Monday, December 27, 2004

How You Can Help The Victims of Asia Earthquake and Tsunamis

The following organizations have the proven expertise to mitigate the damage from this disaster in both the near and long term. All have a long-term presence in the region, and currently have emergency teams on the ground to provide needed relief assistance to victims:

Save the ChildrenAsia Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief Fund
54 Wilton Road
Westport, CT 06880
(800) 728-3843

Mercy Corps
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208
(800) 852-2100

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
PO Box 2247
New York, NY 10116-2247
(888) 392-0392

Oxfam America
Attn: Donor Services Dept.: Asian Earthquake Fund
26 West Street
Boston, MA 02111-1206
(800) 77-OXFAM

The Asia Foundation
465 California Street, 9th Floor
San Francisco, California 94104-1832
(415) 743-3336

Helping the Victims of the South Asia Earthquake and Tsunamis

According to the Wall Street Journal a multibillion-dollar disaster-recovery package is going to be needed for the countries worst affected by a tsunami that hit southern Asia from India to Thailand, killing thousands of people. While the World Bank, United Nations, and others will provide aid, Americans looking to make a charitable donation to help should contact the American Red Cross International Response Fund or the Asia Foundation. If we identify other names we will post them here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Generosity Index Ranks Giving By State

The Catalog for Philanthropy has released its 2004 Generosity Index (GI), a state-by-state analysis of individual tax returns and charitable giving patterns. The 2004 index (based on 2002 tax returns) ranks Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma as the most generous, and Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as the least.

The GI is based on the philosophy that philanthropic generosity is not just how much one gives, but how much one gives in relation to how much one has. So Mississippi, despite having the lowest per capita income, ranks first because its citizens give disproportionately more of their income than their wealthier counterparts such as California and Connecticut. The underlying research methodology can be found at the site.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Nifty 50: Top Philanthropists Giving Even More

While overall giving may be growing only slightly, the largest donors in the United States are increasing their gifts by tremendous amounts, according to BusinessWeek’s third annual rankings of the Top 50 U.S. Philanthropists.

For instance, Bill and Melinda Gates donated their entire stock dividend worth $3 billion! That's more than the entire Walton family of Wal-Mart fame have given in their entire lifetimes. The other big gift was from the estate of Susie Buffet (Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway's wife) of $2.5 billion.

For the rundown, go to the article - The Top Givers (registration required).

We're In the Money: Millionaires Growing at Record Rate

The number of households with more than one million dollars in net worth (excluding primary residence) has risen to a record high as well as at a record rate, according to new research released today by TNS Financial Services. According to the latest Affluent Market Research Program (AMRP), TNS’ annual survey of wealthy U.S. households, the number has shot to 8.2 million as of mid-2004, a 33 percent increase over last year. The addition of two million households to the high net worth market is the largest increase ever recorded by the study, which began monitoring this group in 1981.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Bypass Trust Can Assist Wealthy Couples

For married couples with estates valued at more than the federal estate-tax exemption, a bypass trust can sharply reduce the potential burden. Bypass trusts also offer a few other important benefits. (Source: The Houston Chronicle)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Donor Advised Fund Reforms Welcomed

Based on hearings that took place last June, and its own research, the US Senate Finance Committee’s staff has proposed a number of recommendations to more closely regulate donor advised funds. The Non-Profit Times reports that these reforms are being welcomed by a number of leaders in the field.

The National Philanthropic Trust, along with other leading providers of donor advised funds, has always supported strict compliance with existing tax law, and has been a leading advocate for establishing model standards of practive. In fact, NPT, and a number of peers, are already doing what these proposals recommend.

While a couple of the proposals should be modified, to ensure the costs of providing this valuable charitable giving vehicle remain as low as possible, and the details of others still need to defined, overall it should help the market as a whole.

Bigger Estates - Fewer Estate Taxes

According to a new report from the IRS, the number of Americans who left large fortunes increased, but the overall amount of estate taxes declined.

A major factor was the decline in the estate tax rate, and increases to the exclusion rate that were passed as part of President Bush's tax overhaul in 2001. Estate taxes only apply to estates greater than $1 million, up from $675,000, and double for married couples.

The number of estates reporting income over $20 million increased nearly 8-percent, form 469 to 505, and the average value these estates was $62 million. Overall the estate tax generated 20.7 billion in 2003, a decline of more than 12% from estates of $1 million or more than in 2001, despite a 1.4 percent increase in total value of such states.

While the maximum estate tax rate is 49% (for 2003), and will decline, 1% each year following (48% in 2004, 47% in 2005, 46% in 2006, and 45% 2007-2009), the average estate tax paid by estates of $1 million-$2.5 million feel to 11.2% from 15.2. For the ultra wealthy, their average estate tax rate was dropped to 16.5% from 18.4%.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Wealth Managers - Is Yours Certifiable?

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the growth, and increased competition in the high-net-worth marketplace has spawned a number of programs to train and certify advisors in the field of wealth managment.

According to the article the programs seem to fall into two camps: "certificate courses that run for a matter of hours or days, and graduate programs that last a semester or two." The article opines that "While many of the courses offer rigorous training, others are little more than marketing ploys, making the task of finding qualified advisers even more confusing," or as one industry expert said "It's a little bit of a Wild West out there."

Among the new programs being established include New York University, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joining programs started by The College for Financial Planning, Investment Management Consultants Association, and the American Academy of Financial Management.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Stupid Tax Tricks has a posted an insightful article on donor managed investment accounts (requires registration). This new charitable giving vehicle has received some press lately -- recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal -- but it has a number of shortcomings, and its long-term viability is uncertain. We have also provided a side-by-side comparison between donor managed investment accounts, donor advised funds, and private foundations. E-mail me to request your copy.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Where We Have Been, Where We Are Going

It has been a year since we updated our Weblog, and that is for many and varied reasons. This is not for a lack of commitment. We have gone through a number of changes, and in the future, you should see regular posts online.

In addition, we will be integrating our Weblog onto our host website - National Philanthropic Trust ( We are rebuilding that entire site form the ground up, incorporating a new brand, and adding a number of features that will provide philanthropists and their advisors a host of tools, information and resources. As all things on the web, these will be rolled out over the next several months, but we are making progress.

For those who have expected more updates, we thank you for your patience. For those of you new to our site, welcome! We encourage and look forward to your comments, ideas and suggestions for what we can do to improve the content of our site. Contributors are our best sources.