Giving Away Money is More Fun than Making It

Sara and Dick Rathgeber are a powerful force for philanthropy in our community. They were named “Austin’s Most Worthy Citizen(s)” in the Austin Chronicle “Best of Austin” readers’ poll. Sara is a longtime devoted volunteer at the Settlement Home residential treatment center for girls. Most recently, Dick chaired the Salvation Army’s $14 million campaign to build apartments for homeless women and children.

A few years years ago when Dick wanted to donate land where two of his favorite nonprofits could expand, he depended on the Foundation to make a smart gift. Dick purchased land near the Mueller neighborhood and donated it to the Foundation. “The Austin Community Foundation is such a wonderful vehicle you can use,” he says. “I am putting the land in the hands of people who really need it yet I was able to take the entire deduction several years ago.” The Rathgeber Village now includes the beautiful Austin Children’s Services campus and the Rise School of Austin and will soon be joined by the Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“The biggest hump that people have to get over,” Dick says, “is realizing it's really not your money; you are just here to manage it for a little while. Then giving becomes easy because giving is about managing. Think of it this way: ‘How much do you invest in charity and how much do you re-invest in deals so you can make more money to donate?’”

Dick mentors young people to follow his philanthropic lead. “I tell younger people find a worthwhile organization and if you’re not in a position to donate, volunteer and get involved. Get to know an organization. Determine what their Return on Investment is. How many people do they help and what that it costs? Is it an organization that’s unique to that problem?”

“Giving away money is a lot more fun than making it!” says Dick. The Austin Community Foundation helps people like the Rathgebers donate assets like real estate, stock and valuable collectibles easy and efficient.