What You Should Know About Discretionary Planned Giving

Family Philanthropy
The San Diego Foundation is a broad-based community foundation with a mission to improve the quality of life in all our communities.

Working in development, we get the pleasure of seeing people at their best. Philanthropy – literally, “love of people” – is all about the selfless devotion of one’s resources to make the world a better place.

This is especially true because we work in planned giving. We work with donors who know that they have more than what they need for the remainder of their lifetimes, and they want to leverage their assets to bring to life their vision of a better world.

For some, that means more access to education for underprivileged youth, preserving green space for future generations, or increased arts and culture amenities to enjoy. For others, it means support for organizations the donor is passionate about – their alma mater, their place of worship, or their favorite animal welfare organization.

The good news is, because The San Diego Foundation is a broad-based community foundation with a mission to improve the quality of life in all our communities, there is a place within our family of funds for each of those dreams.

Some of the most special donors we work with are those known as discretionary donors.

Discretionary funding, also known as broad purpose or unrestricted giving, means that the donor gives discretion over the use of funds to the charitable institution – meaning, in our case, that The Foundation staff and Board are able to help decide what grants are made from the fund.

Why would anyone want to do that?

It’s a great question with a great answer.

Discretionary funding allows the community experts on staff to use funding to address those concerns that sometimes aren’t initially top-of-mind for donors, but that are of vital importance to our community and need financial support.

For example, what happens if another devastating wildfire sweeps through our region destroying homes and businesses? Or what will San Diego’s economy look like in the future and how will we best prepare our youth to become leaders in evolving industries?

We look at these unexpected challenges, along with many others, and work collaboratively with other organizations and leaders in San Diego to enact positive change.

So what does this have to do with planned giving?

The answer is simple. Planned giving donors give with the knowledge that their gifts will be enacted after their own lifetimes.

They know they won’t be around to see the effects of their giving. This empowers donors to let go in ways that are hard to do during one’s lifetime, particularly when giving from cash-on-hand, as most current gifts are.

In fact, many discretionary donors enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that their dollars will be expertly guided and used for the common good of the region, without the pressure of having to decide exactly what organizations to support and how much to give to each. With a discretionary gift, that responsibility is given over to a team of staff who are committed to advancing the quality of life in San Diego.

Moreover, because most planned gifts are endowment funds, discretionary donors know that their impact will constantly evolve in tandem with the ever-changing needs of the region. Their gift remains relevant long after their lifetimes.

In short, endowed, discretionary planned gifts are the best way for donors to support the common good of the region forever. Donors can choose a focus area that is of importance to them (i.e. child welfare or environmental protection) or leave it open-ended in support of the at-large common good of the region.

The San Diego Foundation welcomes the opportunity to work with passionate individuals, community groups, businesses and more who want to advance a vibrant quality of life for the region. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you accomplish your charitable goals.

Contact our Development & Stewardship Team