Tue01272015

Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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'Tis the season for charitable giving – and tax savings

For some, the end-of-year holidays engender thoughts of helping those less fortunate. For others, it’s a time to develop strategies to save on taxes.

Charitable giving allows you to achieve both goals. However, what if you would like to help but don’t yet know which charities you prefer? One of the most flexible ways to address this is to use a donor-advised fund (DAF).

A DAF is an account similar to a 401(k), sponsored and administered by a public charity for the purpose of managing charitable donations to other organizations on your behalf. It offers you the opportunity to donate money and get an immediate tax deduction before deciding which charities you want to fund. Rather than making donations directly to your favorite charities, you can donate the money to a DAF and in the future direct grants to specific charities through the DAF. For wealthy individuals and families, a DAF provides simpler accounting, higher tax-deduction limits and less strict payout requirements compared to creating your own private foundation.

However, there may be differences across DAFs in the offerings, so selecting the most appropriate one can be challenging. Following are questions you should ask the sponsoring organizations before selecting the right DAF for you.

• What types of grants will the DAF sponsoring organization approve? Generally DAFs are able to support most 501(c)(3) organizations, but there are sometimes restrictions, such as religious or international requirements. If you cannot support your favorite charities through the fund, it’s probably not for you.

• Will the DAF accept assets other than cash for funding? Many DAFs accept publicly traded stock, privately held company stock, real estate, life insurance and even art and collectibles.

• What are the investment options? Is there a minimum account size? Some DAF sponsors allow donors or their financial advisers to manage the funds within the DAF themselves. This may be of value to you if you plan on making distributions over a long period of time.

• What is the process for making grants from the fund? Is there a minimum amount? Can it be done by phone or online? Is there an approval process? What are the costs?

• What resources are provided to help clients identify causes or charities and plan their giving? If you know exactly which charities you want to support, you won’t need such help. But some sponsoring organizations additionally help educate their DAF account holders on local needs as well as how to be more effective donors. Working with such organizations could help develop a greater sense of pride and satisfaction through your charitable giving.

• Can the assets in a DAF account be transferred to another DAF sponsor? You may want to change in the future for any number of reasons or may simply prefer not being locked in.

• What happens when the DAF account creator is no longer alive? Can successor trustees be named? Can the DAF holder designate charitable beneficiaries to receive the final amount in the fund?

When it comes to selecting a DAF, there is no shortage of choices. Brokerage houses Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard run the largest national DAFs. If you are more inclined to support your local community, there is the Los Altos Community Foundation right in our own backyard. It supports local nonprofits as well as national charities.

Regardless of your preference, DAFs remain an excellent vehicle through which you can accomplish good in the community while at the same time saving on your taxes.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner and principal at Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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