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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Giving is a ‘response to God’s blessing’

Retired pastor uses donor-advised fund to teach generous stewardship

May 1, 2018

Giving generously is something the Rev. Kerry Slinkard makes a point of practicing as well as preaching. “It’s a response to God’s blessing,” he says, “an acknowledgment of our responsibility to those around us.”

Slinkard, who retired in February as pastor of 400-member Oxford Presbyterian Church in southeastern Pennsylvania, says he and his wife, Lisa, set up a donor-advised fund (DAF) through the Presbyterian Foundation so they could be more intentional about their giving.

The fund has also helped them teach generosity to their daughters and has given Kerry a valuable tool to share with members of his congregation.

The DAF works like an online charitable checkbook to manage and streamline charitable giving. Ellie Johns-Kelley, a ministry relations officer for the foundation, helped the Slinkards set up their DAF in November 2015.

“When we were considering a donor-advised fund, we had a number of options,” Slinkard said. They looked at community foundations and other organizations, but ultimately chose the Foundation’s DAF as the best vehicle to manage their charitable contributions.

Kerry Slinkard (left) with his daughters and wife, Lisa (right.) (Photo provided)

“We believe in the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church, and the foundation supports that,” Slinkard explained. “The Presbyterian Foundation’s investment policies comport with ours.”

Organizing their giving to be “coherent and consistent” is important to the Slinkards, both of whom have led capital campaigns — Kerry in his congregation and Lisa in her job as development officer at an Episcopal school.

By making annual contributions of appreciated stock to their DAF, the Slinkards avoid having to pay taxes on their capital gains. They then can recommend grants of $100 or more from their fund to each charity they want to support. Grants can be made to any 501(c)(3) organization, including churches.

A minimum of $2,500 is required to open a DAF through the foundation. Tax laws require that a donor’s charitable gifts be irrevocable and unconditional to receive the associated tax benefits of a charitable deduction. Thus, the foundation has sole control over all investments and grants of the DAF.

Slinkard says his congregation’s capital campaign included an educational piece about ways to support the church financially. Donor-advised funds will be one of the options.

Nearly two years ago, Oxford Presbyterian Church set up an online giving mechanism through the Presbyterian Foundation to make it easier for members to support the church’s mission. A few members are giving online, and the number is slowly increasing.

The Slinkards enjoy talking about giving opportunities with their daughters, 16-year-old Yujie and 14-year-old Clare, and encouraging them to think about how they can contribute. “In addition to helping our own philanthropy, our DAF offers our daughters the opportunity to give to causes they want to support,” Slinkard said.

In her work with the foundation, Johns-Kelley has observed that DAFs are ideal tools for families to teach children and grandchildren to practice charitable giving.

“If you’re sitting around the kitchen table and talking about Heifer Project or a feeding program in your community, you can say, ‘Let’s make a gift through our DAF,’” she said. “It’s another opportunity for conversation about generosity.”

Eva Stimson, Presbyterian Foundation

Today’s Focus:  Stewardship

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Dick Liberty, BOP
Mary Lidtke, PMA

Let us pray:

O God, how are you at work in the world? Show us today. Guide us to the ones you can reach through us. Not of our own doing but through your grace, let us be a part of what you want to do next. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 98; 146
First Reading Leviticus 16:20-34
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Gospel Reading Matthew 6:7-15
Evening Psalms 66; 116