Community foundation receives $305K donation

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The Washington County Community Foundation recently received a donation of $305,000 from a Bennington area businessman and farmer. The gift will be managed as a donor advised fund (DAF) to benefit charitable projects throughout Washington County as well as the Bennington area.

The donor wished to remain anonymous.

“We have been blessed beyond what we could ever have imagined, and we want to give back to the communities which made all of those blessings possible. And we wanted to see this gift doing great things during our lifetime,” the donor and his wife said in a press release. “The Washington County Community Foundation is a tremendous organization that helps get funding to charitable projects and local nonprofits that do good works in our area.”

Bob Coffey, director of development for the foundation, said the donation will be beneficial for area organizations and those projects.

“This donor couple talked to me off and on for several years and the opportunity just fell in place to make this happen,” Coffey said.

The gift came in the form of a land transfer to the foundation. The donors owned a piece of agricultural ground that they no longer needed but was in high demand for local development. Rather than sell the land and donate the funds, they chose to gift the land outright to the foundation. The foundation then sold the land, which netted $305,000.

“They did it right,” Coffey said. “It's very important to understand that the best way to make a significant charitable donation is to use assets that have grown in value. That way, the donor does not pay any capital gains taxes, and the donor still gets a tax deduction for the full value of the gift. The important thing is to transfer the land, stocks, jewelry, whatever it may be. Don't sell it first. In this case, it saved the donors over $30,000 in capital gains taxes, plus whatever income tax deductions they earn.”

The Washington County Community Foundation, which recently changed its name from Blair Area Community Foundation to reflect its county-wide focus, has existed since 1998 to enhance the quality of life throughout the county through giving that benefits local charitable organizations as well as the donor.

Over the past 10 years, the foundation has distributed more than $3 million in grants, scholarships and financial support to local nonprofit organizations. Last year, more than 90 local organizations received funds through the foundation.

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