husband and I have led incredibly meaningful lives of public service, which have continued even as we have left our CEO jobs.  For all of our accomplishments, we know the work of making a better world is never truly done.  So our conversations about estate planning also mean talking about philanthropy.  We believe that inheritance is about more than just money and real estate; it’s an opportunity to impart values and influence what carries on to future generations.  That is what we hope we are doing with these decisions.

FJC’s blog series, “Why I Give…And How,” gives voice to some of our most committed and imaginative donors.

The author Ruth Messinger served on the New York City Council from 1978 to 1989, representing the Upper West Side, and served as Manhattan Borough President from 1990 to 1998.  She was the President of American Jewish World Service from 1998 to 2016.

Natalie Cimino and Sophia Trombold, new staff at FJC.

FJC Welcomes New Program Assistant and Grants Administrator

Please join us in welcoming the following new staff to FJC.

Natalie Cimino, Program Assistant, joined FJC soon after graduating Magna Cum Laude from the Dual Degree Program between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University from which she received a BA in Religion and a BA in Middle Eastern and European Languages and Culture. As Program Assistant Natalie will assist on the day to day operations of the Fiscal Sponsorship Program, including processing disbursements, performing due diligence on prospective applicants, and updating program participant reporting.

Sophia Trombold, Grants Administrator, graduated from Wesleyan University where earned a BA in both American Government and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. During her time at school, Sophia worked with a variety of non-profit organizations, involving herself in holistic criminal defense practices, innovative solutions to housing insecurity as well as language advocacy.  In her role as Grants Administrator, Sophia will administer the day to day operations of FJC’s grantmaking, including grant approvals, grant and organization due diligence, the disbursement process, and donor relations.

Contact information for Natalie, Sophia, and all of the FJC staff can be found on the About Us page.

Join FJC in celebrating the promotions of Tim Nicol and Karina Xelo, and welcoming new staff Rachel Goldman and Jasmina Uka.

Promotions and New Hires at FJC

We are happy to introduce the FJC community to the new faces and new roles that will bolster our team as we respond to the urgent needs of the nonprofit community.

Tim Nicol has been promoted to Senior Manager, Finance & Investments.  Tim joined FJC in 2015 and has become an integral part of our finance team, overseeing a breadth of FJC’s financial operations and stewarding relationships with multiple financial institution partners.  Please join us in congratulating Tim as he grows into a broader management role. 

Karina Xelo has been promoted to Grants Administrator.  Karina started with FJC in 2019, as Administrative Coordinator, and she was known for years as “the voice of FJC” for donors and partners calling our office.  We are thrilled that as Grants Administrator, Karina has stepped into an even more critical donor-facing role, coordinating the Board-approval of weekly grant recommendations and troubleshooting grant disbursements.

Please also welcome two new staff to FJC:

Rachel Goldman, Program Assistant for the Fiscal Sponsorship Program, joined FJC soon after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in History from Clark University, where she studied health systems and the challenges of implementing effective programs in underserved communities, including mental health. Rachel is passionate about writing, and her published work has covered topics as varied as long form essays, playwriting and analyses of popular culture. 

Jasmina Uka, Administrative Coordinator, earned a BA in Political Science and minor in Legal studies with a Manga Sum Laude distinction at the City College of New York. Throughout her time in college, Jasmina has been active in various voluntary clubs and programs, serving on the Alumni Board of the S Jay Levy Fellowship, which supports students with strong academic performance records and pronounced career aspirations. Jasmina has seen firsthand the impact of non-profit organizations and looks forward to accelerating her non-profit career at FJC.

For more information about our staff and board, as well as our latest financial statements, please visit our About page.

Webinar Recap: Developing a Strategy for Your Giving

Donors large and small can amplify their impact with more intentional, strategic approaches to their philanthropy.  This was the major takeaway from a recent webinar with Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield, founder and principal of Philanthropy Advisors, LLC.  The webinar was moderated and hosted by Sam Marks, Chief Executive Officer of FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds.

The webinar is first in a series in which FJC, a boutique foundation of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) and other philanthropic accounts, provides access to expertise from seasoned philanthropic consultants.  As a commitment to making philanthropic dollars more effective and meaningful, FJC allows its donors to pay for limited engagements with philanthropic consultants using funds in their Donor Advised Fund (DAF) accounts.

“The conversation always starts with values, because that underlies the entire practice of philanthropy.”  

Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield, Founder & Principal, Philanthropy Advisors, LLC

Ms. Shenfield’s consultancy works with individuals, families, and private foundations at the intersection of personal, family, and philanthropic goals.  “The conversation always starts with values,” she explains, “because that underlies the entire practice of philanthropy.”  This is true whether she is working with donors who want to begin their philanthropic journey or with long-time donors who have amassed significant assets, the conversations always start with values.

The webinar presented some case studies of client relationships that resulted in more meaningful and effective philanthropy.  These included a family with multiple siblings who needed support aligning their priorities in the wake of a patriarch’s passing, and an individual who benefited from both focus and skill-building in developing a strategy.

Mr. Marks spoke of the way Ms. Shenfield’s practice complements the resources and expertise at FJC.  “Our staff and our board members are always happy to brainstorm and bring our expertise and relationships to our donors,” observed Mr. Marks, “but sometimes donors need a more sustained, strategic engagement, and that’s where you really can add some value.”  

“[We] are always happy to brainstorm and bring our expertise and relationships to our donors, but sometimes donors need a more sustained, strategic engagement.”

Sam Marks, CEO, FJC – A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds

In terms of advice that donors can use to start their journey immediately, Ms. Shenfield suggested that donors:

  • Seek truth – about yourself, your family and others who might be involved.
  • Prioritize – make your plan important in your life, and don’t let it sink to the bottom of your to-do list.
  • Avoid Distraction – engage in a giving practice that draws on your skills and expertise.

Finally, building on her early career as a journalist, Ms. Shenfield recommends that donors start with the “5 W’s”: Who should be involved your giving? What do you care about? When do you want to make grants, in your lifetime or do you want them to last in perpetuity? Where do you want to have an impact?  And why?

Ms. Shenfield’s long history working with FJC includes customized philanthropic solutions for clients.  In consultation with Ms. Shenfield, FJC hosted for several years an awards program on behalf of Anonymous Was a Woman, which provides grants that enable women artists, over 40 years of age and at a significant juncture in their lives or careers, to continue to grow and pursue their work.  FJC also acted as the fiscal sponsor for Toby Perl Freilich,producer of “Inventing Our Life,” a documentary film about the kibbutz movement.

For more, view the full webinar here.  The recording includes the full Q&A session that covered topics such as: the use of DAFs compared with private foundations, impact investing, the mechanics of succession for DAFs, and more.

Photo courtesy iStock.com/Michael Burrell

Anticipating Changes to the U.S. Tax Code – A Conversation with FJC Board Member Neal Myerberg

In anticipation of possible changes to U.S. Tax Code, FJC CEO Sam Marks interviewed FJC Board Member, Neal Myerberg, Principal at Myerberg Philanthropic Advisors, who consults with charitable organizations, foundations and philanthropists.  A transcript of the conversation, edited for length and clarity, is below.

Please note that FJC does not offer tax advice; any prospective donor should seek the advice of a qualified estate and/or tax professional to determine the consequence of his/her gift.

Sam Marks: We know that changes the U.S. tax code may be coming, but we still don’t know which policy proposals will become law.  Should FJC donors be planning for a future that’s still uncertain?

Neal Myerberg: Yes.  While we still don’t know many of the details, the general shape of the coming tax reform is coming into focus.  There is a lot that FJC donors can do in 2021, particularly as it relates to charitable giving, that could position them well for 2022 and future years.

“While we still don’t know many of the details, the general shape of tax reform is coming into focus. There is a lot that FJC donors can do in 2021, particularly as it relates to charitable giving, that could position them well for 2022 and future years.”

FJC Board Member Neal Myberberg

Sam Marks: So, what do we know and what don’t we know?

Neal Myerberg: As of October 2021 there are still some key differences between the Biden Administration tax proposals and what’s under discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives.  We can expect a lot of horse trading and negotiations in the coming months. The U.S. Senate will also play a role in tax legislation.   

So the exact details are still to be determined, but there are a few areas where it appears that consensus is emerging in terms of what may become law next year.

The first relates to income tax rates.  Proposed changes include raising the top individual federal income tax rate to 39.6% from its current level of 37% and extending the 12.4% portion of the Social Security tax — which is shared by employers and employees — to earnings over $400,000. Currently, wages up to $137,700 are subject to the tax.  Biden has also called for the federal capital gains rate to rise to 39.6% for taxpayers with income over $1 million. Currently, wealthy investors face long-term capital gains rates of up to 20%.  The House is proposing different rates and mechanisms, but their proposals also anticipate increased tax rates.

So there seems to be consensus from DC policymakers that income and capital gains rates are likely to go up. 

The second major change we can anticipate is to the estate tax.  The Biden Administration would eliminate the step-up in basis, which allows heirs to receive assets valued as of the date of death as basis for subsequent sales. Instead, any capital gains from the sale of inherited assets would be subject to tax using the decedent’s basis which if it were to be implemented would require wealthy households to make significant changes to their estate planning.  The Administration also proposes to reduce the amount that an individual can transfer free of estate and gift taxes from $11.7 million (in 2021) to $3.5 million for transfers at death and $1 million in lifetime gifts.  The tax rate above the exempt amount may be 40% or higher.  Again, the House plan differs considerably (and does not advocate eliminating the step-up in basis), but it also proposes reducing the exemption level from $11.7 million to $6 million, among other changes.

 The specifics are still uncertain, but it seems clear that more families will be subject to the federal estate tax, and probably at higher rates.

Sam Marks: So given that these changes are coming, what planning ideas should families be exploring with their advisors?

Neal Myerberg: I have four general planning suggestions.

One, harvest long-term capital gains before the end of 2021.  If you have appreciated assets, whether it’s publicly-traded stock or something else, you may want to take steps to realize those gains before the end of the year. Donating them to charity may also make sense for some families. Donations may be outright or to establish various life income vehicles.

Second, accelerate receipt of income before the end of 2021. If you have a bonus or deferred compensation that you can take in 2021 instead of next year, that may be advisable.

Third, apply some of all of the current unified gift and estate tax credit ($11.7 million) before the end of 2021 to particularly remove appreciating assets from your estate.  There are a variety of ways to accomplish this including the use of a charitable lead trust to pass assets generationally at low gift or estate tax costs.

Finally, and this may be relevant to donors at FJC, consider using a Charitable Remainder  Trust (CRT) for succession planning.  This is particularly relevant when planning for after-life transfers of IRA assets which are now subject to the 10-year withdrawal rule for most beneficiaries.  The remainder interest in the CRT can be designated for the family’s donor advised fund at FJC.

Photo courtesy of iStock.com/A-S-L

Year-End Dates For FJC Account Holders

As we head into November, we wanted to advise you of a few important deadlines:

Grant Recommendations & Distributions: December 17, 2021.  This is the deadline for this year’s grant recommendations!  We know that many of your favorite charities plan big year-end campaigns.  Please help us make these critical resources count for your nonprofit partner’s fiscal year by making your recommendations before this deadline.  

Please note that grant recommendations made after December 17 (5PM Eastern Standard Time) may be approved and processed early in 2022. 

Contributions: December 31, 2021.  For your giving to FJC to qualify for a 2021 tax deduction, we must receive your contributions by December 31. 

  • Electronic transfer recommended.  We recommend that cash contributions are sent by credit card, ACH, or wire transfer and received by FJC by December 31. (Please note that ACH transfers can take up to 5 business days to settle, so please plan accordingly). Using electronic payments ensures the most efficient crediting of your account. Please contact FJC for instructions. 
  • Contributions by check.  If you make contributions to your account by check, please note that checks that are sent via U.S. mail must be postmarked by December 31 to qualify as a 2021 tax deduction. Deliveries by other means (such as FedEx, DHL or others) must be received by December 31. 
  • Contributions of securities and mutual fund shares. These should be made as soon as possible and received by FJC by December 31. Please notify us in advance of the transfer so we can promptly credit your fund.
  • Contributions of other assets.  Real estate, restricted securities or privately held stock can be made, but require long lead times, so let us know ASAP.

If sending checks, please note our current temporary mailing address:

FJC, 31 West 34th Street, Suite 8026, New York, NY 10018

FJC Welcomes Staff Accountant Gloribel Lopez

In June, 2021 Gloribel Lopez joined the finance team at FJC.  Gloribel holds a B.S. in accounting from Lehman College. She has a strong passion for community service and has dedicated part of her life to support children and teens in need by facilitating life skills workshops. She believes that community service has shaped her life by nurturing the importance of giving to others and understanding that one person can make a difference.  FJC is Gloribel’s first job in the philanthropic sector following accounting positions at companies in the manufacturing and financial services industries.

FJC Welcomes Program Assistant Gabrielle Tran

Please join FJC in welcoming Gabrielle Tran, who began her role as Program Assistant this fall. Gabi is a recent graduate of Rutgers University where she earned a B.S. in Public Health with high honors. She has demonstrated a deep commitment to the nonprofit sector, interning at organizations like American Cancer Society and Cancer Support Community, as well as helping start up Welcome to Chinatown, a grassroots initiative to support Chinatown businesses following the rapid decline in business as a result of COVID-19 and increased xenophobia. Gabi will be working on our Fiscal Sponsorship Program, providing operational support to over 140 organizations and programs under FJC’s 501(c)(3) umbrella.