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Legacy Giving: Schwab Charitable Extends Reach of DAFs Beyond Donors’ Lifetime

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Some charitably minded individuals think long-term, even beyond their deaths. Others, very much alive, want as much flexibility as possible in spreading around their largesse. Schwab Charitable has now responded to both inclinations.

Earlier this month, the donor-advised fund organization rolled out its Charitable Legacy Program, which enables donors with large Schwab Charitable accounts to extend their giving beyond their lifetimes.  

Individuals with more than $100,000 in their DAF accounts can establish continuing support, in their own name or anonymously, for up to six charities for a minimum of five years after their death or until the account is exhausted. Those with accounts above $250,000 can also engage an investment advisor to oversee the account’s investments after their death.

“In addition to ensuring that an estate plan provides for the well-being of loved ones, it often serves as a final message that reflects personal values and leaves a lasting legacy by which your family and community will remember you,” Kim Laughton, acting president of Schwab Charitable, said in a statement.

In another move to make it easier for DAF account holders to express their generosity, Schwab Charitable has lowered the grant minimum to $50 from $100. The grant minimum is the smallest amount donors are allowed to recommend from their accounts to charitable organizations of their choice.

The lower minimum will likely be welcomed by those with smaller accounts. (Schwab Charitable manages account sizes from $5,000 to upward of $400 million.)

“As we head into the holiday giving season, we want to support our donors’ charitable efforts by allowing them to make grant recommendations in smaller increments if they wish,” Laughton said in a statement. “This expands the usefulness of DAF accounts and gives our donors more flexibility to direct charitable dollars across multiple causes or over a longer period of time.”

Schwab Charitable said in the statement that granting from its accounts rose by 16% during the first nine months of 2011 from the same year-earlier period. This compares with a less-than-4% increase in overall charitable giving nationally for the most recent calendar year, according GIVING USA 2011: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the year 2010.