As we approach year end our thoughts typically turn to philanthropic topics and yes, minimizing the tax burden. Although intertwined, I like to separate the two areas as they can be addressed from two focal points. On the one hand, estate planning gifts, with the obvious family considerations first, tend to be of a larger nature and sharing what has been created for the greater good. They tend to focus more on the longer term, with an eye not on reducing current income but building an endowment fund that can continue to support the beneficiary in perpetuity. These gifts do not necessarily have an impact on the current tax burden. On the other hand, a current donation positively impacts the tax burden and can be designated for current programs or the long-term endowment as the donor would so choose. In either event, the funds contributed are of great benefit to the recipient organization and therefore the members as a whole.