Dear Friends of the Christian Brothers,

If you are reading this it is probably because you care about the Christian Brothers and support them. More than likely, you also support one or more of our schools and possibly several other charities. In this series, we will mention some common questions, misconceptions, and tips about giving. Some of these you may look at and say, “Well, of course!” Maybe others will make you say, “I didn’t think of that.”

If you have questions or would like to discuss any of these ideas further, please feel free to contact me, Patrick Donahue, at (732) 380-7926, ext. 112, or at donahue@fscdena.org.

*These tips are not intended to be legal advice. Before you finalize any charitable gift plan, please consult your financial and/or tax advisors to make sure it is right for your specific circumstance.

Lasallian Heritage Society

We would like to recognize and thank the following individuals who have informed the Brothers that we are being remembered in their wills or other estate plans. If you have remembered the Brothers, but do not see your name here, or if you have questions about enrolling in the Lasallian Heritage Society, please contact Patrick Donahue in our District office at (732) 380-7926, or at donahue@fscdena.org. 

Mrs. Barbara A. Adamcik

Mr. William R. Baillie

Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Bergen

Ms. Marietta Bilardi

Mr. & Mrs. William T. Boyd, Jr.

Mr. & Mrs. John T. Boyle

Mr. & Mrs. John T. Breijo

Jerome H. Brodish, MD

Mr. & Mrs. Desmond X. Butler

Mr. & Mrs. John Califano

Mr. Conrad A. Calvano, Sr.

Mrs. Alice Taylor Carey

Mr. Anthony J. Carlo

Mrs. Mary F. Carney

Mr. Edwin J. Cartoski

Mrs. Mary Ellen Caulfield

Mrs. Jeanne M. Ciancetta

Mr. Maurice L. Costello

Mrs. Barbara A. Covello

Mrs. Kathleen M. Coyle

Mrs. Carolann Coyne

Mr. & Mrs. William N. Coyne

Mr. Robert M. Cozzi

Mr. Rich Creehan

Mr. Albert W. Crew

Mr. & Mrs. John M. Cullen

Mr. & Mrs. John P. Dalton

Mr. Anthony A. DaPonte

Mr. & Mrs. Rocco J. Demo

Mr. & Mrs. Francis M. Devaney

Mr. Joseph G. Devanney

Mrs. Audrey Dix

Rev. James I. Donlon, AFSC

Mr. Sean Duffy

Mrs. Marie Elko

Mrs. Catherine Fallon

Mrs. Arlene M. FitzPatrick

Mr. & Mrs. John Flynn

Mr. & Mrs. Gary J. Gagliano

Mrs. Jennie M. Gilliland

Mr. Robert G. Gorman

Mr. Robert D. Greason

Mr. & Mrs. John W. Gural

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gutowski

Mr. & Mrs. Mark D. Hall

Ms. Katharine A. Hammeke

Mr. & Mrs. Edward C. Hartmann

Mr. & Mrs. Francis J. Heneghan

Ms. Patrice M. Henning

Mr. Charles J. Henry

Mr. & Mrs. Robert P. Hester

Mr. Eugene F. Horan

Mr. Robert J. Ivory

Mr. J. Andrew Jackowski

Ms. Maureen Jones

Mr. John E. Joseph

Mr. Christopher Jungers

Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Kamieniarz

Mr. Patrick J. Keogh

Mrs. Mary I. Kramer

Mr. Walter L. Kraszewski

Ms. Mary J. Kunzler

Mr. & Mrs. John J. Lambert

Mr. Francis R. Lewis

Mr. Peter B. Lodewick

Mr. Matthew Lord

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas J. Lynch

Mr. Robert H. Mace, Jr.

Mr. & Mrs. William J. Maraist, Jr.

Mr. Edward G. Martin

Br. William Martin, FSC

Mrs. Arlene McCaffrey

Mr. Francis J. McCarvill

Rev. R. Thomas McConaghy

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel G. McConnell

Mr. & Mrs. Dermot J. McDonnell

Mr. & Mrs. James J. McKay

Mr. James M. McMonagle

Mrs. Barbara McOscar

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel J. Moloney

Mr. & Mrs. Patrick J. Moran

Mr. & Mrs. Michael J. Morseberger

Mr. & Mrs. Don A. Mulholland

Mr. & Mrs. Paul F. Murphy

Mrs. Lucille Naughton

Ms. Sheila M. Nolan

Mr. & Mrs. Ronald A. Normand

Mr. G. Dennis O’Brien

Mr. Robert E. O’Brien

Mr. & Mrs. George Ojeda

Mr. & Mrs. Bernard P. O’Prey

Mr. John F. Palisi

Mr. & Mrs. John J. Quindlen

Mr. & Mrs. Jeremiah Quinlan

Mrs. Kathleen V. Quinn

Mr. Raymond Raedy

Mrs. Helen L. Randall

Mr. John J. Reilly

Ms. Pamela Rukavena

Mr. Daniel Ruppert

Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence P. Schurek

Mr. & Mrs. Rosario Sciglio

Dr. & Mrs. James T. Sedlock

Mr. & Mrs. Richard L. Sheer

Mr. Mark G. Storz

Mrs. Frank D. Sullivan

Mr. Mark A. Sullivan

Mrs. Eileen M. Sussmann

Mr. Raymond Tabano & 

   Mrs. Lorraine D. Capasso-Tabano

Mrs. Virginia L. Tannacore

Mr. & Mrs. Edward J. Thompson

Mrs. Antoinette Tierney

John & Mary Lou Voge

Mrs. Linda B. Wagner

Mr. James L. Walsh

Mr. Thomas G. Waterman

Mr. & Mrs. Rudolf J. Weiss

Mr. John J. Yanas, BFSC

Mrs. Roseanne N. Ziff

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ziminski

Mr. Mark Zirnheld

Are monthly donations considered “Special Gifts”?

While they do not fit the description of deferred gifts that are remembered on our Heritage Society list, we do see them as Special Gifts. That is why our monthly donors are recognized on a special list in each issue of Lasallian Notes. It is a great idea for those who do not want to forget to make their gift, and for those who would like to give more to the Brothers without a one-time larger payment each year. Dividing their annual support between twelve payments lets it fit right into their monthly budgeting. 

Are monthly donors important to the Christian Brothers?

You bet! Our friends who decide to become monthly donors are some of the most generous and consistent donors we have. Their support allows us to more effectively plan our monthly income and expenses, even in months of low gift volume. 

But isn’t it a lot of work to send a gift each month?

Not at all. Some of our monthly donors prefer to send a check each month. However, many take advantage of automatic billing. At the same time each month we deduct the amount requested from your credit card. They may also choose to receive only one written acknowledgement (for tax purposes), that is sent in January, and lists all of your giving during the previous year. (Those who enroll on our website, also receive an automatic e-mail notice each month when their card is debited.)

How can I become a monthly donor?

The easiest way is on our website, www.fscdena.org. Click on the GIVE NOW button at the top right of the page. It will take you to our donation page, and the first thing you will be asked is “How often, One Time or Monthly”. Click on Monthly, enter the amount to be given each month, and fill out the rest of the page the same way you would for any gift. You are then enrolled.

If you do not have access to a computer or are uncomfortable with this process, you can contact me at (732) 380-7926, ext. 112, and we can set you up and handle your monthly gifts manually here in the office.

Most Important Reminder: Make Your Will!

I know—we all think we are going to live forever, but guess what—it isn’t up to us. DO NOT assume that the government will distribute your assets the way you would have wanted, or that they will not take a nice cut for their efforts. If you have charitable intent, it almost definitely will not happen without at least a simple estate plan.

Be Clear in How You Name the Charity:  Everyone can’t be expected to know the name, official address, tax ID number (EIN), etc. for every charity they support.However, for most charities, the official name and EIN can be found on their website, or with a quick call to their office. This helps, because there are often other charities with similar names. We are the Brothers of the Christian Schools, District of Eastern North America—also known as The De La Salle Christian Brothers. Many of our individual ministries use some portion or variation of this (e.g. Christian Brothers, La Salle, De La Salle, etc.). There is even a completely different religious order from Ireland who are also known as Christian Brothers.

Unrestricted versus Restricted Gifts:  If you know your charity well and have faith in their stewardship of your gift, an unrestricted gift will usually provide the most needed assistance. If there is a particular segment of their mission that you have been supporting, or feel strongly about, you may restrict your gift with wording that says you are donating for that purpose.

I have included several additional items you should know in a brief white paper on creating wills. If you would like a copy, or would like to discuss anything on this topic, please contact me, Patrick Donahue, at (732) 380-7926, ext. 112, or at donahue@fscdena.org. Please know that my hints here are not intended to be legal advice. I always suggest that before you finalize any charitable gift plan, you should consult your advisors to make sure it is right for your specific circumstance.

Is there anything special I should consider when making my year-end gifts?

Yes, there are always several things to consider, but this year there are a couple of additional thoughts.

1. As always, gifts made by December 31st can be counted toward this tax year. If you are mailing your gift, it must be postmarked on December 31st or before to count. Online gifts must be completed by 11:59 PM on December 31st. If you are ordering a stock transfer, you must allow enough time for your broker to make the transfer.

2. Of course, a gift from your IRA also must be made by December 31st. Just give your IRA holder enough notice to send the check. (Usually, a day or two is enough, but check with your account representative.) Please realize, however, if you have check-writing privileges from your IRA, your gift is not counted until it has been received by the charity, deposited, and cleared the account of your IRA holder. To be safe, you should allow about two weeks for this process.

3. While we are talking about IRAs, you may remember that in 2020 the CARES Act waived the required minimum distribution. Please note that there is no longer a waiver for the required minimum distribution for 2021.

4. Of special importance if you DO NOT itemize on your taxes: A bonus deduction of up to $300 for individuals and $600 for couples is available for cash gifts to public charities. With receipts, this can be taken above the standard deduction for non-itemizers.

5. If you make your contributions through a Donor Advised Fund, you are probably aware that you receive your charitable tax deduction when you place money into your fund. We do hope, however, that you will recommend a grant (and possibly set up a recurring grant) to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, District of Eastern North America.

6. MOST IMPORTANT YEAR-END FACT: Your year-end gift to the Christian Brothers will impact the lives of our Brothers, the 5,000 Lasallian partners working in our ministries throughout the District, and the more than 25,000 students and their families who are receiving a first-rate Christian and human education—in the tradition of our founder and for the glory of God.

Who is Part of a Legacy Society?

What types of gifts qualify me for the Lasallian Heritage Society?

Last quarter, we informed you that the Christian Brothers will begin listing the members of our Heritage Society, a way to acknowledge and thank those friends who have let us know that they have named the Brothers to receive a future gift as part of their estate or “planned giving.” If you do not see your name but have remembered us in your estate plans, please feel free to ask us to add your name.

While most of the Legacy gifts that charities receive are from donors who have listed them in their will, there are donors of several other types of

Legacy gifts that can be listed here. These include:

• Annuities. Creating a simple, one or two-page, agreement with the charity, stating you will make a gift, and receive in return a specified annual payment for the rest of your life.

• Life Insurance Policies. You may have a life insurance policy from which you will no longer need the income, so you list a charity as the beneficiary when you die. If the policy is paid in full, you could also sign the policy over to the charity, making them the owner.

• Beneficiary Designation. There are many financial products that allow you to designate a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries who will receive any remaining funds at your death.

Examples of these include:

° Retirement Accounts. IRAs and 401(k)s are among the most heavily taxed assets if left to any individual other than a spouse, so are often one of the first assets left to charity.

° Donor Advised Funds: These accounts act like a simplified Family Foundation, allowing the donor to deposit and distribute funds to charities at their own pace. But, if funds remain in the account at your death, the charity can be pre-designated.

° Investment or Bank Accounts. Your existing accounts often have the option of naming a beneficiary so that they do not have to pass through probate.

• Trusts. There are many types of Trusts. It is best if you discuss these options with your advisors.

If you would like to discuss any of these ideas, or have your name added, please contact me, Patrick, at donahue@fscdena.org, or at (732) 380-7926 ext. 112. Please remember that my hints here are not intended to be legal advice. I always suggest that before you finalize any charitable gift plan, you should consult your advisors to make

sure it is right for your specific circumstance.

What is a Legacy Society?

A Legacy Society—sometimes known as a Heritage Society—is a simple way for charities to acknowledge and thank those friends who have let them know that they have named the charity to receive a future gift as part of their estate or “planned giving.” Here at the District of Eastern North America, the Brothers have decided to begin listing, in each issue of our newsletter, those friends who have in some way let us know that they will remember us in this way (but who have not asked to remain anonymous). Our inaugural Lasallian Heritage Society list is below.

We honor and thank these wonderful members of the Lasallian family for their lasting commitment. Please note that, over the past several years, we have been combining the records of several offices and have made every effort to include all information. Therefore, if you do not see your name but think you have already told us, please let us know so we may add you to the list for upcoming issues. If you have remembered us in your plans but have not already told us, please feel free to ask us to add your name.

Gifts of this nature often play a large part in helping charities continue and thrive, even during rough economies. We love to show appreciation to our supporters while they are still here. It is a fact, however, that most estate gifts come as a surprise to the charity after the death of the donor.

In our next issue, we will speak a bit more about the types of gifts that would include a donor on this list, many of which do not require a will. If you would like to discuss any of this before then or have your name added, please contact me, Patrick, at donahue@fscdena.org, or at (732) 380-7926 ext. 112.

Is there a way I can make a special gift today, but guarantee I have income as I grow old?
Yes, there are several. The easiest and most common is the Charitable Gift Annuity. It is a simple one or two page contract that essentially says that the donor (single or couple) will gift the charity a certain amount and receive a percentage based on your age and a standard rate set by the government, paid back annually for the rest of their life. Upon your death, the balance remaining becomes a gift to the Christian Brothers.

Are there other benefits?
Yes. You get a partial tax deduction when you make the gift and probably pay a lower tax rate on the income you receive back each year. Also, the amount of the gift is no longer included in calculations of your net worth. (This is helpful as many senior benefits are scaled based on net worth.)

Are there restrictions?
Yes. You must be at least 55 years old when you begin receiving payments and your gift must be at least $20,000.

For more information contact Patrick Donahue at (732) 380-7926 or at donahue@fscdena.org.

This article provides general information only. We suggest that you always consult your own advisors before making financial decisions. Brothers of the Christian Schools, DENA is not engaged in the practice of Law.

For the past few decades, many Americans who believe in helping others have established Family Foundations. These are legal charitable entities into which an individual or family can make charitable contributions. While the money in the Foundation no longer belongs to them, they can manage the investments and the distribution of gifts to charities. They must abide by the same regulations as other Charitable Foundations, such as the 5 percent minimum annual disbursement.

In recent years, Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) have allowed many more individuals and families to participate in this form of philanthropy. In fact, the number of Americans who own Donor-Advised Fund accounts has quadrupled in the past five years. Today there are nearly one million DAFs. Grants to charities from Donor-Advised Funds in 2018 totaled $23.4 billion.

Let me be clear, Family Foundations and Donor-Advised Funds are both wonderful giving vehicles that give you the tax incentive when depositing, and let you make gifts as you are ready. There are distinct differences that make each right for different people. A Foundation takes longer to create, requires a much larger initial investment, pays higher taxes and fees, and usually demands much more personal time invested into its operation. However, it allows the donors (or the Trustees they appoint) to have control over the investment and distribution of funds, and makes it easier to have the entire family involved and to continue to be run by heirs after the death of the initial donor.

On the other hand, a Donor-Advised Fund is relatively easy to open. It usually requires an initial gift to the account of somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000, depending on the Sponsor (the organization holding and managing the account). In most cases they receive better tax deductions. And, they do not face the same regulations as a Foundation. In order to gain these advantages, the owners sacrifice some of the control, independence, and flexibility of a Foundation. Once the account is established, the donor can instruct the Sponsor to make a gift to a charity at any time.

Both of these vehicles have helped encourage charitable giving, and have been a huge blessing to those of us working to better the world who depend on the kindness and charitable support of others. If you have questions or would like to talk further about this, please call me, Patrick Donahue, at (732) 380-7926, ext. 112.

First Things First:  Before I begin, I have to ask, “Have you made your will?” A nation-wide study last year found that nearly 50% of Americans who are at least 55 years old DO NOT have a will. Please do not assume that the government will distribute your assets the way you would have wanted, or that they will not take a nice cut for their efforts. Even if you are not a millionaire, spending a bit of time and money to create a will can greatly increase the amount that actually gets to your heirs, and that it will go where you want it to go.

Before You Begin:  Also consider that some financial products (Retirement Accounts, Life Insurance policies, Investment Accounts, etc.) may offer the option of listing a beneficiary directly on the account. Designating these often saves the time and expense of going through probate.

Types of Bequest Wording:  There are various ways to designate who gets what in your will. You can make gifts of specific property (e.g. I leave my house to John), or specific dollar amounts. You can leave a percentage to each heir and charity. Also, you can leave a residuary bequest (e.g. once these are all paid, I bequeath the remainder to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, DENA.)

Highly Taxed Accounts:  Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) are often the most heavily taxed items in your estate. Therefore, if you are leaving gifts to both loved ones and to charity, use the IRA for the charity, since they will be tax exempt. Your family could then end up with a larger gift. There is also wording you can place in your will instructing that the highly taxes products be the first items used for your charitable gifts.

I have included many of these thoughts in more detail in a brief white paper on creating wills. If you would like a copy, or would like to discuss anything on this topic, please contact me, Patrick Donahue, at (732) 380-7926, ext. 112, or at donahue@fscdena.org. Please know that my hints here are not intended to be legal advice. I always suggest that before you finalize any charitable gift plan, you should consult your advisors to make sure it is right for your specific circumstance.

As it became more evident this spring that the coronavirus was a true pandemic, and was not going away any time soon, Congress enacted the CARES Act on March 27th. Along with the most heavily talked about aspects—direct financial relief, enhanced unemployment benefits, and relief for small businesses—it also contained some charitable giving incentives.

For Non-Itemizers
Since the new tax laws of 2017, many more of us do not itemize. However, for this year, the CARES Act gives everyone an above-the-line deduction of $300 for charitable contributions to your favorite charities (well, actually to most charities, but I didn’t think you would want to give to the ones you don’t like). Please note that this does not include gifts to Donor Advised Funds.

Larger Gifts of Cash
This year, the law also greatly increases the percentage of adjusted gross income (AGI) limitation up to 100% for cash gifts from individual taxpayers. Generally, a deduction of up to 30% is allowed for appreciated assets, but can be added to your cash gifts to total 100%. There are also increased AGI limitations for corporate gifts and food inventory gifts.

Charitable IRA Distributions
Even though the required minimum distributions from IRAs for those 70½ or older has been suspended through the end of the year, giving directly from your IRA still remains a wonderful way to make tax free qualified charitable distributions to charity.

Please Be Careful
Unfortunately, during any crisis, the number of scams trying to get your money or your personal information jumps dramatically, trying to prey on your good nature or your fear. Please always be careful. Continue to support the charities you know, and do not be afraid to check out any new solicitations before giving. Remember, do not give (or give information) if it does not feel right, just because you are being pressured.

Let’s talk about IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts).
For most of us, retirement accounts have either replaced or supplemented traditional pension plans. They allow you to make before-tax deposits and pay no taxes until you withdraw. This is a great deal, but sometimes paying taxes upon withdrawal can affect your income level for the IRS, Medicare, etc. Remember, the IRS says you must begin annual withdrawals at age 70½, even if you do not need the income. In considering your own personal charitable giving, there are two questions to consider about your IRA.

Is making a charitable gift from my annual IRA withdrawal right for me?
Last year, Congress finally passed a permanent law allowing you to make charitable gifts (totaling up to $100,000) directly from your traditional IRA. The gift goes directly to the charity without even entering your income stream, therefore not affecting your income level. This can be a very nice advantage, especially for those who do not itemize, or who have concerns about not increasing their household income. More and more donors are now using this option, so most account providers are now making it very easy to gift all or any portion of your annual payment to a charity or charities. (Reminder: certain types of accounts, such as a SEP-IRA for example, are not eligible for this benefit.)

Should I leave my IRA to my heirs—keeping it with loved ones, and bequeath cash, stocks, or other property to charity?
The simple answer is “NO!” As a matter of fact, your heirs will probably be much better off if you reverse that asset distribution. Retirement funds are often the most highly-taxed portion of an individual’s estate. Often being subject to income and, in many cases, estate and other taxes as well. Your heirs will usually come out much further ahead if you pass retirement funds to charity tax-free, and reserve other less highly-taxed assets for them.

I have been told many times, “I would like to make a special gift, but I am worried about having income in my later years.” An annuity can be a simple answer. The Brothers of this District (DENA) now have the ability to offer Gift Annuities. A gift annuity is a simple one or two page contract that basically says that the donor (single or couple) will gift the charity a certain amount, and receive a percentage paid back annually for the rest of their life. It is usually a generous percentage, based on your age and a standard rate set by the government.

It is quite common for a donor, even a business-savvy one, to make a generous gift by writing a check, without considering whether a stock gift would be more beneficial for his or her tax purposes. If you have greatly appreciated stock (worth much more now than you paid for it), you can transfer the stock to a charity. You will pay no capital gains, and can take a write-off for the full current value of the gift. (Hint: If you think the stock will continue to grow, you can re-purchase the same amount. Now your cost-basis will be at today’s value.)