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A Simple Walk Turns into a Powerful Gift

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Barbara and Terry Lawson are passionate about CCC’s work to end homelessness. 

When it comes to supporting CCC, they carefully assessed their finances and strategically decided to give through Barbara’s IRA, or Individual Retirment Account (IRA).  

What makes them so motivated to give? Barbara put it simply: “It just seems like a person’s spirit and attitude would improve a great deal if they have decent, affordable housing, and people who can help them access other services they may need, such as health care and employment.” 

Barbara and Terry moved to Portland from New Orleans in 2007. In those early days, Barbara loved exploring downtown. During one of those walks, she came across CCC’s Employment Access Center (EAC). CCC was the first organization she encountered actively working on addressing homelessness and substance use disorders.

Barbara shared, “I envision a Portland where there’s just more support for people who are homeless and having difficulty, regardless of how they got there. I give to CCC because it’s tackling a major problem Portland has, and tackling it on a number of different fronts, simultaneously and methodically.”

Barbara and Terry made their first donation through their Charitable Gift Fund in 2017. A Charitable Gift Fund, also known as a donor-advised fund, is similar to an investment account specifically used for charitable purposes with tax benefits. When Barbara reached the age at which she was required to take a minimum distribution out of her IRA, which was more than she needed for expenses, she began giving the difference to CCC through a tax-wise charitable tool, a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).  

“One reason we make QCDs from our IRAs and set up a charitable gift fund is the tax advantage” Barbara notes. “The first couple of years I made QCDs, I divided the annual amount among up to four organizations. But then I decided I would rather concentrate on one organization, CCC. I had been given a tour of their facilities and, in part because of that, I felt a connection to CCC.” 

If you’re considering a similar type of charitable giving tool, Barbara’s advice is to ask yourself whether you’re more interested in giving smaller amounts to lots of different organizations or whether you’d rather concentrate on one offering a sense of connection. 

Like many of CCC’s donors, Barbara sees her giving as a powerful way to get involved in the issues affecting our community. “I like to think I can make a difference. I’m lucky enough to have some money I can donate to support organizations doing the work on the ground, whether it’s through employment counseling, health care, addiction treatment or housing. I don’t see myself going out on a one-to-one basis and helping people. So, I feel a charitable donation, in whatever form, is the best way I can help.” 

In any form, your donations to CCC help us reach more than 13,000 people each year with individualized services promoting stability, health, and recovery. If you have questions about giving through your IRA or another tax-wise vehicle, please contact us.

Learn more about giving through your IRA or additional ways you can support CCC.

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