Helping people—in ways large and small— is in Elizabeth Garrison Rasor’s DNA. Growing up on Denver Downs Farm in Anderson, she saw her parents, author and educator Juanita Bartlett Garrison and state senator T. Ed Garrison, leading lives of service to their church and community. When the local entrepreneur sold a recycling business she had started in 2007, she knew she wanted to donate part of the proceeds to support some of her favorite causes, but she needed more time to choose recipients to ensure her giving would do the most good.
A longtime student of business and finance, she knew that donor-advised funds provide a way to take advantage of the tax benefit for charitable giving while making donations over time. Because her husband, Jake Rasor III, is also an entrepreneur, owner of several KFC and Arby’s franchises in the Upstate and Georgia, the couple saw opening a donor-advised fund as a smart, efficient way to achieve their charitable goals.
“When I sold Ever-Green Recycling in 2013, I wasn’t prepared to make an immediate decision about what organizations to support. It was helpful for me to set aside the money and take time to give it out,” Rasor said. “I started out with a donor-advised fund at the large, established bank where I did business, but a couple of years in I started looking at management fees and the Community Foundation’s fees were lower.”
Rasor said the process of moving her DAF from a commercial institution to a charitable organization was easy, and she didn’t lose a dime in the process. As a bonus, the Community Foundation of Greenville’s low 1 percent fee assists with its own grant making to local nonprofits, furthering Rasor’s goal of creating positive change in the community. Donors can take advantage of CFG’s personalized support, or use the online option to access funds and make grant recommendations 24/7.
“It was easy to set up, and to make a donation, all I have to do is call and fill out a form. They check the recipient to be sure it’s legally recognized as a charitable organization, then send your gift,” Rasor said. “In the meantime, they’re managing the money wisely, protecting your investment.”
Through her involvement with Junior League, the Rose Ball, and Greenville Women Giving, a special initiative of CFG, Rasor became aware of the benefits of collective giving. Serving on grants-review committees gave her an appreciation for the care that goes into evaluating nonprofits to choose the most effective initiatives to receive funding.
Rasor’s favored causes are varied. A love for music and the arts led her to support the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Arts Council (MAC). The mother of three-and-a-half-year-old twins is also inspired by the Children’s Theater’s recent efforts toward construction of their own education and performance venue. She has supported these nonprofits, as well as Clemson scholarships established in memory of her brother, Bart Garrison and nephew, Ben Sprague, with gifts from her donor-advised fund.
Since her high-school days, Rasor has been involved with Junior Achievement, which promotes financial literacy for young people. She has served on JA’s local board, and as a volunteer mentor in the Greenville Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) program. While collective giving serves to promote broad goals, one-on-one mentoring helps give individuals the tools to improve their business and their lives.
“Right now, there’s a person who needs a car, and another who needs in-home care for a family member. These are the needs of people in my community that keep me up at night,” Rasor said.
To learn more about donor-advised funds at the Community Foundation of Greenville, please contact Gina Blohm at (864) 331-8418 or [email protected].