July 27, 2023

People sitting at the beach

For many people, summer means a time to relax and unwind. But, as you’ll find in this jam-packed edition of our summer newsletter, things don’t slow down much for us at AAACF.

We have so many updates, initiatives and important information to share with you.

We’re especially excited about kicking off our 60th anniversary and need your help in sharing stories about working with the AAACF has impacted your life and community.

Take this survey to contribute your memories and experiences! Also don't miss our kickoff celebration on Friday, 7/28 at 5pm!

Silent Disco 60th Celebration

Highlights this issue include:

  • A focus on the value of accessible education (and support services)
  • Programs for aging justice
  • Promotions and new hires in our organization
  • New research on family philanthropy and a report on volunteerism
  • Advice to supersize your legacy

What Does Access to Education Mean to You?

The value of education was at the crux of the recent Community Scholarship Program (CSP) luncheon held at Ypsilanti’s historic Freight House. This event brought together a room full of CSP supporters and ambassadors in celebration of one of the AAACF’s most successful projects.

Jamie Villalobos and her grandma

Highlights of the event included an interactive presentation on what accessible education means and how we can all be good ambassadors for the program. Guest speakers Tabitha Bentley and Jamie Villalobos, elaborated on the spectrum of practical and emotional advantages associated with access to higher education.

Both speakers expressed their reliance on a strong support system to help them navigate their independence and life on college campus beyond the classroom. From anxieties about housing and transportation, to various documents and deadlines to manage on the admin side of attending college, first-generation students are often distracted from their studies by these concerns to the point of being unable to complete their programs. In addition to personal assistance and advocacy from College Success Coaches, funds are available to CSP recipients when unexpected expenses arise which might also hinder academic progress.

Read more about the CSP celebration, including details about the speakers and a staff panel discussion.

Programs for Aging Justice

May was Older American Months and at AAACF, aging justice is one of our major areas of impact. As one of the fastest growing demographics in Washtenaw County, aging community members are a top priority. There are many opportunities to work together in creating and maintaining structures to foster healthy, fulfilling lives for older adults in need.

Jim Mangi at Emagine Theater

Last month, our blog highlighted two stories about people and organizations to provide support, care and enrichment to older adults in our community:

  • What Happens When Values-Friendly Organizations Come Together explores how Jim Mangi, Executive Director of Dementia Friendly Saline partnered with the Emagine movie theater to provide movie events where caregivers and their loved ones can come together in a dementia-friendly setting. This includes curbside greeters, welcome table for easy ticketing, and “soft sound and lighting” in the theater.
  • Helping Older Adult “Live Their Best Lives” in Washtenaw County features an interview with Lisa French who leads grant writing and communications as part of Brio Living Services, the organization that operates Huron Valley PACE in Ypsilanti. She shared an overview of how funds are used to provide special programs and services to support aging populations – and the positive impact they have for the whole community.

New Staff Updates

In May, we were excited to announce two promotions for our staff!

Congrats to Chris Lemon, formerly our Senior Community Investment Officer, who has been promoted to Vice President for Community Investment, Grantmaking & Community Impact. Learn more about Chris's commitment to our community.

And cheers Jillian Rosen, formerly our Vice President, Community Investment, who has been promoted to Special Assistant to the President & CEO. Read more about Jillian and her commitment to community.

Frances Todoro-Hargreaves

In addition, we named our New Impact Investing Manager, Frances Todoro-Hargreaves. Frances has lent her considerable skills in various ways in our community. Her graduate studies in Community Planning, Geography and Affordable Housing led her to work as an Assistant to the Mayor for the City of Ann Arbor. In this role, she also acted as Assistant Emergency Manager for the City, and Coordinator for the Mayor’s Annual Green Fair. Frances has continued her advocacy for Ann Arbor citizens as the Commissioner and Vice Chair for the Ann Arbor Independent Community Police Oversight Commission.

Frances’ professional experiences have included senior leadership roles in commercial real estate, with McKinley, Inc., and, most recently, Frances has served as the Executive Director of the State Street District. In this role, Frances has led planning/operations for the State Street Art Fair, and transformed financial systems to promote efficiency and transparency.

Research about Family Philanthropy

One of our favorite things in Washtenaw County is how many philanthropic efforts are made by multigenerational families who pass down a passion for service and community to their children and grandchildren.

A recent study conducted by Langsberg Gersick Advisors took a deep look at the evolution of family relationships and the need to balance individual preferences with collective purpose for designing a successful family philanthropy “system.” According to researchers, creating such a system is essential for not only meeting philanthropic goals, but also results in a more rewarding experience for participants and closer family bonds.

Learn more about the study and key suggestions based on research for those interested in creating and sustaining successful family philanthropy.

Report on the State of Volunteer Engagement

Volunteers walking together

Recently, researchers from the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland School of Policy published a first-of-its-kind quantitative study on strategic volunteerism. Insights in this report come from more than 1000 nonprofit CEOs and 100+ funders on the state of U.S. volunteer engagement.

Findings reveal that staffing and funding shortages have made volunteerism more critical than ever to the success of a nonprofit; however, according to Bob Grimm, Director of the Do Good Institute, “volunteer numbers are down in our post-COVID world.” This part of what he sees as a “troubling trend” along with a greater demand for nonprofit services and dwindling support from funders for volunteer efforts.

Read more about this research and the critical role of volunteerism in nonprofit success.

Leave your IRA to a Nonprofit and Supersize your Legacy

Estate planning books

Why is it so beneficial to leave your IRA to your community foundation and other assets to your family? Three words: taxes, taxes, and taxes:

  1. IRAs are included in your estate for federal estate tax purposes when you die. The current exemptions are set at such high levels right now that they do not affect as many taxpayers as they used to, but for many families, estate taxes are still an issue. If you leave your IRA to charity, estate taxes do not apply to that balance.
  2. The bulk of the balance in an IRA (sometimes the entire amount) is counted as income when IRA withdrawals are taken by your estate or your heirs. If a charity receives your IRA, the charity will not pay these income taxes.
  3. Highly-appreciated stock and other non-retirement assets you own outside of your qualified retirement plans when you die get a “step up” in basis, meaning that your beneficiaries who receive and then sell the assets won’t pay capital gains tax on the appreciation that occurred before you died. And inherited non-retirement assets are not included in the beneficiary’s income for tax purposes.

For more information, contact your financial advisor or learn about giving through AAACF.