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Spring 2023 GPC Newsletter

Kindness Amidst the Trials of Life

By David Smith, Gift Planning Donor Liaison

portrait of a man

When we think about our most embarrassing moments, one reason they stick out to us is that they almost always transpired in front of others.

Mine just happened to be in front of 600-700 of my closest friends.

During my three years of high school, I was blessed to participate in Utah’s All-State Choir. This was a great honor to me—one of the most memorable of my youth. It was rigorous, requiring a lot of focused practice and many long rehearsals. But it was so very rewarding to blend voices with hundreds of talented singers coming from every part of Utah. Music is just a powerful force that stirs the soul.

Our culminating performances always took place at the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle, longtime home for the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. Subsequently, our final practices were also there. It was euphoric to be up in those same choir seats I had grown up watching on television. The acoustics are surreal.

In the rafters of the Tabernacle is an intricate system of microphones strung from the ceiling. At our final rehearsal, I was sitting right next to the aisle. Our guest conductor was warming us up, which included a lot of body stretching. He encouraged us to fan our arms around in a circle. “Whoosh like the wind” he bellowed.

Being a dutiful teenager, I whooshed with all I had. You can guess what happened.

A series of loud booms reverberated throughout the hallowed hall. My arm had caught one of the hanging microphone lines, bringing most of them down within seconds. I was absolutely mortified. After all, who wouldn’t be?

Above all, I felt horrible because I knew so many people worked so hard to make everything in this venue first-rate. Several of the employees and missionaries who were there ran up toward me. I expected anger and frustration.

What I received instead was compassion and sympathy. To a person, they asked me if I was okay. They reassured me that it not a big deal, that they could easily restring the mics. They smiled and laughed with me. They hugged me. These sweet friends were more concerned about alleviating the embarrassment of a 17-year-old young man than what had taken place.

That experience is indelibly etched into my heart, not because of my gaffe…but because of the kindness shown to me at a devastating moment.

When a leader or colleague falters or errs, benevolence can work wonders. When a client interaction is less than pleasant, gentleness can diffuse things. A soft word works best with a child. And when we fall short of our lofty expectations, let’s be more forgiving with ourselves. It's a work in progress, particularly for this imperfect person and father.

At work and in life, kindness is always the correct answer. It was that day for me.

Report from the Trenches: What’s New with In-Kind Charitable Gifts?

By Michael W. Durham

portrait of a manAs an attorney primarily representing large nonprofit organizations, I am often approached by individuals and advisors wishing to donate various kinds of property to charity.  Not infrequently, these are interests in active businesses that have the potential to be sold soon.  For the donors, the sale of a company that they may have been building for decades is often one of the most significant liquidity events they will experience in their lives, one that often triggers the desire to make charitable donations to meet religious tithing obligations or other charitable goals.  Donors understandably hope to increase tax efficiency by making a gift pre-sale, so that they can claim a deduction for the fair market value of the donation and also avoid what could be substantial gains on the sale of the portion of the company transferred to charity. 

At the same time, business owners in the midst of a major sale transaction are often stretched thin between the demands of operating the business, preparing it for sale, responding to due diligence queries, and negotiating with prospective buyers.  Little wonder, then, that despite the significant tax advantages available for a properly structured gift, business owners can easily leave the mechanics of a donation to the last minute, potentially overlooking the numerous technical requirements imposed on such gifts.  Advisors can play a critical role in determining what property is a good candidate for in-kind donation, and making sure that even amid a hectic selling process, all prerequisites for a successful donation are met.  In this article, I hope to highlight a number of issues, some old but some new, that advisors should consider as they work with would-be donors with a likely liquidation event ahead. 

I. When the Normal Tax Treatment Might Not Apply

The following are some of the cases we see regularly where some or all of the tax savings associated with a pre-tax gift may not apply:

(Read more)


students graduating at BYU-Hawaii

With a focus on serving students from Oceania and the Asian Rim, BYU–Hawaii strengthens the global Church by preparing students who will serve as leaders in the families, communities, careers, and stakes of Zion worldwide.

IWORK is the university’s top fundraising priority. Donations from friends and alumni of the university make the program possible. The average donated amount needed to support an IWORK student is $13,500 per year.

IWORK assists international students who need financial support to attend BYU-Hawaii. The mission of the IWORK program is the same as the mission of the school: to prepare learners, leaders, and builders who will bless families, communities, and the Church around the world.

Currently the student body of BYU-Hawaii is approximately 3,200 students. About one-quarter of the current student body benefits from IWORK, and many of these students would not be in a position to attend BYU-Hawaii if it were not for the program. The need for support will increase as the number of students on campus increases.

(Learn more)

GPC Member Spotlight: Jason Comin

portrait of a man

Jason Comin graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary. After earning his Chartered Professional Accountant designation, he moved to Cardston, Alberta, to become a partner in a local accounting firm. Jason's practice has grown from primarily offering compliance services to providing clients with back-office support, business advisory, and estate planning services. He is currently the Treasurer of the Shukhar Philanthropic Foundation, supporting the ultra-poor in India. Jason has also been a credit union, nonprofit and community foundation board member. The Church contracts his firm to process in-kind and out-of-unit donations to the Church across Canada. Through this connection, he became involved with the Gift Planning Council. Jason has travelled from Canada to attend all but one of the Gift Planning Conferences. Subsequently, he has been able to help educate and assist his clients in incorporating philanthropy into their businesses, families and personal lives. For him, the best part of attending the GPC is associating and connecting with professionals with similar passions and values. Some of the highlights have been reports on the work of Latter-day Saint Charities and entrepreneurs sharing how they have incorporated philanthropy into their businesses and families. 

Jason is married to Lisa Holt, and they have six sons, a much younger daughter and one grandson. He enjoys renovating their family cabin with his children, travelling with Lisa and being on the water with anyone willing to be pulled behind a boat.


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