Buffalo Grove creating method for tax-free donations to arts programs
Buffalo Grove is moving ahead with the Waukegan-based Lake County Community Foundation on a proposal to create a special fund that would help bankroll quality-of-life initiatives, such as the Arts Commission and the Buffalo Grove Symphonic Band.
Despite some reservations, the village board's committee of the whole last week directed the village staff to work out the terms of an agreement allowing the foundation to manage a "donor-advised fund." That would enable donors to make tax-deductible contributions, something they can't do now.
Village Manager Dane Bragg said working with the foundation also would relieve the village of the burdens of administration, such as maintaining paperwork, fulfilling audit and legal requirements, and handling investments.
Evan Michel, management analyst with the village manager's office, said Buffalo Grove currently allocates more than $23,000 to its quality-of-life initiatives, including $4,000 to the Arts Commission, $16,000 to the Buffalo Grove Symphonic Band, $700 to the village's Commission for Residents with Disabilities and $2,500 to the Farmers Market.
Trustee Andrew Stein's concerns included the risk of losing money if the stock market undergoes a correction.
"I don't think that this the right fund at the right time, and, if it's the only fund, I'm not comfortable getting involved with it," Stein said.
Trustee Eric Smith asked how often the village has received requests for an avenue for charitable giving.
"You'd be surprised," Bragg replied. "It's fairly frequent that we have people who want to make a donation to the village. We had someone who wanted to donate a house to us, a rather expensive house, a while back. We didn't have any way to process that with the tax deductibility they were looking for. So ultimately they walked away."
Trustee Joanne Johnson added that the Arts Commission had discussed a long-term fundraising campaign, developing relationships with donors to fund the commission, but was unable to do that because of the way the village budgets its money.