Meet Board Chair Bill Wolf, CPA

Bill is is partner emeritus at Baker Tilly, a national accounting firm, and had a successful career in public accounting. Bill has been with CFV for ten years, and is a pivotal member of our community.

What is your connection to the Community Foundation of the Valleys?

About 10 years ago, I was invited to join the board of the Community Foundation of the Valleys. I really didn’t know too much about it at the time as it was a startup nonprofit. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about Community Foundations in general and how they support local nonprofits, so in our case, agencies in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita Valleys. I grew up in Sherman Oaks and have lived here for the last 46 years. And I’ve been a part of this community and raised my family here. So I view this as an opportunity to give back to the San Fernando Valley in particular, and see what I can do to help the community.

What would you like to say to potential donors and philanthropic advisors about the Community Foundation of the Valleys?

Part of our CFV mission is to communicate with  people who are advising wealthy people. And not necessarily always wealthy people, as those in the middle class can also give to charity.  Financial advisors often talk about tax planning and charitable deductions. The United States is one of the few countries that give you a tax deduction for charitable contributions. If you’re wealthy, you’re in the 50% tax bracket, which means for every dollar you give to charity, your taxes go down by 50 cents. Tax savings is a great motivation to those with wealth.

If you’re a financial advisor in the San Fernando or Santa Clarita Valleys, I want to remind you to encourage your clients to give to local charities that impact our quality of life here.  That’s where a donor advised fund (DAF) comes in. The donor advised fund allows you to give to charity without specifying up front the exact nonprofits you’d like to support.  Therefore, if you set up your DAF with CFV,  you can later choose charities to receive grants that match  your interests,  or our CFV team can work with you to identify greatest needs in our region and the reputable charities that are meeting these needs.  We form relationships with our donors, advise them as appropriate, and keep them updated.

Our Foundation board has set a goal to grow to  $10 million of funds under management in the next five years which sounds like a lot of money, but personally, I’d like to see us raise $20 million.  But think of it this way:   if you have a client or are a wealthy person yourself who has just completed a big revenue transaction, that’s going to mean a lot of taxes for you. So, you may want to put a million dollars into a DAF with our Community Foundation. We  just need 20 of these people to open donor advised funds at this level. So I think we could build up to $20 million.  Our goal is to get the message out there and to tell people the power of a DAF and of focusing their charitable giving on local nonprofits. But we can’t do this ourselves–  we need to encourage more and more advisors to discuss this opportunity with their clients.

Would you please describe your most rewarding experience with CFV?

The CFV Board of Directors developed a very aggressive business plan for the next five years, and part of this plan was to hire an executive director to support plan implementation.  Marianne Haver Hill was employed with the Community Foundation as of September 1, and has been actively working on many of the plan’s goals and strategies.

Marianne and I have been visiting nonprofits that are serving the homeless community. One of our program initiatives focuses on the issue of homelessness, and I’ve gotten very excited  about this. The natural instinct might be to “clean up” and get these individuals out of sight. But the better thing is trying to help find a place for them to live. So far, we’ve conducted site visits to six nonprofits in the San Fernando Valley. These organizations are doing a fantastic job of building shelters and different types of housing, and providing supportive services. It’s inspiring to see what they’ve done. Our plan in 2023 is to hold several convenings with  our neighbors in the Valley and to solicit their help on solving the homeless problem.  But we also want to let them know that they can donate to the CFV or to the nonprofits we’ve identified that are focusing on this crisis, as another way to promote solutions to this challenge. This project has been the most rewarding work I’ve done with the Community Foundation so far.