Fast and agile: What your Giving Fund can do in an emergency

From our vantage point, it has been awe-inspiring to watch the response of NCF givers to disasters over the last couple of years. In crisis after crisis, this community that supports ministries and charities using a Giving Fund at NCF (donor-advised fund, or DAF) always show up. They show up immediately, and many stay for the long haul. And they seem to find a way around every obstacle.

Part of this is that they are savvy and uniquely tenacious. The other part is the readiness, speed, and agility of a Giving Fund. As COVID-19 was devastating India, after an earthquake in Haiti, during the evacuation of Afghanistan, and, most recently, as war broke out in Ukraine, NCF givers responded quickly, compassionately, and often sacrificially.

Today, though, we want to shine a light on a supporting partner in your generosity – your Giving Fund. We want to look at this fast, agile vehicle for giving.

Ready

Janice Worth is a highly successful entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for generosity. But the pandemic had an impact on her … and on her investments. In 2020, she was frightened when she saw a large drop in her net worth. The crisis brought back some old fears. “It exposed how my heart was still tied to my zeroes … which, by the way, were diminishing rapidly,” she says.

Her initial response was to pause her giving. But, at that moment, Janice says, Philippians 4:9 came to mind:  “My God will supply every need … according to his riches.

“When I logged into my Giving Fund, I saw that I had more than enough to fulfill my commitments to the ministries I support, because the resources were already there,” she says. She contacted a ministry she gives to monthly and asked about their immediate needs. Then she sent them a full year’s worth of contributions. She was able to release another important gift to a New York ministry in 2020 when needs arose.

Janice’s Giving Fund also had allowed her to donate appreciated stocks in 2019, when the market was hitting new highs every day. So when she looked at her Giving Fund during the crisis, what she hoped and planned to give was already there.

“Our God was being praised and thanked because of funds that were set aside,” Janice says.

But this flexibility didn’t just happen. She had planned and timed her giving well. “Planning can sound so rigid and structured,” she says (and Janice isn’t rigid and structured). But in this case, that planning readied her to continue the generosity that brings her joy and to bless ministries in need. Despite a moment of concern, the money already in her Giving Fund allowed the passionate giver in her to take the lead.

Fast

Americans learned about the invasion of Ukraine on a Thursday morning, and within 24 hours, some charities were already on the frontlines. Others were loading airplanes with medical supplies, and others were planning the logistics of sending enough food relief to support the displaced.

NCF’s team connected with dozens of ministries immediately and published a list of giving opportunities in our weekly Saturday 7 email digest, with direct links so that givers could support the relief efforts with their Giving Funds immediately. Today, 55 days after the war began, more than $42 million has been sent to support the charities, ministries, and churches who have been working on the ground, underground, on the frontlines and at border crossings bringing hope in Jesus’ name.

As well, NCF’s friends at TrustBridge Global created a Ukraine Rapid Response Fund for those wanting to give immediately, primarily to non-U.S.-based ministries. Today, on the closing of that emergency fund, they report that $5.6 million has been granted to 27 international and U.S. charities. You can see where the dollars went and how they have been used on this interactive map, complete with video reports back from each of the ministries and charities.

Agile

Even some of the ministries have been surprised by the speed and generosity of the gifts and have written NCF to say “thank you” for all you have done.

April and Graham Smith were faced with the impacts of COVID-19 when their restaurant in Times Square – PS Kitchen – was forced to close. PS Kitchen’s mission is to employ people who struggle to find work, and any profits they make all go to charity. But with the lights of Broadway gone dark and the streets of Manhattan empty, no one would be dining out. 

April and Graham were able to use their Giving Fund, and our relationship with Impact Foundation, to both personally fund the restaurant and provide a vehicle to accept support from friends and colleagues. April and Graham’s passion for generosity is deeply personal but also widely inspiring to others. And they continued their giving even while the restaurant was closed by providing food to medical professionals all over the city and one of their many partner organizations, the Bowery mission.

Other NCF givers across the country who run businesses also wanted to find a way to pivot quickly in order to take care of their employees in need quickly. Some of them discovered that, with the help of a trusted and experienced ally of NCF, they could provide help to their employees and their communities very quickly.

While NCF is not a provider of Corporate Assistance Programs (CAPs), our friends at Helping Hands Charitable, through ProvisionBridge, are, and they’re experienced in serving business owners who are seeking charitable solutions or benevolence for their employees. Their help allowed NCF givers to use money they had set aside in their Giving Funds to demonstrate their care for valued employees.

In March of 2020 alone, 17 specific COVID-19 relief funds were established to provide $950,000 in relief to 750 employees. Another 30 funds were established that month through Helping Hands, raising about $7 million.

Your Giving Fund is agile, in large part, because of relationships NCF has with organizations that facilitate various modes of giving. And every NCF local office stands ready to help you make those connections, so your gifts can get to those who need them as fast as possible.

Good

What’s the common denominator here? All of these givers were already giving with NCF Giving Funds. They were familiar with how their funds work and with some of the other creative solutions NCF provides. They knew who they could turn to in times when they wanted to do something good – quickly. The structures were already in place to help them fulfill their desire to give, at just the right moment.

With a passion to give generously and the tool in place, all NCF givers needed was a cell phone or computer to log in and start giving and granting. Our team at NCF lives for these moments when we can be the connection between your wanting to do good in Jesus’ name and that goal completed.

When the economy is prospering (and so are you or your business), you can give earnings or assets to NCF that flow into your Giving Fund. And since the money is already earmarked for charity, it’s ready to mobilize for the causes or charities you care most about right away. Not only that, the funds in your account may have increased over time, because the charitable dollars in Giving Funds can be invested to earn more.

When you need it, your Giving Fund is one of the best tools you can turn to for furthering the work of God’s kingdom.

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