Lifelong Princeton native (and new Foundation Trustee) Michael Feldstein recently admitted that he wished he listened to a friend many years ago. That friend (who happens to be our own Foundation Trustee, Jerry Neumann) advised him to open a Donor Advised Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation. Michael did not immediately act on that piece of advice, but he vividly recalls the conversation and wishes that he acted sooner.
When asked why he and wife Lori eventually opened their Donor Advised Fund, Michael explains all the reasons – both practical and personal. First and foremost, it’s a cost-effective way to make charitable donations, and it provides great tax benefits. It’s also easy (especially when using one’s online account, which also serves as a database for tracking all your giving.) Finally, it’s fiscally useful. In other words, your money keeps growing.
On a personal level, Michael and Lori value using a Donor Advised Fund because when they recommend grants to a variety of causes – from a university to a medical research organization to a social service agency – those donations show up as “Jewish dollars.” The grants are disbursed as checks from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer, reinforcing the Jewish people’s commitment to charity (Tzedakah) and repairing the work (Tikkun Olam). It simply reflects positively on our Jewish heritage and culture.
The Donor Advised Fund also provides Michael and Lori with an opportunity to talk with their three kids about the importance of philanthropy. As they actively use the Fund to make grants to causes that resonate with them, Michael and Lori are serving as role models for their children. They are also leaving their kids with a blueprint – a guide for the types of organizations to support that reinforce the family’s values and priorities. In short, the Donor Advised Fund is a vehicle for Michael and Lori to leave a Jewish legacy.