As a Grand Rapids, Mi estate and charitable planning attorney I am proud of the many wonderful families and businesses in West Michigan that support the great work of charities.  We are blessed with charities in our area that serve just about any cause you may support – from education, arts, health, animals, music, various disabilities, and beyond.  Personally, I am privileged to serve on the Board of the Southeast Ottawa Community Foundation and the Family Hope Foundation.  

Given the short timeframe left (only a few weeks) on some incredible giving opportunities, please check out this blog post before reading on about other contribution opportunities.

Ok, now that we have the urgent opportunities covered . . . moving on.  So, you’ve decided that you would like to support a cause through giving to a charity.  Whether it is the cause, the potential tax deduction, something else or a combination of one or more factors, the question comes down to “what should I give?”  Some will say, “well, that’s an odd question Mike . . . I’ll just write a check.”  And that is certainly one of the ways to contribute to a charity, and probably the most common.  There are many other ways you can contribute in a way that may increase the benefit to the charity and to you.

Here are some examples of the numerous ways you can give to a charity that supports a cause dear to you:

  • Cash (or cash equivalents)
  • Gift of appreciated stock
  • Gift of closely held stock
  • IRA charitable rollover
  • Life insurance
  • Real estate
  • Other items of value such as jewelry, artwork, collections, antiques, automobiles, etc.
  • Donor advised funds
  • Charitable gift annuities
  • Pooled-income funds
  • Charitable lead trust
  • Charitable remainder trust
  • Private foundation
  • Conservation easements
Whew – that’s a lot of options!  So how do you decide which one (or more) is best for your particular situation and cause?  Well, I’ll talk about them in more detail in future blog posts to give you a better idea of the pro’s and con’s of each.  However, I strongly recommend talking with a estate and charitable planning attorney who (a) understands and is familiar with the various giving options, and (b) has a passion for charitable giving himself/herself.  Ready to get started?  Call us today at 616-827-8596 to get started creating your charitable legacy today!


Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and business planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate and asset protection planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses and pet planning.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.