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Nonprofits: Season for giving hits its peak

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

The Waccamaw Community Foundation processed more checks this week than it has in quite some time, according to its president, Jonathan Kresken.

The holidays are always among the foundation’s busiest times for several reasons. First, the end of the year is coming and there’s a need to get in last-minute donations for tax purposes. But it’s also just a time when many people feel the need to be charitable.

“Giving is on people’s minds. They think about it more this time of year,” Kresken said.

That’s a good thing, because requests for funds also tend to increase around the holidays and, especially in the current economy, area nonprofits say grants are needed more than ever.

Located in Murrells Inlet, the foundation helps people establish charitable funds and make their philanthropic giving as effective as possible. It manages 167 funds that make up about $20 million in assets, and gave $1.3 million in grants to nonprofits in Georgetown and Horry counties in the first three quarters of this year.

“If someone knows they want to write a check to the Salvation Army for $500, we’re happy to do that for them, but they don’t really need to go through us,” Kresken said.

The foundation’s role is more for people who want to make a charitable contribution, but want guidance in how to use their money to best serve the community.

“If they just know they want to make a donation and they want to know what the needs are in the community, they can call us and we can tell them,” Kresken said. “We support all nonprofits, from churches to food pantries to the Boys and Girls Clubs.”

The foundation carefully checks each nonprofit before issuing funds, ensuring dollars are being used appropriately.

“We look at their 990s [tax filings], their board of directors, make sure they’re in good standing with the secretary of state’s office,” Kresken said.

Then the foundation follows up after the money has been issued to be certain the funds were spent as the donor wanted.

In addition to cash, the foundation also receives assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate.

“If a donor has a stock portfolio, even a small one, and called their broker to sell the stock and put it in an account, the donor would end up paying a capital gains tax on what they just sold,” Kresken pointed out. “If they had transferred it directly to the Community Foundation, there is no capital gains tax. More money goes to charity, the donor gets the full tax deduction and everybody wins.”

For information about the foundation, visit its website or call 357-4483.

To learn more about nonprofits that serve Georgetown County, go to the Bunnelle Foundation website.

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