For Russell Bridges, who oversees community giving at 3M, giving is a big part of life. Learn why his fund at the Foundation makes giving “less taxing.”
My family has deep roots in Temple, Texas, where my grandfather owned Bridges Grocery. When his customers couldn’t afford to pay, he helped them as he could to make ends meet My father did the same, providing credit to struggling families. It was just the right thing to do. My mom was a teacher and also did whatever she could to help her students in public school and also when she began teaching at the collegiate level.
I graduated from Baylor Law School and came to Austin to work in state government. In 1984 I joined 3M in the role of governmental relations. 3M had just expanded to Austin and soon sought to establish a presence in this community through volunteerism and grantmaking. Helping build this program was a natural fit for me.
Over the years, I was able to accumulate significant stock in 3M through a discounted stock purchase plan for employees. Also, part of my compensation was in 3M stock. And a dividend reinvestment is an amazing thing!
So over this time, I have accrued a fair amount of stock, some at an extremely low cost basis today. I learned I could donate stock to a Donor Advised Fund at Austin Community Foundation and be able to give more to my favorite charities. I immediately looked into it and opened my fund several years ago.
My fund at the Foundation makes giving “less taxing” in two ways. First, donating appreciated stock is a very efficient way to give. I receive a charitable tax deduction for the market value of the stock I donate and neither I nor the charity pays capital-gains taxes when the stock is sold. Second, all of my giving is in one place. I can log in securely online and see how much I’ve given in the past and at tax time it’s easy to document my charitable donations.
In my work at 3M, I value that our business community works together on philanthropy. The technology community, specifically, leverages relationships and resources to make the grant process easier for nonprofits. Similarly, this cooperative spirit is something I value by being part of the Foundation’s community of givers. Through my fund I get to take part in the Community Grant program, reviewing quarterly grant request summaries from nonprofits working in my areas of interest. In this way, I recently got to learn about a specific project the Austin Humane Society was undertaking and was able to help fund it. We got our precious dog there, so that’s something we really care about.
My giving is very personal. My mother was an educator, going to college while raising my siblings and me. She went on to earn her EdD in Education so I give to her alma mater, leveraging 3M’s matching funds for employee giving to higher education. I love the United Way and I served on the board for a long time. I’m proud that 3M is one of United Way for Greater Austin’s top campaigns. I also give to Equality Texas and AIDS Services of Austin. My partner Ralph and I enjoy being able to help organizations we believe strongly in.
The most important thing anyone should know about Austin Community Foundation is it’s not just for multi-millionaires. The Foundation makes giving easy, efficient and fun for anyone. By donating appreciated stock, leveraging my company’s matching funds, learning about emerging local needs and having all my giving in one place, I can give more to the causes I love and spend less time keeping track of it all. My Donor Advised Fund has made it possible for me to do more—and that means a lot to me.
Guest blogger Russell Bridges has worked as 3mgives and Government Affairs Manager at 3M for over thirty years. He manages the local 3M contributions budget and encourages employee volunteerism. 3M makes grants locally in the areas of education, community and the environment.