At Truman Heartland Community Foundation our volunteers are getting geared up for our Annual Community Grants process. Our Board of Directors has the responsibility to make grants each year from endowed funds established by numerous donors over the years, many through planned/estate gifts.

Last year our grants committee made 59 grants to nonprofit organizations serving our Eastern Jackson County community, and this year more than $250,000 will be available for these grants. Organizations that would like to apply for funding this year need to submit an initial letter of Interest by Thursday, April 7. More information can be found our website Please help us spread the word about this opportunity to local nonprofits.

Awarding these grants is a tremendous responsibility since these donors have entrusted our board to take great care of their gift of a lifetime made through an estate plan. The needs in our community change over time and these individuals had the confidence that our Community Foundation would year after year, through a competitive grants process, fund the best programs of nonprofits making a difference in our community. Our volunteer Board of Directors and Grants Committee take this responsibility to heart and do their best to ensure we are funding the most effective programs.

These gifts of a lifetime made through estate plans are vital to the health of our community. I’d like to share with you some information about one type of planned gift that has been used to create a number of our grant making funds.

There are many types of trusts utilized for estate planning purposes. Many people will have a Living Trust that owns all of their assets in order to avoid probate and organize their estate planning. A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) is a different type of trust for individuals who care about charities but also have the need for income for themselves or other family members. The trust will generate annual income for the beneficiary of the trust and then the remainder after the life of the beneficiary is available for the charity specified. Beneficiaries receiving the income from the trust could be the donor and spouse, children of the donor or any other designated person.

A CRT can be a powerful retirement planning tool for a charitably minded business owner making plans to retire. For example, a portion of a business could be donated to the Community Foundation to create a CRT that would then generate annual income for the donor and spouse for their lifetime, and the remainder after their lifetimes could create a new grant making funds for our community that could be tailored to their particular charitable interests.

In addition to receiving the annual income from the CRT, the donor would also avoid capital gains taxes that may have resulted from the sale of the shares of the business and receive a charitable deduction for the portion of the gift determined to be the charitable portion (the calculated remainder that will go to charity). Appreciated real estate is another common asset used for establishing a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT).

We encourage charitably minded people to consider planned gifts like a CRT that can be mutually beneficial, and to inform their attorney or financial planning professional about their charitable interests. The remainder of this CRT could create an endowed fund that will continue to make an impact in our community year after year through the great work of your Community Foundation’s Board of Directors and Grant Committee. We would be pleased at Truman Heartland Community Foundation to speak with you about this and other charitable giving tools.

Phil Hanson is president and CEO of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, based in Independence.