What the experts say
How to start a charitable fund
There is no minimum financial requirement to start a foundation, charity, or memorial fund in honor of a friend or loved one, but “the process can be laborious,” said Abby Ellin in The New York Times. Costs and responsibilities often include setting up a board with regular meetings. However, there are ways to streamline the process. Crowdfunding platforms like Deposit a Gift and GoFundMe can be used to raise the initial donations, and organizations like Scholarship America “will design and manage scholarship programs and memorial funds.” Another option is to create a donor-advised fund, administered by a charity like the New York Community Trust that “will file paperwork, direct the money to a chosen charity, and simplify the process, for a fee.”
New rules for prepaid debit cards
More protections are coming for prepaid debit card users, said Darla Mercado in CNBC.com. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced new regulations last week that require more transparency around fees and forbid excessive overdraft charges. The new rules, which go into effect Oct. 1, 2017, require card providers to disclose “all of the fees that may apply to consumers” prior to their opening an account. “In a bid to make comparison shopping easier for customers,” the CFPB also requires companies to post their card agreements online. The new rules cap the total amount of overdraft coverage fees that can be charged in one year at 25 percent of the card’s credit limit. About 23 million people use prepaid debit cards, which are a popular alternative to traditional checking accounts, “particularly for those who are unbanked.”
Car insurance favors wealthy drivers
You’d think having a clean driving record would mean paying less for car insurance, but “earning a fatter paycheck may make more of a difference,” said Jonnelle Marte in The Washington Post. In a recent study, the Consumer Federation of America requested quotes for two hypothetical drivers: one with a high-paying job and a master’s degree who had either caused an accident or been arrested for a DUI, and the other a middle-income person with a high school degree and a clean driving record. In 20 out of 38 cases, the higherincome driver received a lower rate, despite a troubled driving history. Industry representatives say insurance companies do not request income when issuing quotes, but they “are not required to disclose the statistics they use.”
Charity of the week
In the U.S., 80 percent of all fourth-graders from low-income families read below proficiency levels, which can lead to kids dropping out early and earning less in future. The Children’s Scholarship Fund (scholarshipfund.org) works to expand educational opportunities for children in need, helping them attend the elementary school that best fits their requirements, regardless of their family’s ability to pay or where they live. Since 1998, the fund, which has active partnership programs in 23 cities across the country, has provided scholarships worth a total of $695 million, changing the educational path of 158,000 children. Students receive an average of $1,700 each, allowing them to seek alternatives to often underfunded and underserved public schools in their neighborhood. This past academic year, the fund offered 6,000 new scholarships to students.
Each charity we feature has earned a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator, which rates not-for-profit organizations on the strength of their finances, their governance practices, and the transparency of their operations. Four stars is the group’s highest rating.