Choosing Real Estate Donations as a Profitable Form of Charity

Choosing Real Estate Donations as a Profitable Form of CharityNine years ago, The New York Times shared the story of Sidney and Elisabeth Garvis, a couple who shared a lifetime together, with memories of their lives filling their small 4.5 acre cottage located on Block Island, Rhode Island. When they purchased the home in 1965, it cost them just $20,000, and it was primarily used as a vacation home and a destination for entertaining weekend guests.

When they decided they wanted to move in 2004 because the upkeep became overwhelming, they realized they had no one to pass the property along to. Also, they recognized that selling the home, would mean they’d be responsible for a costly capital-tax. The couple had no children, just a niece and nephew who were indifferent to the home, so decided they would give the home to a charitable foundation. In doing so, they learned that it paid to good deeds. After property sold for $1.1 million, the couple, now dwelling in a senior community in Bloomfield, Connecticut, began lifetime annuity received on a monthly basis, as well as significant tax savings. When they chose to make the charitable donation, they were merely content knowing that donation could benefit causes important to their heart, such as health care reform.

Any type of real estate asset, whether that be warehouse or townhouse, can qualify as a charitable donation and given to organization. The gifts can be structured by estate planners, who can help to educate interested parties about tax benefits and income. While some nonprofits shy away from real estate donation, others recognize that property values continue to soar. If the Garvaises’ home was sold in 2016, it would have sold for far more, winning a fortunate charity even more financial support. Established foundations and planned-giving departments are now working with consultants to help with these transactions. Donations of this kind tends to spike at the end of the year.

Real estate is considered to be a great untapped source for donations, according to philanthropic experts. Baby boomers with secondary or inherited homes, as well as homeowners who are interested in stable incomes may want to consider donation. As a donor, they can convert their donation into an income stream. Developing a charitable remainder trust is one way one can give, so they can receive a lifetime annuity and tax deductions equal to the value of the property. Also, they can avoid federal capital-gains tax. When donors die, remaining assets in are transferred to the charity. The trust can be based on the annual valuation of assets, and charitable remainder trusts can be set that only ten percent of the present value goes to charity. Additionally, real estate investors can be used for donations to offset gains in other properties they might sell.

Those interested in donating their homes should seek out the advice of individuals educated in philanthropy law. Many, like the Garvaises, find it better to donate their entire property and get a large annuity, allowing to pay living expenses. Donors often transfer titles to a charity, taking the full appraised value of the property. This eliminates brokerage fees and capital gains.

It should be kept in mind that not all organizations are equipped to handle estate transaction, and charities can be picky. Some may decline properties with debt or environmental problems. It’s estimated that charities reject 80 percent of all non-cash assets offered.

Charleston-Based Supplier of Software for Nonprofits Builds New Headquarters

blackbaud-siliconharbor-featureBlackbaud, the Charleston-based supplier of software and services specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, will build a new headquarter on the Daniel Island’s campus. The forthcoming development is a $150 million exploration plan, and it will add more than 300 jobs. The software company already employs nearly 3,100.

Over the next five years, Blackbaud plans to invest in payroll and new offices, and its new corporate home in Charleston will act as a centralized location for what CEO Michael Gianoni has deemed a “generational investment.” The new office complex will be 360,000-square-feet, and the first phase of construction is expected to begin by 2018. Blackbaud has yet to announce the timeline for the second phase of the building project. The first phase of construction will begin at the intersection of Fairchild and Central Island streets. The second phase is expected to take place at Fairchild and River Landing Drive.

The software company has outgrown it’s existing building, located on Daniel Island Drive, as the company has added individuals to its workforce over the past few years. This prompted the company to lease space to deal with the overflow. Upon realizing that the lease on their main building would run out in 2024, they began a search for a new place to house their global headquarters.  Ultimately, Blackbaud decided they wanted to remain on Daniel Island. They chose to move just one mile down the road so that it continued its residency in Charleston as it has for the past 30 years, after relocating from New York.

Atlanta-based Holder Properties will develop the new headquarters, which will be equipped with a fitness center, game rooms, hiking trails, and a cafeteria that’s stocked with locally sourced food. Additionally, the office will include space to “incubate emerging nonprofits” and flesh out its Camp Blackbaud program, where they teach local elementary school students to design and teach.

The office complex is among a number or developments planned for Fairchild Street. Apartment complexes, offices, and a gas station are soon to be in development, according to city records. If the incentive package from the County Council still needs final approval, the Blackbaud property tax breaks over the next 30 years as long as it invests a minimum of $150 million by 2029. Additionally, Blackbaud will receive financial incentives from the S.C. Commerce Department in return for investment. The expansion will be the biggest economic development deal in the county since 2015 when the $500 million automobile factory was announced.

According to Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt, the tech company will be able to claim tax credits because they’ve promised to create 300 jobs over the next five years. Also tasked to hit minimum pay requirements, the salaries are expected to be “pretty good.

Since 1989, the company has grown exponentially, bringing on countless individuals from the Lowcountry’s tech community. According to securities filings, Blackbaud added 1,000 worldwide employees to its payroll over the past five years, and the company plans to continue that level of growth. The company provides services and builds software for the philanthropic industry, growing the market valuation more to more than$2.7 billion. Consequently, Blackbaud is South Carolina’s third-largest publicly traded company.

How Crowdfunding Helped Non-Profits!

Although the industry is named non-profit, organizations still require money to stay a float, spread awareness and get the job done. That’s where crowdfunding comes in. According to this infographic provided by MobileCause (a fundraising platform). Crowdfunding has also helped nonprofits reach new audiences and find committed donors.




Thank you and Mobilecause for this great infographic:


7 Signs The Charity isn’t Legit

When natural disasters strike, people are quick to open their hearts as well as their wallets to help out those in need. But it is always important to remain vigilant of individuals or groups that are ouDavid Mantekt there to steal your well-intended donations.

With the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal earlier this month, the outpour of support around the world has been incredibly and very welcomed. But it is during times like this that donors can become careless in an effort to help as quickly as possible. Understandably, time is of the essence when it comes to situations like those currently faced by the people of Nepal but the best and speedier help can come from well-established charitable organization.

If a person wants to help out the thousands displaced by the earthquake, H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau, recommends giving to established organizations that already maintain a presence in the affected area.

Along with that, the Wise Giving Alliance has some signs that donors should look out for to discern legit charities from those that may have ill-intentions:

1. Only accepting cash donations or wire transfers

2. Can’t breakdown how donations will be used

3. Can’t verify their nonprofit status

  • It is important to note that legitimate nonprofit organizations, in order to maintain their status, have to make public a wealth of information regarding their operations, assets, employee salaries, and security. This information is easily accessible through organizations that track charities.

4. The name sounds like the name of an already established org.

5. Puts pressure on donating immediately

6. Requests donations over the phone

7. Little to no proven track record



Tab For Cause

tab For cause david mantek

What if I Told you theres a charity out there donating money every time their users “open a new tab”. No, seriously… A web app called Tab For A Cause will transform your browser’s blank canvases and turn them into a convenient way to donate to your favorite charity. Every time you open a “new tab”  in Chrome or Firefox, the app populates the page with blogs about causes like education and poverty, oh yeah – can’t forget the advertisements.

Giving over the rights to your browser tabs now allows you to help empower communities and establish local language for kids. Some charities that are receiving donations via Tab For A Cause are,, Room to Read, Human Rights Watch, Conservation International, International Peace Institute and Save the Children.

“Created by Silicon Valley residents Alex Groth and Kevin Jennison, Tab For a Cause donates one-tenth to one-fifth of a cent each time a user opens a new tab, the Los Angeles Times reports.”

Alex Groth, 22, told the la times that his sole motive was to try and make giving easier. Groth graduated this year from Pomona College in California, He states “In college it doesn’t seem like any donation I can give to a charity is going to be very impactful,” he said. “And I kind of wanted to create a way where everyone can be giving to charity regardless of your monetary worth at that time.”



Springfield Residents Unite to Aid Ebola Patients

David Mantek - Ebola Food DriveThis weekend, more than 5,000 Springfield residents gathered at the Springfield Expo Center and packed meal to be sent to Liberia to the hospitalized Ebola patients and their families. This drive called Meal-A-Million-Pack-A-Thon is organized by Friends Against Hunger, a program that has be active working since 2012 to send meals to the needy.

Executive Director of Friends Against Hunger, Karen Woods says that this year the program intends to pack and distribute 1.2 millions meals all over US and all over the world and the Springfield Expo Centre campaign targeted approximately 300,000 meals for the Ebola victims. Woods is also impressed by the citizens of Missouri and their passionate persistence in rising up to the challenge of helping the needy.

Iowa’s Outreach, Inc., in partnership with Friends Against Hunger, has been responsible for sending consignment of meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy and Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan and is also responsible for sending 1.2 million meals to the Ebola victims in Liberia, including Springfield’s 300,000 to hospitals housing Ebola victims.

Walter Gwenigale, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa is the son of the Minister of Health in Liberia and says that it is essential for Ebola victims to receive plenty of nutritional meals to accelerate healing. The hospitals in Liberia are not equipped to provide the necessary meals so families have taken up this responsibility, which is now hindered due to the quarantine approach and that is why shipping these meals is helping save lives of the thousands battling Ebola.

For more details on donating to the cause, click here.

Millennials Giving to Charity

Charitable giving is being reshaped and millennials are now leading the charge.  In a recent NPR blog, Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of Charity: Water, mentions that this change comes from a previous stance of “I don’t know where my money is going.”  Before founding the organization, Harrison was working in New York promoting a models and bottles style service.  He realized that, if he continued, his legacy would only reflect that he got people drunk.  But a trip to Liberia changed his life forever.  After a short time in the country he saw children drinking out of murky water that Harrison said he wouldn’t even let his dog drink from.  He knew there was a massive problem and he had to do something about it.

davidmantek_waterHe started Charity: Water with the goal to provide clean drinking water to more than 800 million people across Africa and he would need donations to help his cause.  But with a common perception towards charity as a black hole, where money gets thrown with no knowledge to the giver what it is going towards, Harrison realized that he had to accomplish a second thing, making it easier and reinventing the way people understand their donation.

Targeting millennials was a big thing for Harrison and other charities in general.  Over 80 million millennials are now coming of age and are able to spend money on nonprofits.  Identifying how they’ll do so is vital to the future of the nonprofit landscape.

A forecaster for trends in nonprofit giving, Amy Webb, mentions that changing the language could be a simple but big step in the right direction.  Changing the language from donation to investment should help millennials understand where their money is headed.  Webb cites this as a good idea because of the constant sharing between individuals online through social media.

Harrison and Webb have seen millennials put their best foot forward in giving when the cause is shareable, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example, and it will be continuing trends like this that will shape how giving happens in the next 20 years.

Volunteering in America

It has never been a better time for American adults to volunteer. Since the 2008 financial crisis, funding from public and private sources have been cut for nonprofits while the demand for their services has increased. Four in five nonprofits work with volunteers and seriously rely on their help. Volunteer tasks range from setting up tables to helping run the organization.

davidmantek_volunteerThroughout Long Island, there is a wide range of opportunities for people to volunteer for nonprofits to help fulfill their missions. Volunteers want to choose a organization that they can relate to and speaks to them personally. Some volunteers look for organizations that support a certain cause or those that serve specific groups such as children or veterans. While you try to find the right group for you, look at what you could potentially gain from your experience. Are you looking to meet new people, give back to the community or gain skills to help you in your career?

While you think of organizations and causes that speak to you, make sure you go with a well-run organization that has a reputable presence in your community. It’s also a good idea to visit the websites of third-party rating organizations such as Charity Navigator, GuideStar and the New York Philanthropic Advisory Service of the Better Business Bureau, which recommend charities based on various criteria.

Once you’ve found your perfect fit, contact them and figure out how you can be of help. Be realistic with the amount of time you have to volunteer and start small to get your food in the door. See how much you like it and then consider participating on a higher scale.

For more information read on at

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

A CBS News article written by Jonathan Berr mentions that until recently no one knew how to spread the word about Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).  That isn’t a problem anymore as a simple challenge has become and internet sensation and awareness is firmly in the know.

davidmantek_icebucketchallengeThe Ice Bucket Challenge was started by two friends with ALS and a group of pro golfers raising money from charity.  With the charities that received donations being associated with ALS, the Ice Bucket Challenge soon became an internet hit and now the ALS Association is glad that it did.  According to the association, from July 29 to August 18 they have received over $15.6 million in donations.  The ALS Association received the donations from 307,598 previous and new donors and the $15.6 million in the three week period was over a 750 percent increase from donations during that time the previous year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge hasn’t just been shared among friends on Facebook, it has reached celebrities like Justin Timberlake, sports athletes like Lebron James, politicians like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and high level executives like Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

As unfortunate as it is, because most donations to charities come from the private sector, all charities are often competing for the public’s donation.  That’s what makes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so fantastic.  As the article mentions, it is increasingly tough to get noticed by the public for a good cause with so many organizations in the loop.  The “media-saturated” age in which we are living makes the ice bucket challenge a feat because of who it’s reached.  While many donations before the wave of the Ice Bucket Challenge have come from an older crowd, the Ice Bucket Challenge has reached out to the younger generation.  The videos from participants keep coming and the ALS Association is hoping the donations do too.

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