“What will you leave behind for San Diego?”

This is a question I ask San Diego Foundation (SDF) donors often during the Giving Season.

I’m grateful that many donors take a ‘what can I do now’ approach to their giving, partnering with us to support causes they care about and address San Diego’s most pressing needs. Our donors and partners accounted for more than $130 million in grants this past year.

Their generosity always inspires me.

I also find joy in helping them understand that giving back can last a lifetime… and beyond.

Planned giving opens a new door to build (and grow) your charitable legacy and direct the lasting change you want to make.

Planned gifts are established during your lifetime but are not realized until you pass away. They are typically larger gifts than most donors can make during their lifetimes because they can come from assets like trusts, wills, life insurance and other assets not eligible for gifting while you are living.

At SDF, donors partner with us to set up legacy funds for their planned gifts. Through the legacy fund agreement, our donors specify how their gifts should be used after they pass away. This ensures their fund continues to support causes, initiatives and nonprofits that are most meaningful to them.

They can also specify successor advisors – such as children or close relatives – to advise grantmaking when the gifts are realized. That’s generational philanthropy at its finest.

Guy Clum’s Lasting Legacy.

Guy Clum

We have partnered with many donors in our near 50-year history to carry on their legacy of giving. One notable example is Guy Clum.

Guy lived his life in Bonita, made a fortune as an entrepreneur, and then, near the end of his life, decided to share a large measure of that treasure to make a real difference in San Diego.

Before he passed away in 2018, Guy came to us with a gift and a vision. He wanted his $10 million legacy gift to better the lives of our youngest community members – those under the age of 5 – and their families. This enabled the launch of the SDF Early Childhood Initiative, which has stewarded that vision, ensuring long-term community impact.

“A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development,” Guy believed. “By strengthening the systems and opportunities that our children are afforded, my hope is that we can put every San Diegan on a pathway to success and grow a more vibrant region for all.”

Through the initiative, SDF has leveraged and raised additional funds to complement Guy’s original investment, totaling more than $9 million in grants to the community over the past five years to uplift children, families and childcare providers. This has resulted in support for more than 28,000 young children through nonprofit programs.

Jay Kahn’s Lasting Legacy.

Jay Kahn

Our most notable legacy donor from this past year was Ocean Beach resident Jay Kahn. In February, SDF received a historic, transformative, unrestricted $100 million cash gift from the estate of Kahn, the largest-ever gift of its kind to a San Diego nonprofit.

The first grants from Kahn’s gift, which is the third-largest gift of its kind to a U.S. community foundation, included $150,000 in unrestricted grants to 10 San Diego-based music education nonprofits to assist under-resourced children.

The grants will grow music appreciation in San Diego in memory of Kahn, a classical musician who played clarinet in symphonies at UC San Diego and University of San Diego.

The Jay Kahn Endowment and Innovation Funds have also helped support better understanding of economic equity in our region and the San Diego Housing Fund to source land, raise and deploy philanthropic capital and partner with developers to improve housing access for low- and middle-income families.

Your Lasting Legacy.

This Giving Season, make your legacy a reality by setting up a legacy fund to benefit future generations.

You can contribute assets during your lifetime or set up gifts to be contributed after you pass away from assets such as bequests by wills or living trusts, donor-advised funds, charitable gift annuities, life insurance policies, retirement assets and more.

If you’re not sure where to begin, visit SDFoundation.org/Legacy, or download our Guide to Building Your Charitable Legacy. Or contact our Donor Services team at (619) 814-1332 or donorservices@ sdfoundation.org.

Our Giving Team can help you determine which planned giving option is best for you, your family and your community.

Happy Giving Season.

This article was originally published in the San Diego Business Journal 2023 Giving Guide.

Download the Charitable Legacy Guide

This valuable resource will help you understand how to set up a legacy fund and the lasting impact planned gifts can have for you, your family and your community.