A First Foundation Blog

Perspectives on Philanthropy: Year-End Giving

2 minute read

As we celebrate the holiday season and close out the end of another year, we are reminded of the things for which we are grateful. It also reminds us of the importance of giving back to those in our community who are less fortunate, as well as the charitable organizations providing the services to support those in need.  While recently volunteering at Bracken's Kitchen for their annual food drive, I was reminded of how simple things such as a few hours of volunteer work or a monetary donation can bring joy to a family and an opportunity to bond during this season of giving.  

Whether we feel inspired to bring happiness to others during the holidays, or our inspiration comes from taking advantage of tax deductions before year-end, every dollar and volunteer hour is vital to local charitable organizations. These nonprofits depend on crucial year-end contributions to continue providing services to an increasing number of people due to the current economic climate, as well as providing that financial bridge for the organization into the new year. This is a time where all nonprofits are working tirelessly to make sure they carry out their mission, which typically is especially impactful during the holidays.  

Many volunteers and donors also want to make sure they make their charitable monetary donations by the end of the year for tax purposes. This creates an ideal situation for both the donor and the organization, as the donor can maximize their allowable deduction for charitable giving while the nonprofits receive a funding boost during a critical time of year. 

If your family is inspired to give back to the community, it is important to conduct your due diligence on an organization before contributing. If you are considering making a financial donation but are not familiar with the nonprofit, you can check the nonprofit organization’s status by going to GuideStar or you can run a search against the IRS database.

Any act of giving during the final days of the year can also be a meaningful way to bring your family together. Work with your family members to find a nonprofit organization that you are all passionate about and then take the step to make a financial contribution or schedule a time for all of you to volunteer together. Volunteering as a family can be a lot of fun for all generations, whether it is distributing toys, preparing sandwiches, or singing carols for the residents at a senior center. This will create a valuable opportunity to teach children and grandchildren that gift giving extends beyond their own family and out into the community.  

If you need help researching a nonprofit or identifying organizations that fulfill your philanthropic passions, contact the Philanthropy Services Group.  





Philanthropy Services provided by First Foundation Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Sara N. Garske, Assistant Vice President, Foundation Services
About the Author
Sara N. Garske, Assistant Vice President, Foundation Services
Ms. Garske joined First Foundation Inc. in 2008 and is responsible for managing operations for family foundation clients and collaborating with their trusted advisors. In her role as Assistant Vice President of Philanthropy Services, she helps family foundations execute their philanthropic mission through strategic planning, effective grant making, and impact reporting. Her years of experience allow her to provide guidance to multi-generational families navigating their philanthropic journey. Previously, Ms. Garske worked in university advancement at Claremont McKenna College, The University of San Diego, and Chapman University. She has an extensive background in board management, private giving opportunities, program development and evaluation, fundraising, and event planning. Ms. Garske currently serves as the President of Orange County Advisors in Philanthropy. She is passionate about early childhood education and served on the Education Impact Council of the United Way of Orange County and served as Co-Chair of MIND Research Institute’s Orange County Leadership Council. She is a member of Southern California Grantmakers and Orange County Funders Roundtable. Ms. Garske received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Government with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington. Sara Garske serves as assistant vice president for First Foundation’s foundation services team. In this role, she manages the operations of numerous family foundation clients, helping execute their philanthropic missions through effective grant making and scholarship programs. Read more