Allison Kierman

Allison Kierman with her children at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.

Tzedakah, or charity, is at the heart of Judaism, but the coronavirus has changed the donation landscape for 2020. Charitable organizations are doing their best to help meet basic human needs in this moment, but they are the ones most likely to suffer from an economic downturn.

These organizations — among the top receivers of charitable giving — report that they are in greater need of philanthropic gifts than ever before:

Jewish organizations: Arizona synagogues, Jewish organizations, community centers and other nonprofits are all suffering from canceled fundraisers, declining or frozen memberships and member contributions and increased member needs.

Social services organizations: Local food and clothing charities and organizations like the Jewish Family & Children’s Service are endeavoring to provide basic necessities, social services and medical care to children, families and adults that cannot otherwise afford these services. Emergency funds are vital to support this growing, vulnerable population.

Medical organizations: Local medical facilities such as Mayo Clinic and Phoenix Children’s Hospital are very dependent on philanthropy to increase their capacity to care for the community, including additional patient beds and critical care capacity.

Arts organizations: As gatherings of any size for arts events have been canceled for the foreseeable future, artists and arts professionals — including dancers and musicians — are currently out of work.

News organizations: News publishers around the world, including the Jewish News, have made their content available online for free, and some are even delivering for free, while publishers ask people to support independent journalism by giving back.

It seems impossible to list every need our community is facing at this time, but there are ways that people can help:

Cash donations: If you would like to donate a sum of money and have the capacity, an outright cash gift may be the quickest, easiest solution.

Organizations rely upon cash to help with their current operations and to prevent closures. You can also use an app like Purposity — a combination of purpose and generosity — as a way to assist specific needs of individuals in your community, such as buying shoes for the kid down the street or food for an injured police officer.

Planned giving: You can name a charity as a beneficiary

of your estate upon your passing. This giving can take

many forms, including through a charitable lead trust, a charitable remainder trust, gift annuity, contribution to a donor advised fund or as beneficiary of a retirement account or personal revocable living trust. Your estate plans may

specify how and for what purpose the giving is utilized.

Benefactor societies: Many local organizations have life and legacy committees or planned giving campaigns to secure their futures financially and recognize donors and benefactors in special ways.

For example, if you give $100,000 or more to Mayo Clinic, you are considered a development patient and have priority access to appointments and assistance. For other organizations, you may be able to designate a gift, building, program, endowment or fund with your family name; join a legacy club that allows you to stay connected and involved in the organization; and socialize and network with other high profile donors.

If you are considering making a charitable donation but are unsure of how to proceed, reach out to your financial advisor, CPA or lawyer for help. Working closely with other members of your financial and estate planning team,

you can craft a plan utilizing the financial and charitable planning tools that will best help you achieve your charitable goals, support our community during this pandemic and get you on the path to leaving a lasting legacy. JN

Allison L. Kierman is the managing partner of Kierman Law, PLC, an Arizona estate planning and probate law firm based in Scottsdale. She serves on the board of directors for Congregation Beth Israel and the youth board of directors for the Martin Pear Jewish Community Center.

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