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September 14, 2020
As a professional athlete, you are uniquely positioned to impact the lives of others. Your status provides a built-in platform to raise awareness and open dialogues about social causes. Charitable gifting is a powerful tool to take your advocacy to the next level. It turns words into action to affect meaningful change.
And just as you wouldn’t jump into a competition without a game plan, the same holds true for philanthropy. You need a strategy to maximize performance.
Choosing which charities to support from the seemingly endless number of nonprofit organizations can be a challenge. The best advice I can give is to follow your heart and the change you want to make. That might mean focusing on educational initiatives in your community, social justice, childhood hunger, or the environment.
From there, you need to make sure the organizations you’re considering are committed to their mission. You don’t want to find out after the fact that only 30 cents of each dollar contributed actually goes to the cause, and the rest to fund employee salaries. An advisory team with expertise in philanthropy can help you conduct this due diligence. They can contact the organization’s director on your behalf, ask the tough questions, and ensure the charity is a valid 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
If you prefer to do your own research, guidestar.org provides detailed information on thousands of nonprofit organizations.
While you could simply write a check, many professional athletes use either a Donor Advised Fund or establish a foundation (or a combination of the two) to make their gifts. One approach is not necessarily better than the other. Your decision ultimately depends on many factors, including your goals, time commitment, tax strategy, and personal preference. On the following page is a high-level comparison to kick off your decision-making process. Your advisor can help you conduct a more in-depth analysis of these and other gifting strategies.
Successful professional athletes have a strong support system on and off the field—coaches, managers, trainers and, in some cases, teammates all working in tandem for a common goal. A strong support system is also vital for achieving your charitable initiatives. Here are a couple of key people who should be on your roster (if they’re not already):
Cerity Partners shares your passion for making a difference. Many of our advisors serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations and foundations. They also have extensive experience designing advanced gifting strategies tailored to our clients’ unique needs and goals. Our services span the spectrum from analysis of Donor Advised Funds and assistance with establishing foundations to tax reporting and fundraising support.
Let us help you affect the change you want to see. Contact a Cerity Partners advisor to get started.
Please read important disclosures here.
Mark is a Partner in the Cleveland office and has more than thirty years of experience advising corporate executives, international professional tennis players and golfers,...
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