The Square
News and perspectives from Covia.

Throughout the recent challenging times, the strength of resilient community and caring connections with one another have never been more apparent. For more than 50 years, members of the Covia Foundation Heritage Society have helped to build the foundation of that resiliency. Heritage Society members pledge a future gift to Covia Foundation to help support their community, the Circle of Friends Assistance Fund, or a cherished Covia program. These legacy gifts throughout the years have buoyed the resilience, quality, and strength of Covia communities and services.

You don’t have to be wealthy to make a difference. You just have to plant a gift in your estate plans. Your wishes will grow from there, enriching the community of caring and services for seniors.

What types of gifts can I leave to the Covia Foundation in my will?
You may leave items such as cash, property, land, securities or real estate. Every gift, no matter how small or large, can make a difference in the lives of seniors.

Can I support a specific program in my community with my gift?
Yes, you may support a specific community or program. You may also designate your gift be used where the need is greatest. These unrestricted gifts are especially valuable, as they provide flexibility to respond to changing needs and priorities.

Is a gift through my will tax deductible?
The Covia Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Charitable gifts are deductible to the full extent of the law. However, we suggest you seek advice from your tax advisor. Administrative charges are not deducted from gifts.

I already have a will — can I still leave a gift to the Covia Foundation?
Yes. Simply specify the Covia Foundation as a beneficiary of a particular account (such as a savings account or a retirement account). You can also amend your will with simple language (referred to as a codicil) to include a gift to the Covia Foundation.

How do I get started?
Please contact Katharine Miller, Covia Foundation Executive Director (925.956.7414 or kmiller@covia.org), to discuss your priorities and options. The Covia Foundation receives and administers all charitable gifts made to support Covia Communities, Covia Affordable Communities, and Covia Community Services.

Please notify us of your intentions to provide a bequest gift so that we may include your name as a member of the Heritage Society on the Honor Roll of Donors.

*This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 edition of Community Matters

The Covia Foundation recently hosted an online presentation to provide insights on the recent changes to U.S. tax laws and what impact that might have.

“As I speak with residents and friends out in our communities, we’re getting a lot of questions about recent tax law changes,” says Katharine Miller, Executive Director of the Covia Foundation. “We thought it would be good to share an overview on some of these changes – especially now since many of us have time to catch up on all of that planning and some of those details.”

To provide some information, the Foundation invited Bill McMorran of Green Oak Consulting to provide some basics on the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act – “880 pages of fun” – while emphasizing that “as always, you need to talk to your own advisors because they do know your situation better than anyone else.”

Although the new tax deadline is July 15th, “It’s really important if you have a refund coming to file as soon as possible.” Although McMorran filed his taxes and those of his mother on the same day, McMorran received the direct deposit into his account after five working days, while his mother received her paper check about a week later. “We’re seeing that the direct deposit accounts are the ones that receive priority – or at least they’re moving them out faster,” he says.

On the other hand, if you expect to owe taxes, “you have 90 more days to file your federal returns, and California gives you until July 15 as well to file your tax return. So if you owe money, figure it out, and then sit on it until about July 10, then send it in.” The July 15 deadline also extends to contributions to retirement funds.

Estimated tax payment deadlines have also been extended. Your April 15 first quarterly estimated taxes for the United States and for California are now due July 15. In a recent change, the June 15 second quarterly payment to the US and to California are also now due on July 15.

McMorran noted that “probably one of the best pieces of news I think anyone could expect or have asked for is that, if you take a required minimum distribution out of your IRA, you do not have to take it this year.” Those who choose not to take the distribution will have a lower income and, accordingly, lower taxes.

“If you’ve already taken your required minimum distribution in the past 60 days, you can put it back in,” explains McMorran. He refers people and their financial advisors to section 2203 of the CARES Act to determine what’s best for them. 

Finally, McMorran encourages people to take advantage of this time to review their overall estate plan. “Have you looked at your estate plans in the past three to five years?” he asks. He suggests making sure that your beneficiaries, trustees, and legally responsible parties are all current and able to fulfill the duties assigned to them. “Also, while we have a lot of time on our hands, think about your own legacy: how to best benefit people, the organizations you care about, what really matters, and what you want to share with the future.”

If you would like to see McMorran’s full presentation, as well as another video that goes into more depth about other planning topics, please contact Katharine Miller at the Covia Foundation at kmiller@covia.org and she will send you the online video links.  Covia Foundation will be offering more useful information by video in the future.

The Foundation is available to provide support and insight into your financial planning, charitable giving, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, and legacy planning. You can read the Foundation’s most recent Community Matters newsletter to learn about Covia’s impact in the greater community and how gifts and donations to the Foundation help provide critical services to older adults.

The Covia Foundation recently announced the recipients of the 2019 Darby Betts grant funds.

Established in 2005 as a partnership between Covia and the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Darby Betts Fund supports services and programs that benefit seniors in the Episcopal Dioceses of California, Northern California, and El Camino Real.

In 2019, the fund was able to disburse $84,000 among 14 organizations, providing $13,000 more than last year’s grants.

Grant recipients and programs for 2019 are:

• Alliance on Aging: Tax Counseling for the Elderly
• Art With Elders: Art classes
• Church of the Epiphany, Vacaville: Community Meals Program
• CIC Ministries: Eyeglass Project
• Contra Costa Interfaith Housing: Housing Supportive Services
• Home Match: Home Readiness Incentives
• Market Day: New Market at Shires Memorial, San Jose
• Epiphany Lutheran & Episcopal Church, Marina: Breakfast with Friends
• Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco: Senior Center, Healthy Aging
• Lavender Seniors of the East Bay : Support Group and Newsletter
• River City Food Bank, Sacramento: Most Important Meal Program
• The Gubbio Project, San Francisco: Adult Day & Respite Program
• The Living Room Center, Santa Rosa: Homeless Transit improvements
• Trinity Center, Walnut Creek: Services for homeless adults

The Reverend Canon Darby W. Betts served as the Chairman of Covia (then Episcopal Homes Foundation) as well as the Archdeacon for Elders for the Diocese of California. He was the driving force behind the development of the Covia Communities St. Paul’s Towers and Spring Lake Village as well as many other initiatives to serve seniors. The fund was named in his honor.

To qualify for the Darby Betts grant, organizations must operate on a nonprofit basis and demonstrate a clear and dedicated focus on services and programs that benefit older adults living throughout the region covered by the three Episcopal Dioceses in Northern California – from its northern border down to San Luis Obispo. The grants are determined by a committee of representatives from the Episcopal Impact Fund and Covia.

Ruth’s Table remembers fondly their friend and participant Chuck Raymond, who was an accomplished architectural designer with a love of creative expression. Chuck died in May of 2018 and made a significant gift in his will to support Ruth’s Table, leaving a legacy to creative aging.

Charles “Chuck” Raymond’s passions in life included design, architecture and an extensive network of close friends. Mr. Raymond graduated on full scholarship with honors from the University of Michigan, School of Architecture. He established a well-respected architectural firm, Raymond Designs of Atlanta, Georgia, concentrating for 30 years on commercial airport retail.

Long-time friend Jerry Brown, Covia Senior Director of Affordable Communities, recalls meeting Chuck through a mutual friend who was on his staff as an interior designer. “Chuck was like Cary Grant,” Jerry recalls. “He was debonair, intelligent, and loved the arts, fashion and design.”

Chuck also loved to travel, visiting museums and enjoying the cuisine and culture from London to Paris, Barcelona, Malta, Australia, New Zealand, and Buenos Aires. Jerry remembers the New Year’s Eve dinner and fireworks he shared with Chuck in 2005 at Jules Verne atop the Eiffel Towers. “We also shared family Thanksgiving dinner in 2009 at Windows of the Worlds atop New York’s World Trade Center,” Jerry recalls.

Chuck retired to Palm Springs in 2017 and, through his friendship with Jerry, discovered the range of programs supporting creative expression at Ruth’s Table at Bethany Center. Chuck was an avid art collector with special interest in Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. At Ruth’s Table, he purchased two pieces from the gallery showing of artist Jennifer Ewing’s “Spirit Boats,” meant to symbolize passage and metaphysically hold a person as they journey.  

Ruth’s Table Director Jessica McCracken remembers fondly that Chuck participated in the Ruth’s Table community production of its 50th Anniversary artwork “Crochet Jam” by artist Ramekon Artwisters. The piece hangs in the lobby of Bethany Center.  “Through it we’ll always have a little bit of Chuck’s spirit with us,” she said. 

Jerry noted that Chuck will be remembered by residents, participants, staff, and board members for his love of the arts, fashion, puns, cuisine and world travel that he connected with the diverse seniors of Bethany Center and Ruth’s Table.

Chuck’s estate gift to the Bethany Center Foundation will help support programs at Ruth’s Table that bring people together in creative expression, inspiring Bethany Center residents in creativity and wellness exercise to stimulate the brain, the body and the spirit.

If you have included Covia Foundation or the Bethany Center Foundation in your will or estate plan, please let us know so that we can say thank you. For information on how to include a program or community you care about in your will or estate plan, please contact Covia Foundation Executive Director Katharine Miller at 925.956.7414 or kmiller@covia.org. We’d love to help you make a difference, supporting something you care about.

As a nonprofit organization with values rooted in service, Covia is committed to supporting the communities we serve. We find new ways to help people, especially those at risk, live well and age well, anywhere they call home.

To fulfill this commitment, we raise more than $2 million annually through the Covia Foundation and pledge 2% of Covia Communities’ annual gross revenue towards our charitable activities. Most importantly, we strive to live out our values in everything we do. We couldn’t be more proud of the work our staff, our residents, our donors, and our organization do all year round. 

Our Calendars are Always Full

We have a multitude of programs and services dedicated to supporting our residents, our communities, and seniors who live in and around the areas we serve. This year’s Social Accountability Report looks at a year in the life, so you can see a sampling of the ways we help seniors every day. The report highlights the impact our work is having in the communities we serve. 

Click here to download a copy of Covia’s 2018 Social Accountability Report.

Planning to make end of year donations to support the causes you care about? This year’s tax law changes will make a difference in the way those charitable gifts are treated, with an implication for your 2018 taxes and for the year to come. As you do make your final donations of the year, it’s also a good time to consider your plans for next year’s charitable giving.

While the primary motivation for most charitable gifts is a desire to make a difference, not simply tax breaks, good financial planning leaves more for charitable gifts. Donors are paying attention to the impact of the new tax law – and making plans to maximize the difference their gifts can make.  The Covia Foundation offered several workshops this year on maximizing your charitable contribution and offers the following strategies you can use for your own planning purposes.

The new tax law that went into effect for 2018 nearly doubles the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. That means fewer Americans will itemize deductions on their tax returns – including charitable gifts.

Using tax-smart giving strategies can allow some donors to give more and enable others to grow their initial contributions tax-free until funds are disbursed to designated organizations:

APPRECIATED STOCK:

One strategy is to donate appreciated assets such as stocks or real estate directly to a charity. Donors receive the fair-market value of the asset at the time of the gift as a charitable deduction – without incurring the capital gains tax they would face if selling an appreciated asset outright. The charity then liquidates the asset and puts the funds to work to make a difference.

IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER:

Taxpayers over the age of 70 ½ can plan a Qualified Charitable Distribution from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). Diverting some or all of the required minimum distribution from an IRA can provide financial benefits. While the distribution doesn’t count as a charitable deduction, it also doesn’t add to the donor’s adjusted gross income – which can reduce income taxes (and possibly Medicare premiums). Up to $100,000 annually may be requested as a Qualified Charitable Distribution.

DONOR ADVISED FUNDS:

Donors can make several years’ worth of charitable gifts in cash or appreciated assets to a donor-advised fund. This strategy can provide an immediate tax deduction on the amount contributed and allows the donor to direct gifts from the fund each year to the charities he or she supports.

Charities are able to continue their work in good part because of the support of people who care about making a difference. Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to make an even bigger impact with your charitable dollars. Generosity combined with knowledge can make all the difference in the world.

If you would like to attend a future charitable giving forum, please contact Michelle Haines, Covia Foundation Development Associate, at mhaines@covia.org. And to join our effort to provide life-changing support for seniors, please visit our secure online donation page.