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An Advisor’s Approach to Transformative Giving

Beyond Tax Breaks: Advisor Amy Parrish and AACF’s Approach to Transformative Giving

Resources matter more when you know how to use them effectively.  But how do you know if you’re using your resources effectively? Amy Parrish and the Athens Area Community Foundation have a few theories.

Amy is a financial planner with Highland Trust Partners and has been since 1992. She’s been familiar with AACF since its beginning, but she started bringing her clients to the organization two years ago.

“When I do financial planning for clients, I always want to address their charitable giving because I’m passionate about that. And I’ve been really surprised by the people who are philanthropically minded that haven’t really thought about how they give,” said Amy. “They may have shared some areas of interest, but they don’t know how to fulfill that. They just give at the end of the year for tax purposes.”

Amy wanted to show her clients that there were benefits to giving beyond a tax break and that, when used strategically, their contributions could have significantly more impact on the causes they’re passionate about.

“I’ve realized that they [AACF] can help facilitate these conversations. I learn more about my clients and provide them with a more valuable service because of AACF. Sarah, the President and CEO of AACF has boots on the ground. She knows where [my clients’] dollars are going to be best used to accomplish what they are really, really passionate about,” said Amy.

Through her role and partnership with ACCF, Amy is able to help others discover the type of steward they want to be with their assets.

“One of my clients has an IRA and a substantial minimum distribution every year. He didn’t need the funds, so we were giving away $100k every year to avoid the income tax. He would send us a list of 15 to 20 random charities and nonprofits who had contacted him throughout the year,” said Amy.

“I felt like we could be doing more. I had Sarah meet with my client and me to help decide where he wanted the funds to go – rather than just giving to any organization he got mail from that year. He was very involved in the community, and I knew he wanted to have more of an impact. He just didn’t know how.”

McKinney and her team made it possible for Parrish to better connect with her client on a charitable and personal level.

“I remembered at one point, his former employer had created a foundation in his name, and I hadn’t heard much about it. It was no longer running because they couldn’t find anyone in the company to run it. Sarah said that they could manage the foundation through AACF,” Amy said.

“We moved a significant amount of his distribution into a new fund with AACF that he named after his deceased daughter and would be used to support scholarships for nursing students. His son was also involved in this decision, and they were both so grateful to create a legacy for his family. They now have peace of mind knowing that they have a plan for where their dollars will be used most effectively.

“Now, he’s not just giving his money for the year, and then he’s done. Through AACF, he’s created something that will continue to be a legacy for everyone,” said Amy.

Because of her partnership with AACF, Amy empowers her clients to not just give year to year, but also to create a sustainable giving plan that will last generations.

“One of the main reasons I enjoy what I do is that I can help people be more intentional with the resources they have. Often charitable giving is something that my clients care about, but they kind of put it on the back burner,” said Amy, “AACF can come alongside them and say, this is the impact you have – and this is how you can build a legacy of giving that can be passed down to generations.”

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The Athens Area Community Foundation is a public grantmaking foundation that builds community by encouraging long term giving through funds created by caring donors.

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