Charitable giving is not just for the wealthy

As year-end approaches, a reminder that charitable giving does not have to be just for the wealthy.

One example of this, a modest slice of the philanthropy movement, are “giving circles” in which like-minded people pool their money and give a combined, larger gift to causes they deem important.

One of those, the One Percent Foundation, aimed at those in their 20s and 30s, was co-founded in 2007 by Daniel Kaufman, 33. As the name implies, participants donate 1% of their annual income. Over conversations while at UCLA School of Law, Daniel and friends realized they rarely gave to any significant causes. “Most of us felt we couldn’t afford to give, didn’t know where to give or thought our donation wouldn’t have any impact,” Kaufman said.

“Part of it is getting people in the mind-set that they can do this. With rent, student loans, credit card payments, many [young adults] think ‘No way,'” said Kaufman. “But if you change that to giving $20 a month, now it looks like a couple beers or going to the movies and buying popcorn. It totally changes how they think about giving.”

Elfrena Foord, a certified financial planner and co-founder of the California Plan Your Giving Project, says, “Everyone can leave a bequest to charity of something. We want to change the idea that you have to be rich to leave money to charity.”

Charitable bequests, leaving something behind in their wills to a non-profit cause, certainly aren’t a new concept. And many people, especially at year-end tax time, routinely make financial donations to causes they care about.

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