Charitable Checking Accounts make donating to local organizations simple

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Charitable Checking Accounts make donating to local organizations — or any IRS-approved charity across the globe — as simple as point and click from one website.

And senior citizens who prefer to leave technology to the grandkids can pick up the phone and request donations, talking to the same person every donation.

There’s more. Charitable Checking Accounts are managed locally through the Dayton Foundation, the area’s largest community foundation. Seniors — almost any adult, actually — can open an account at no charge. And no minimum deposit is required, according to the foundation website. Those interested can also call 937-225-9954.

Michelle Lovely, senior vice president of Development and Donor Services at the Dayton Foundation, notes that the free program was instituted 40-plus years ago by the foundation’s first president, Fred Bartenstein, and board president, Frederick C. Smith Jr., so “everyone would have an opportunity to participate and be a philanthropist.”

Seniors who want to simplify and better coordinate their annual giving also reap tax advantages, adds Lovely, because you deposit funds and take the deduction in the depositing year, even if you send donations to nonprofits in subsequent years. It’s a great way to time deductions.

“You have a little charitable piggy bank for future years,” says Lovely.

You can deposit appreciated assets such as stocks, bonds or mutuals funds, she adds. Or real estate. Most types of assets. “It’s a double benefit. No capital gains plus the write-off.”

Not only does the Dayton Foundation mail or electronically transfer funds to charities at your direction, but it also verifies organizations’ tax status and sends you the right documentation at tax filing time.

“The Dayton Foundation knows how to manage and distribute money,” says John Farrell, a Kettering resident whose family has had a Charitable Checking Account for more than a decade. They manage family giving to their church as well as to one-time events and pledges.

Plus he says he appreciates the secure online portal where he can contribute to his account, get daily updates and check gift history.

Lovely notes the portal also makes it easy to set up recurring gifts. Gifts can also be made anonymously.

While convenient, Lovely says the foundation understands that online isn’t for everyone. Giving can also be managed with paper donor request forms.

And Charitable Checking Accounts don’t complicate estate planning. Lovely adds. Account holders can instruct the Dayton Foundation on how to distribute their charitable funds, or they can name an advisor to direct distribution.

In addition to individuals, groups can use Charitable Checking Accounts to raise funds for nonprofits. For example, church members can open an account to raise funds to purchase a new church organ, says Lovely. Donated funds must go to a verified nonprofit.

In essence, groups legally use the foundation’s nonprofit status and give donors a tax deduction.

“We can give groups a QR code,” notes Lovely, so potential donors can click in from fund requests and donate directly to the account.

Local authors Dean and Rose Waggenspack discovered Charitable Checking Accounts after months navigating IRS forms and web pages, hoping to create a fund benefiting a St. Croix hospital in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

While vacationing there in 2022, Dean Waggenspack was pulled underground in a tidal pool and trapped in a pitch-black tunnel lined with volcanic rock. Plunged underwater every few minutes, Dean’s lungs were filling with salt water. Miraculously, locals found him and pulled him to safety.

Airlifted to Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital in serious condition, medical personnel helped save Dean’s life. When Dean and Rose wrote The Ledge and the Abyss to document their journey, they wanted to give back to the hospital, which had sustained heavy damage from two 2018 hurricanes.

The Dayton Foundation helped the couple establish an account to benefit the hospital. The foundation even provided a link for potential donors on The Ledge and the Abyss site.

“(The Dayton Foundation) manages the IRS paperwork — all the backend accounting,” says Dean. “They take care of every bit of the work.”

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