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The five percent (5%) minimum limit

Last Monday I got to see a demonstration of software meant to make the administration of private foundations much easier. Among other things, the program offers compliance services, including a review of grants to ensure there is no self-dealing; a review of potential recipients of grants to ensure they are, in fact, 501(c)(3) organizations, and thus eligible to receive tax-deductible donations; and a constant vigil over total annual foundation disbursements to ensure that the foundation hits its five percent (5%) minimum distribution requirement.

It was this last service that caught my eye. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 200-Year Plan: Disciple-making

ADDENDUM as of 2/5/09: While I am still excited about the materials I discuss in this post, it is with great sadness that I feel compelled to note I have discovered there are reasons for caution with respect to the sources referenced herein. With respect to Vision Forum Ministries and Doug Phillips, I call your attention to the series of articles at Ministry Watchman and Jen’s Gems. And with respect to Geoff Botkin, see Who is Geoffrey Botkin? at the Under Much Grace blog.

As with my previous posts, I can only offer a small fraction of the richness contained in the Vision Forum 200-Year Plan CD set.

In describing how he drafted his own 200-Year Plan, Geoff Botkin said two considerations motivated him in his quest: Read the rest of this entry »

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Evaluating our lives accurately

Someone took a survey recently whose primary question was, “What keeps you from knowing God and growing spiritually?” And the most common answer? “I don’t have enough time.”

Question: When will you have enough time? And how will you find it? Read the rest of this entry »

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Estate plan documents: what are your goals?

A lot of attorneys, it seems, assume what your goals are when you walk into their office to have them draft your final documents: You want them to save as many taxes as possible, and pass on as much of your estate to your children–your heirs–as possible. But, of course, your goals may go far beyond these things. And, in fact–as is the case with my wife and me–you may not wants to pass everything along to your heirs.

It’s always helpful, when you walk into your attorney’s office, if you already have your goals clearly in mind. To help clarify some of these issues for you, consider the following list. What’s on your mind, and how important are they to you? (If two of these goals compete, which one do you want to “win”?) Read the rest of this entry »

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Journey of Generosity: Emergent to Generous Giving

At the Generous Giving conference we attended back in April, they gave us a sheet titled “Journey of Generosity.” It’s intended as a self-diagnostic–Where are you, really, in your journey toward generosity?–and includes three suggested “stages” in the journey: from “Emerging Giver,” through “Maturing Giver,” and, finally, to “Generous Giver.”

On the back of the sheet, then, there is one more category of person, not exactly parallel with any of the first three. This category refers to people who are motivated to help others become Generous Givers: “Giving Champions”–i.e., not people who wow others by how much they give, but, rather, people who are committed to championing the cause of charitable giving. Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s your charitable niche?

In business you’re told to find a niche and fill it: define clearly what you’re all about, and focus on that one thing. I believe it should be similar when it comes to charity.

I met today with a guy who has given several million dollars to a number of charitable causes over the past 25 years or so. He told me his story. Maybe one day I’ll share it here.

But in the midst of all the other fascinating things he told me, one thing stuck out above all else: he knows his charitable niche. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Questions about right-sizing childrens’ inheritances

What is the right size inheritance to give to your children?

I was first confronted with this question many years ago by an article in which the author asked if it made any sense to fund a child who has decided to rebel against everything you have ever stood for. –Should you give them an equal inheritance to that which you give your other children who are more deeply committed to the causes and values that you espouse?

It wasn’t that I had such a child, nor that I even had any wealth to pass to our children. But it got me thinking.

More recently, especially as our estate’s value has grown, I’ve been confronted by other questions. For example: Should the kids inherit everything you can give them? Read the rest of this entry »

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A “human and intellectual capital” resumé

How do you help your family members write personal resumés that will help your family account for all of its “human and intellectual capital”? Here’s one model.

[If you haven't read my preceding post about Family wealth, unique abilities, and personal resumés, I think you'll want to read it. It explains the basic idea of the "human and intellectual capital" resumé that "includes everything the particular family member believes her or his best friend might know."]

Read the rest of this entry »

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