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National Philanthropy Day Kicks Off the Giving Season

Beyond the holiday cheer, there are additional benefits to giving


November 15 marks National Philanthropy Day. It’s no surprise that it falls right before the holidays, a time of year when we tend to engage in more charitable giving. Here, we even have Colorado Gives Day December 5, an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy.

Beyond the holiday cheer, there are additional benefits to giving ... some we may not even realize.


No matter when or how you give, we all know that helping others feels good. As it turns out, it’s scientifically beneficial for your health, too. Research shows philanthropy is connected to our human biology – boosting physical and mental health. It can also extend our lifespan. One reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is because it helps lower the effects of stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. There is growing evidence that when you give, the “feel good” chemicals in our brains are released into the body, inducing warm feelings of connection to others.

People who give to others tend to report fewer aches and pains, have more energy and feel stronger. By contributing time or money to a charitable cause, our generosity and abundance produces far-reaching effects on the wellbeing of others and on our personal happiness.


Many charitable gifts provide a current-year income tax deduction. Check to see if the charities are registered with the IRS in order to make tax-deductible contributions. While a tax deduction may not be your intent when making a donation, it’s a benefit you should take advantage of when available.

Keep receipts and records for all donations. To receive tax deductions, you’ll have to show proof of donation and send an itemized form to the IRS. There are different rules that apply for different types of donations, so be sure to check the IRS website for more information.


There are several types of charitable beneficiaries including public charities, pooled income funds, private foundations, donor-advised funds and Charitable Remainder Trusts to consider. One effective and popular choice for individuals who wish to leave a legacy to their favorite charity, but also reap various financial benefits, is the Charitable Remainder Trust. In exchange for giving a substantial monetary gift to charity, the Remainder Trust provides you with several major tax and economic benefits, and allows you to:

  • Defer capital gains taxes
  • Increase diversification and cash flow
  • Receive a current-year federal income tax deduction
  • Reduce future estate tax liabilities

As you gather with friends and family to celebrate this holiday season, considering spreading the holiday spirit in your community through charitable giving. 

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Shelley Ford

Shelley Ford is a financial advisor with The Pelican Bay Group of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in downtown Denver.  Shelley can be reached at 303-572-4839 or visit http://www.morganstanleyfa.com/shelley.ford/.

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