Donor Stories

Please enjoy three donor stories below. Donors willingly share with us how they achieved their philanthropic goals. Each individual donor receives our full gratitude and deep appreciation. Thank you to our philanthropic partners!

Gene and Jeanne Yarussi

IRA Gifts Can Also Reduce Your Taxes

Gene and Jeanne Yarussi

You can help charities at a time when the need has never been greater. If you’ve reached the age where you need to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRAs, you can reduce taxes by donating that money to charity.

Gene Yarussi has been supporting local charities, like the Community Foundation, for years. He doesn’t remember how long ago he started making IRA distributions, but he likes to help local nonprofits this way because he says, “I am lucky to have the means.”

Would you like to make a larger charitable gift than you could if you donated cash? Would you like to reduce your taxes? If so, you have to be sure to follow the rules carefully.

1. How QCDs Work: A charitable IRA rollover or qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows individuals who are taking their RMD (usually 70½ years old or older*) to donate any amount (no more than $100,000 total) to charities directly from a taxable IRA instead of taking their RMD. As a result, donors may avoid being pushed into higher income tax brackets and prevent phaseouts of other tax deductions, (and other limitations, please ask your accountant).

The value of charitable gifts that can be deducted from a tax return usually ranges from 20 – 60 % of a donor’s adjusted gross income. This AGI-based limit does not apply to QCDs, allowing donors to make larger gifts! For these reasons, a QCD can potentially enable a donor to give a bigger charitable gift than they could if they just donated cash or other assets.

2. Here’s how you do it: It takes just three distribution steps to give retirement assets: (1) Find the form on your IRA custodians website, (2) Fill out the form naming Community Foundation as recipient using our tax info (below), (3) Mail the form in.

Community Foundation tax ID or EIN#16-1587553 and NY State Charities registration #06-80-93.

Gene has a team of financial advisors who looked into the long-range expenses of how much he needs to take care of himself, his wife, kids and help the community he lives in. “I am fortunate that I have this benefit and I have chosen to do good with it. I encourage others to do as well, if you are able.”

Note: IRS does NOT allow IRA Charitable distributions to donor advised funds; all other fund types (operational, designated, and field of interest) are eligible. Please call us or your professional advisor.

* Plan participants and IRA owners who reach the age of 70 ½ in 2019, the prior rule applies and the first RMD must start by April 1, 2020. For plan participants and IRA owners who reach age 70 ½ in 2020, the first RMD must start by April 1 of the year after the plan participant or IRA owner reaches 72.

The Bernard Carl and Shirley Rosen Library Fund

Changing Lives One Book At A Time

The Bernard Carl and Shirley Rosen Library Fund

Bernard Carl Rosen (1922-2009) was a sociologist and Cornell professor who had an indefatigable curiosity about human beings and the human condition. He often studied issues related to BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) populations, class, and achievement. Indeed, one of Professor Rosen’s most consuming questions was, “who is destined to be a winner, who a loser, and why?” He attended college on the GI Bill after serving in the US Army during WWII. And after his passing he may have left his greatest gift — a generous bequest to establish the Bernard Carl and Shirley Rosen Library Fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County. This fund allows public libraries in Cayuga, Cortland, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins counties, all the libraries in the five counties of the Finger Lakes Library System, to apply for grants to create/continue programming for youth.

Libraries are sacred spaces. Local community leader and business owner, Patrice Lockert Anthony, owner and president of Black Label Consulting shares the following story. “My mom was a single mother to four children. She also had purpose, passion, and ambition. She went from GED to a BA in psychology, to a Ph.D. in education (and until she won a Ford Fellowship for graduate studies, she also worked full time as a keypunch operator for IBM). She studied in public libraries, completed assignments, reports, and did her research in the libraries, so that’s where we were, too. My mom had only one hard and fast rule for the staff; our curiosity wasn’t to be censored. Answers might be censored, but not the books we chose, and not our questions.”

We want to stimulate young minds, encourage and build their intellectual curiosity and capacity. Stronger communities are built when we invest in building strong minds. Strong minds solve problems (sometimes before they can exist). Strong capable minds build bridges to other communities. Libraries, with adequate funding might partner with churches, schools, school districts, hospitals, cafeteria staff, theatres, local restaurants, hotels, social services, etc. There isn’t an organization that libraries can’t partner with to uplift youth (including those serving juvenile “offenders” and organizations working to interrupt the school to prison pipeline. Open their minds, and we’ll open their world, and in turn; our youth will serve their communities. And as the great equalizer — it won’t matter what race, color, ethnicity, age, gender, or economic status. Libraries are open to all.

This Cycle Will Next Receive New Grant Applications in Early 2022.

Joel and Cathy Zumoff

The Ease of Stock Gifts

Joel and Cathy Zumoff

“Cathy and I each set up a Fund with the Community Foundation to provide support for areas of interest in Tompkins County that we consider to be important. We decided to provide the initial endowment for these funds by transferring appreciated stock from our investment portfolio to the Foundation. In this manner we were able to both take an income tax deduction to a charitable agency and to avoid paying substantial capital gains taxes on stock we had held for twenty-five years. It was very easy to accomplish this task. All that was necessary to transfer the stock was to write a letter to our financial advisor and ask him to move the stock from our portfolio to an account provided by the Community Foundation. We have also used this mechanism in subsequent years to add additional monies to our funds. We recommend this method to anyone who has the resources to support the Community Foundation in a substantial manner.”

Please use this FORM to inform us of your stock gift.

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quote Gene Yarussi, donor advisor

I am lucky to have the means to help.