Being charitable can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
On this week’s episode of the L.A. Weekly weekly podcast, Producer Bryan Escalante sits down for a conversation with Jonathan Shugart, co-founder of B Charitable, an Alabama-based nonprofit that was built out of a desire to make the act of giving and receiving easier on all parties involved.
With so many existing crowdfunding platforms already taking up space nationally, what holes are left to be filled? Well, you may not know this, but existing crowdfunding platforms, where an individual sets up a campaign and others donate personal gifts, are not considered charitable contributions by the IRS, so the giver cannot benefit from the tax deduction.
B Charitable changes all that. A tax-exempt entity whose sole purpose is to house charitable gifting funds for individuals, the platform provides donors with financial peace of mind knowing that the funds collected on B Charitable can only then be donated to public charities. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms and apps, only the individual collecting donations on B Charitable can access the funds.
“B Charitable is a fintech platform that makes it easier for anybody in the U.S. to impact the charitable causes that you care the most about,” explains Shugart. “Because we’re using modern fintech, we’re then able to lower the expenses of creating these funds and then we’re able to offer them where people can start them. We have no maintenance fees. We’re able to start them with a $20 initial contribution. And we’re able to provide this tool to everybody who wants to be more intentional with charitable giving.”
Consciously inclusive of all economic positions, B Charitable is making the intentional giving of the rich available to everyone.
“Think of a donor-advised fund as a charitable giving account or charitable savings account,” says Shugart. “So think of it as if you have your own savings account. You put money into it as you’re able, as you want to, and then want to send it wherever. It’s most impactful to the charities. You can distribute parts or all of that fund out to the different charities that you care most about.”
“Wealthy people have been using this tool for a long time,” he furthers. “Big investment houses have been sponsoring this tool for a long, long time. Most people just don’t know it and it hasn’t been available to people who, instead of wanting to put in $100,000, want to put in $50. And that’s what we’re trying to do, bring it to everybody else.”
What caused Shugart, a lawyer, to pivot in his professional journey and pursue charitable giving and tech instead?
“For me personally, I grew up in the church and my parents taught me early on that anything that I got, a portion of it went back to helping others, either through donating to my church or through donating to other charities around me,” he shares. “How much cooler could it be, though, to spend the majority of your life helping to encourage other people to give to the places that they want to give? I’m not telling you what your passion is. I’m not telling you who to give to. I’m just making it easier so that when you feel that tug, you’re five clicks away from making a donation.”
For L.A. Weekly readers, you are the first to hear about this: B Charitable just signed a donor who will match $25 donations for the first 1,000 users. Get on it!