CARES Act Benefits for Donor Partners

Cares Act Benefits For Donor Partners 2

Life has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us working from home under the “stay home, stay safe” order. During this difficult time, many in our community are struggling. Grand Rapids Community Foundation is built to respond to the community’s most pressing needs, and it has been for nearly 100 years. Right now, our focus is to address the deep historic racial, social and economic inequities that exist in our community, especially as this pandemic is making them more evident.

You, our partners, have been working to advance philanthropy in our community before this crisis and we are inspired by the many ways you are working to help your neighbors now. From staying at home, sewing masks, working to provide medical care to our community, and more, you are showing up to help.

Many of you are also donating your financial resources, for which we are incredibly grateful. For some of you, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act may provide some benefit. We wanted to share what some of those benefits are and remind you that we are here for you, Kent County.

What is the CARES Act?

In an effort to address the economic hardship many are facing, the CARES Act was enacted on March 27, 2020. Among other provisions, the CARES Act provides three strong incentives for charitable giving, though donor advised funds are excluded from these benefits.  

Key Takeaways and Benefits to Donors

  • The CARES Act establishes an above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemized deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of cash up to $300.
  • For taxpayers who itemize, the Act eliminates the cap on annual cash contributions, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. Any excess contributions available can be carried over to the next five years.
  • For corporations, the CARES Act raises the annual limit on deductions from 10 percent to 25 percent of taxable income.

As a note, owners of Individual Retirement Accounts have utilized the Qualified Charitable Distribution to satisfy their Required Minimum Distribution in recent years. The CARES Act suspends the requirements for RMD’s for the 2020 tax year, allowing IRA owners age 72 and older to keep funds in their IRAs and other qualified retirement plans. QCD’s to charity from IRA’s are still an option, just as before, if it makes financial sense to do so.

 The Kent County COVID-19 Recovery Fund

One opportunity to support your community financially is the Kent County COVID-19 Recovery Fund, a fund of Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The fund was created to respond to the near and long-term impact COVID-19 will have on the most marginalized in our community, especially communities of color. It is a vehicle for the Community Foundation and its donor partners to pool resources to collectively support the recovery of nonprofits and small businesses serving those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more about the fund and explore options for making a gift, please visit

The Community Foundation has great professional advisor partners that can assist in navigating your personal legal and financial situation in regards to the benefits of the CARES Act. The full list of partners can be found at Grand Rapids Community Foundation staff members are working remotely and are available by phone, email, or video conference should you have any questions about supporting the Kent County COVID-19 Recovery Fund.


Shaun is Major & Planned Gifts Director at Grand Rapids Community Foundation.  He explores ways to introduce new donors to the Community Foundation through the creation of new funds and/or planned gifts. Shaun holds the CAP (Chartered Advisor In Philanthropy) designation from the American College of Financial Services and serves on the local boards of the Western Michigan Estate Planning Council, Western Michigan Planned Giving Group, and Rotary Club of Grand Rapids. Click here to learn more about Shaun.