Due to inclement weather, the Jewish Community Services Building will be closed on Wednesday, March 21.

Chanukah is a time when generations of Jewish families gather together to bring light and meaning into their homes and communities. As we come together in this season of gratitude and giving, many of us will inevitably ask ourselves about the Jewish legacy we intend to leave for the next generation. With significant changes to the U.S. tax code likely coming in 2018, it is important to take this time to review your charitable giving strategies, before December 31st.

Before 2017 comes to a close, and tax changes begin to come into effect, take the time to review these three key options:

Investment Assets: With the stock market at an all-time high, year-end is an opportune time to review your investment portfolio. Part of your capital asset review could be consideration of a gift of appreciated securities to charities. For example, you may be able to avoid paying any capital gains tax on the value of securities transferred to the Jewish Federation and receive a charitable contribution deduction for the full fair market value of the securities at the time of the gift.

IRA Charitable Rollover: Congress passed legislation making the IRA charitable rollover permanent as of January 1, 2015. Up to $100,000 per year can be transferred directly from traditional or Roth IRAs to qualified public charities like the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Amounts given in this way are free from federal income tax and count toward your annual required minimum distribution.

Estate Taxes and Lifetime Giving: It is expected that any comprehensive tax reform plan will make significant changes (including potential repeal) to the estate tax. Such changes, if enacted, could dictate modifications to your estate and bequest planning, as well as lifetime gifting strategies.

Consider a Charitable Gift Annuity

Whether your gift was secured long ago or you’re just beginning the process, by creating your own Jewish legacy you ensure that not only will you be remembered, but that your work — and your values — will continue when you are no longer here.  CGAs are one of many ways to ensure your own Jewish legacy for your Jewish community.

Janet Felgoise decided to consider a life income plan with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia out of concern for her Jewish community in Montgomery County. As a semi-retired lawyer, Janet works part-time as a mediator in child custody cases and encourages other retirees to be active in their communities. “Just to be working with people and to continue helping is a wonderful thing,” she says. But she began noticing more and more families in her Jenkintown neighborhood move away, threatening the health of local synagogues. She wanted to ensure that there would continue to be a Jewish presence in her area. That’s when the Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) option caught her eye.

A CGA is a contract between a donor and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, wherein the donor transfers an asset to the organization in exchange for a partial tax deduction and a lifetime stream of income. Upon the donor’s passing, the remainder reverts to the Jewish Federation.

For Janet, the decision to choose a CGA was simple. “I wanted to really do something, and a CGA just made so much sense,” she said. “It’s a chance for both me and the Jewish Federation to take advantage of this opportunity to make a contribution, and yet I still benefit financially.”

Janet established her first CGA with the Jewish Federation to benefit services for vulnerable populations and created another to support Gratz College. She hopes her contribution will encourage others to donate as well. “It’s just so important to have something that you believe in and that you care about,” she says. “And I care about Jewish organization and Jewish philanthropy in Philadelphia.”

For questions about ways to give, contact rgross@jewishphilly.org or 215.832.0572.

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