You don’t need a fortune to be a philanthropist. For example, you can:
Start a charitable fund. A number of community foundations let you funnel as little as $1,000 a year into donor-advised funds, and let you choose the recipient. You contribute cash, stocks or other property — and take a tax deduction for your contribution each year — until you reach a certain threshold, typically $5,000 or $10,000.
Give to a classroom. What better way to spend your charitable dollars than to help teachers help kids? At DonorsChoose.org, you get your pick of teacher-proposed projects. DonorsChoose makes the purchase and sends it to the teacher.
Volunteer on vacation. Use your next vacation to give something back.
Or you can be an angel for as little as $100: Upstart allows you to give money to entrepreneurial college graduates. You can invest in $100 increments in one “upstart” or as many as you choose. You’ll receive a modest portion of the company’s income — up to an annual rate of return of 14.99 percent — for 10 years. You can also contribute to projects through Kickstarter, which focuses more on creative individuals who want to raise money to produce films, music and art.