DiPaolo and McGeoch: Design the charitable legacy you want to leave


Mike DiPaolo is the Delaware Community Foundation’s vice president for southern Delaware. Joanne McGeoch is the foundation’s vice president for philanthropy.

The idea of leaving a legacy is part of being human. Our earliest ancestors left their marks on cave walls; Neil Armstrong left his on the moon. We all have a desire to be remembered and to make an impact that will outlast our lifetimes.

For many, we do this through our family, teaching our children and grandchildren our traditions and histories through meaningful family conversations and routines. Next thing you know, our children and grandchildren are passing these lessons down to the next generation.

That’s one way to build a legacy.

A charitable legacy fund is another. In this way, you can ensure the causes and organizations close to your heart will thrive long after you’re gone — and it’s never too early to start planning.

What is legacy giving?

Legacy giving, often called planned giving, involves allocating a portion of your assets — be it through a will, trust or another financial instrument — to support charitable causes after your lifetime. It is a forward-looking approach to philanthropy that ensures the causes close to your heart continue to thrive.

In most cases, legacy giving costs the donor nothing during their lifetime. Sometimes, it can be used to realize tax advantages or create a stream of income.

Establishing your legacy starts with asking, “What do I want to change in the world or in my community?” Perhaps someday, you’d like to change the landscape of child hunger in Delaware, grow the presence of the arts or protect the environment for our descendants.

The Delaware Community Foundation can help you turn “someday” into “today.” Through philanthropic planning, even people who feel unable to make a large gift during their lifetimes have the opportunity to impact the future. DCF can work with you and your financial adviser to put your charitable dollars to work, creating future impact for a cause or organization you care about.

Every day, the foundation helps donors like you make meaningful decisions. With the right resources and support, you can make choices today that will add up to a transformational future and feel proud of making an impact that will last for generations to come.

The end of October each year is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, calling us not only to ensure that our loved ones are well cared for but also to support the causes we care about. Take action now by contacting your estate-planning professional and the Delaware Community Foundation to see how you can plan now to make an impact forever.

Reach the foundation’s Mike DiPaolo, vice president for southern Delaware, at mdipaolo@delcf.org or Joanne McGeoch, vice president for philanthropy, at jmcgeoch@delcf.org.

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at civiltalk@iniusa.org.

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