When Emily and Malcolm Fairbairn decided to make a 0 million gift in 2017 to organizations that combat Lyme disease, they chose Fidelity Charitable, the country’s largest charity by assets, to distribute the money.
But the Fairbairns contend their donation was mishandled, costing the charities they wanted to support millions of dollars. They sued Fidelity Charitable, which says it followed the law.
The case sheds light on the limitations of a popular charitable vehicle the Fairbairns used, known as a donor-advised fund, which disburses money over time but offers an immediate tax deduction. It also shows how donors can find themselves in conflict when they try to maximize the tax benefit and still retain control of how that donation is managed.
“People are saying, ‘Hmm, I didn’t know this could happen,’” said David A. Levitt, a principal at the nonprofit law firm Adler and Colvin. “But with attorneys and sophisticated clients, we’re aware that this can happen. There are many issues like this that never make it to a case.”
The case has the potential to cool a fast-growing area of charitable giving. Donor-advised funds held 0 billion in assets in 2017 and accounted for .08 billion in grants, according to a report from the National Philanthropic Trust. That same year, .23 billion was donated to these vehicles.
The funds have faced other criticism, including a lack of transparency.
Donors can remain anonymous, which can be a concern if they are using the fund to obscure political activity or other causes, said Jacqueline Elias, managing director at J. P. Morgan Private Bank.
The funds have been particularly popular in Silicon Valley, where tech executives time the donation of stock in conjunction with their firm’s initial public offering to maximize their tax benefit and avoid paying a capital-gains tax.
It’s important to understand the nature of donor-advised funds. Think of them as a charitable spending account. Donors can put cash or assets, like stocks, into a fund and then make grants from the fund to charities of their choice.
The funds are housed at a sponsor, such as the charitable arm of a large firm like Fidelity, Schwab or Vanguard; a community foundation focused on a city or an area; or a boutique firm that focuses on a niche area like the environment.
Because that sponsor is considered a public charity in its own right, donors get the tax deduction when they donate to the fund. When the money is doled out to other public charities, donors do not get a second deduction.
By law, the donors have given up control of their donation when they put the money into the fund. But in practice, their grant requests generally go through a cursory review to ensure the money will go to a public charity — and not pay for trips, gala tickets or a job for a child.
This lack of control becomes crucial when donations include less-traditional assets that can be sold, like stock, private equity or hedge fund holdings or even shares of a private business.
Donor-advised funds “generally sell off most any type of salable investment, be it a long-term capital asset, real estate, jewelry, privately held stock,” said Page Snow, chief philanthropic officer of Foundation Source, which helps private foundations with administration.
Donors would have more control if they set up a private foundation to handle their charitable giving, but they would also have to deal with the administration costs and burdens, or find someone to oversee those tasks.
“In a private foundation, you can hold jewelry, art work, maps,” Ms. Snow said. “We had a client who had a helicopter, and somebody who donated a saddle.”
Still, the tax deduction is always greater if the donation goes to a public charity, like a university, hospital or, yes, a donor-advised fund, Ms. Snow said.
In the case of the Fairbairns, the 0 million donation included shares of Energous, which makes wireless charging technology. The shares had appreciated substantially on the regulatory approval of the company’s transmitter.
By using a donor-advised fund, the Fairbairns would not have to pay taxes on the capital gains in those shares. They would also receive a higher tax deduction for both the stock and cash portion, and ultimately be able to give more to charities as the stock price rose.
Or that was the plan.
The Fairbairns’ complaint alleges that Justin Kunz, a relationship manager in Fidelity’s family office group, which serves its wealthiest clients, made certain promises over how the donation would be handled. One of those promises, the suit says, was to sell the stock over time and not let any sale exceed 10 percent of the daily trading volume. A quick sale would decrease the value of the shares and whittle down the 0 million.
Vincent Loporchio, a spokesman for Fidelity Charitable, declined to make Mr. Kunz or anyone from Fidelity Charitable available for an interview. But in emails, he disputed the Fairbairns’ claims. He said that it was Fidelity Charitable’s policy to sell any securities as soon as they were received and that the Fairbairns had known this.
“Their claim that they were told something different is entirely false, and not supported by any evidence,” Mr. Loporchio said in an email.
The Fairbairns’ lawyers would not comment on the case, but they contested Fidelity’s response in their legal filings. They argued that Mr. Kunz and another executive at Fidelity Charitable who handled complex assets had told the Fairbairns that the stock would be sold gradually to maintain the price.
Mrs. Fairbairn said in an interview that the way the sale had been handled deprived charities of money. “At first, we were horrified,” she said. “Then we got very angry.”
She added, “This has been personal and has affected our entire family.”
In November, a judge in United States District Court for the Northern District of California denied Fidelity’s motion to dismiss the case. No trial date has been set.
The case is more than just a battle between a donor and a charity. It is a challenge to how the funds are becoming the dominant charitable behemoths in the United States, experts say.
Mr. Levitt, who is not involved in the lawsuit, said the fact that the case was allowed to proceed was already a victory for donors like the Fairbairns. The presumption, he said, is that once the donation is made and the tax deduction is received, the money belongs to the fund, not the donor. Most funds try to adhere to a donor’s wishes, but they don’t have to.
In some ways, these donor-advised fund are the ultimate middlemen. They give the tax benefit that donors crave, for which they collect management and investment fees that can add up to millions of dollars annually, but they hint at a vestige of control. The longer the funds hold the charitable assets, the more fees they earn.
But the fund managers insist that distributions are made, pointing to annual giving rates that exceed the 5 percent required donation rate for private foundations. (In its marketing materials, Fidelity promotes a 17 percent increase in giving last year, to .2 billion in grants out of billion in assets.)
The Fairbairns’ lawsuit is being closely watched in the industry.
“What happens if they win?” asked Jane Wilton, general counsel of the New York Community Trust, a 95-year-old sponsor of charitable funds in the city.
Fidelity’s quick sale of the shares highlights that there is no rule that mandates that a donor-advised fund must sell what it receives immediately. But that could change.
The New York Community Trust works with its brokers on how to sell something slowly to maximize the charitable proceeds. Ms. Wilton said she remembered holding a stake in a private company for years, before the company was sold and the donation became liquid.
“We sat on stock for five years, but it was a big return,” she said.
J. P. Morgan Private Bank markets its donor-advised fund as being able to handle illiquid and sensitive assets. It has regularly liquidated charitable donations over several years.
“We need to make decisions that are in line with being a fiduciary,” said Jeanne Sun, managing director and head of the bank’s advice lab, which includes philanthropy. “We would be working very closely with the client who is running the company so as not to have an adverse impact on it with the sale. That’s not in anyone’s best interest.”
Still, selling all assets quickly is legal. Once the donation is made to the fund, it becomes the fund’s property. The donor is given some oversight, largely in the form of deciding where the money eventually winds up.
What was different about the Fairbairns’ donation was the size. More than half the accounts at Fidelity contain less than ,000, and only 8 percent have more than 0,000, according to the fund’s 2019 annual report.
Mrs. Fairbairn said she was concerned not about the loss of a tax deduction but about the loss in the donation’s value after the shares were sold.
“With Fidelity’s clients, most of them are small, and if something isn’t done properly on their behalf, they have no voice,” she said. “I want charities to get their money back. It’s their money. It’s no longer my money.”B:
雷锋风云心水坛“【你】【快】【上】【去】【吧】，【我】【等】【会】【的】。”【李】【慧】【娴】【立】【刻】【开】【口】。 “【嗯】，【别】【喝】【茶】【了】。”【席】【洛】【晴】【又】【嘱】【咐】【了】【一】【遍】，【便】【起】【身】【上】【楼】【去】【了】。 【李】【慧】【娴】【目】【送】【着】【席】【洛】【晴】【上】【楼】，【默】【默】【在】【沙】【发】【上】【坐】【了】【一】【会】，【随】【即】【拿】【出】【了】【手】【机】。 …… 【第】【二】【天】【上】【午】【十】【点】【多】，【薄】【倾】【才】【洗】【漱】【完】【毕】，【准】【备】【等】【会】【吃】【点】【东】【西】【就】【去】【公】【司】，【刚】【出】【了】【卧】【室】，【就】【看】【到】【佣】【人】【小】【兰】【抱】【着】【一】【个】【盒】
【娄】【敬】【抬】【眼】【望】【向】【刘】【邦】，【他】【现】【在】【还】【不】【是】【张】【政】【的】【核】【心】【成】【员】，【所】【提】【建】【议】【的】【份】【量】【自】【然】【很】【轻】。 “【行】【军】【打】【仗】【还】【是】【谨】【慎】【为】【好】。”【刘】【邦】【委】【婉】【的】【说】【道】。 “【您】【尽】【可】【放】【心】，【这】【次】【我】【们】【不】【但】【有】【装】【备】【了】【新】【式】【马】【鞍】【马】【镫】【的】【骑】【兵】，【而】【且】【还】【有】【大】【量】【的】【战】【车】，【保】【准】【会】【杀】【的】【匈】【奴】【人】【片】【甲】【不】【留】。”【张】【政】【信】【心】【十】【足】，【刘】【邦】【也】【不】【好】【再】【说】【什】【么】【了】。 【第】【二】【天】【一】【早】【大】
“【啊】……【好】【饱】……【好】【饱】……【好】【久】【没】【有】【吃】【的】【这】【么】【舒】【服】【了】” 【云】【小】【朵】【拿】【了】【张】【纸】【巾】【擦】【了】【擦】【嘴】，【然】【后】【轻】【轻】【的】【背】【靠】【在】【椅】【子】【上】，【一】【副】【很】【享】【受】，【很】【满】【足】【的】【把】【嘴】【角】【微】【微】【上】【扬】。 【不】，【满】【足】【这】【个】【词】【汇】【可】【能】【用】【在】【女】【人】【的】【身】【上】【不】【是】【那】【么】【恰】【当】。 【因】【为】【容】【易】【让】【人】【引】【起】【误】【会】。 “【小】【朵】，【咱】【能】【不】【能】【有】【点】【出】【息】？【能】【不】【能】【有】【个】【女】【孩】【儿】【的】【样】【儿】，【矜】【持】
“【老】~~~【大】~~~~~~~” 8【号】【半】【岛】，【一】【道】【滚】【滚】【的】【浓】【烟】【一】【路】【歇】【斯】【底】【里】【的】【撞】【进】【了】【屋】【里】， “【老】【大】！【不】【好】【了】！【大】【事】【件】……【大】【事】【件】【啊】！” “……” 【正】【在】【数】【钱】【的】【尖】【嘴】【男】【人】【抬】【起】【眼】【皮】【子】【斜】【了】【过】【来】。 “【老】【大】【不】【好】【了】！【不】【好】【了】【老】【大】！【出】【事】【了】！【出】【大】【事】【了】！” “……【说】！” 【尖】【嘴】【男】【人】【不】【慌】【不】【忙】【的】【把】【钱】【归】【拢】雷锋风云心水坛【她】【是】【霍】【臣】【国】【的】【女】【儿】？ 【这】【怎】【么】【可】【能】？！ 【苏】【漫】【漫】【心】【头】【咯】【噔】【一】【跳】，【整】【个】【人】【恍】【然】【入】【梦】，【好】【半】【晌】【都】【回】【不】【过】【神】【来】。 【仿】【佛】【过】【了】【一】【个】【世】【纪】【那】【么】【久】【后】，【她】【惶】【然】【抬】【头】【看】【向】【霍】【鸿】【远】：“【如】【果】【我】【真】【的】【是】【你】【爸】【的】【女】【儿】，【那】【为】【什】【么】【从】【小】【生】【活】【在】【市】【郊】，【从】【来】【没】【有】【人】【告】【诉】【我】，【我】【还】【有】【个】【姓】【霍】【的】【父】【亲】？！” 【她】【要】【一】【个】【解】【释】，【如】【果】【她】【真】【的】【是】【霍】【臣】
“【是】【啊】！【我】【说】【过】【的】，【难】【道】【玉】【大】【人】【忘】【记】【了】【吗】？”【方】【中】【愈】【心】【想】，【这】【回】【你】【该】【死】【心】【了】【吧】！ “【我】【我】【以】【为】【你】【在】【开】【玩】【笑】【呢】！”【玉】【簟】【秋】【不】【自】【禁】【的】【露】【出】【失】【望】【神】【色】。 【齐】【楚】【嫣】【在】【久】【在】【堂】【院】【之】【中】【最】【会】【察】【言】【观】【色】，【只】【说】【话】【工】【夫】【便】【看】【出】【她】【有】【些】【不】【太】【对】【劲】【儿】，【这】【时】【笑】【着】【说】：“【婚】【姻】【大】【事】【怎】【么】【可】【能】【开】【玩】【笑】【呢】？【我】【和】【中】【愈】【哥】【哥】【自】【幼】【便】【定】【下】【了】【亲】【事】
****，【银】【枪】【亮】【甲】，【绵】【延】【营】【帐】，【喊】【声】【震】【响】。 【袁】【术】【部】【将】【纪】【灵】【走】【在】【军】【营】【里】，【东】【看】【看】，【西】【瞅】【瞅】，【好】【似】【在】【散】【步】，【又】【好】【似】【在】【巡】【查】。 【这】【次】【纪】【灵】【的】【任】【务】，【可】【以】【说】【是】【轻】【松】【愉】【快】，【也】【可】【以】【说】【是】【压】【力】【山】【大】。 【袁】【术】【征】【伐】【曹】【操】，【屡】【战】【屡】【败】，【前】【一】【次】【竟】【然】【还】【是】【不】【战】【而】【逃】，【留】【下】【来】【的】【四】【员】【大】【将】【也】【都】【被】【曹】【操】【枭】【首】【处】【死】。【对】【于】【袁】【术】【来】【说】，【曹】【操】
“【我】【回】【来】【了】！” 【陈】【贝】【贝】【将】【手】【下】【都】【收】【入】【奴】【灵】【塔】【后】【就】【启】【程】【回】【家】。 【在】【她】【的】【想】【象】【中】，【自】【己】【回】【到】【家】【肯】【定】【会】【有】【众】【多】【小】【弟】【迎】【接】，【哪】【成】【想】，【回】【到】【家】【小】【弟】【迎】【接】【是】【有】。 【两】【个】【看】【大】【门】【儿】【的】！ 【说】【好】【的】【列】【队】【欢】【迎】【呢】？ 【说】【好】【的】【久】【别】【重】【逢】【呢】？ 【去】【你】【妹】【的】，【还】【能】【再】【惨】【点】【儿】【吗】？ 【哭】【丧】【着】【一】【张】【脸】，【满】【脸】【怨】【念】【的】【盯】【着】【两】【个】【看】【门】【的】【小】【弟】