Joy in Giving: Be a Smart Year-End Giver

first_imgAs my one contribution to the social well-being of my neighborhood, I update the signs at the entrance to the subdivision. My seven-year-old particularly enjoys helping move the big letters around and then driving by our handiwork.The current iteration of the signs reads: “Share the Joy of the Season.” No matter your background or creed, you can’t deny that the level of joy is up across America during the holidays.Americans predilection toward charitable giving contributes to that sense of joy. It’s hard to tease out whether the seasonal good-feeling prompts people to think about their charitable giving, or if end-of-year charitable giving ups the seasonal joy. I think it’s probably a virtuous cycle.For some people, though, the idea of giving doesn’t always mesh with practice. Maybe you aren’t sure where to give, how to give, or if your gift will count.Here is a secret: Americans are givers at heart. If you’re an American, you have all the requirements you need to be a giver.If you’re ready to say, “yes” to giving, here are a few ideas to really make the most of it:Move the Needle You Want to MoveWhile checking out at the bookstore in the Dallas airport, the overly chipper cashier asked if I wanted to donate a dollar to aid those effected by the California wildfires.A mere dollar! And to support a disaster that happened very close to several of my closest friends.And I declined.The human mind does funny things. The concept of moral licensing tells us that I probably would have felt pretty good about myself for giving that measly dollar – after all, it was for a good cause! The cashier would know I was a Good Person!But here’s the problem: I might have even felt so good that I might lower some future charitable giving, particularly giving I do without anyone watching. That giving probably would have been bigger, and to a cause I care more about.I want to give you moral license to say no to giving outside of your priorities. Instead, take time to think about the big changes you’d like to see in the world. What events riled you up in the past year? What tragedy, big or small, really strummed at your compassion chords?These are the causes that should benefit from your support. Whether you are giving away $25 or $25,000, you want your money to have the biggest impact it can. Don’t crowd out the impact you can have by tossing dollars beyond what you care about.Take the time to map out the causes and organizations you most want to give to, and divide your charitable pie amongst those groups as you see fit. You’ll move the needle on something that matters to you – and you’ll probably end up giving a lot more than a dollar.Give More By Being Tax SmartGiving selflessly doesn’t mean you aren’t giving with your self-interest in mind, particularly when it comes to the tax benefits charitable giving offers.If the only reason you give to charity is so you can save on taxes, then you’re doing it wrong. However, the tax benefits should allow you to give more than you otherwise might, if you play your cards right.One of the most tax-friendly ways for an individual donor to give is with a contribution of appreciated securities that you’ve held for at least one year. Rather than liquidate the stock, you transfer the security directly to the charity. The charity then sells the stock and keeps the proceeds.You as the donor take the tax deduction at the value of the stock on the day you transfer the asset, and you also avoid paying the capital gains. Giving appreciate stock is a great way to give more than your cash flow might allow. (I’m no tax expert, so, to make sure you appraise the value appropriately, work with your tax advisor or attorney on the valuation).The other big tax tip is for those who, in light of the revised tax code, are hovering in that funny space on the border of taking the new, higher standard deduction or itemizing. Many tax experts recommend a strategy called “bunching” to help you maximize your tax deductions while also leveling out your giving to charity.It works like this: front-load, or bunch, your charitable gifts in one year so that you itemize, and then the next year you take the standard deduction. (For a great, number-filled example, see the “Consider Bunching Gifts” section of this article by DonorsTrust CFO Jeff Zysik.)A donor-advised fund, or DAF, makes bunching and giving appreciated stock easy. A DAF works like a charitable savings account. You can put your money in and immediately get your tax deduction, and then can take time to make grants out of the fund – you aren’t bound, from a tax perspective, to getting gifts out before year’s end. That makes a DAF a great place to park money for both this and next year’s giving, or to give you one place to give that appreciated stock instead of doling it out to a bunch of separate charities.If a donor-advised fund sounds like a tool that would help your giving, look at the Novus Society, a program at DonorsTrust that offers folks under 40 access to a donor-advised fund at lower cost than most other places (and currently offers a $500 match when you open the account).Give Future You A GiftMy final year-end recommendation is more of a year-start idea: make a plan to set aside some charitable dollars every month in 2019.It’s tough to part with money at the end of the year. Whether we have some Christmas cash from Aunt Martha or a generous year-end bonus, it’s just harder to part with the money in front of us than if we have funds set aside for a specific purpose.Instead, resolve to set aside money every month for your year-end charitable giving. If you usually give away $3,000 a year, commit to putting $250 a month in a savings account or a donor-advised fund. Set an auto-draft from your bank so you never even see the money.You’ll get to the end of the year and boom! Pot of gold waiting for you to give to charity.You might end up with some cash at the end of the year you want to give as well. Suddenly, you’re even more generous than you realized you could be. That’s a win all around.Be A GiverCharitable giving truly does help spread the joy of the holiday season. It can increase your own joy as well, allowing you to have an impact on causes you care about, save a little on taxes, and overall make your community a bit better.Go ahead, don’t hold back. Be a giver. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.last_img read more

Get serious about client performance management

first_imgThe old axiom “work expands to fill time” seems to parallel a truth about client computing: capabilities expand to consume available resources. As an Enterprise Services Architect responsible for Intel’s IT client architecture, I have seen first hand how IT shops, software vendors, and users manage to throw everything but the kitchen sink into client systems only to be surprised by the resulting hit on performance. Let’s face it: at most companies, client performance is an after-thought that becomes important when people start screaming. Making matters worse, everybody wants to dictate what needs to be on the client, including business, productivity, communication and collaboration applications, security & manageability agents, connectivity managers, backup clients, personal user applications, and more recently virtualization applications.It’s time to break free of reactive performance management “tiger teams” and get serious about addressing client performance in a more proactive way. Intel IT has begun to take a much more comprehensive view of client performance and has instituted a new framework for client performance management. Here are ten key learnings that you may be able to use at your company.1. Form a client performance virtual team (v-team).This step is first on the list for a reason. Client performance cannot be approached from only one perspective, otherwise it wouldn’t be such a difficult problem. Form a virtual team consisting of at least one person from each of the following areas: client platform engineering, security & manageability engineering, client support (helpdesk), release management, human factors engineering, and enterprise architecture. To keep us on task, our client performance v-team has the mission “to drive an intentional approach to client performance management”.2. Develop a process and identify tools to measure performance, establish benchmarks, and set performance targets.This is a discipline that needs to be baked into your client engineering processes. In order to determine what performance should be expected for any generation of client in your environment, you first need a baseline for comparison. The best time to develop this baseline is when your next generation client is ready for deployment and performance has been optimized. Industry and/or third-party benchmarking tools can be used to form part of the “performance profile” for you latest release. The choice of benchmarking tool(s) is less important than that you pick at least one and begin documenting the baseline performance of your clients. Data collected in a pilot under real-word conditions will also be useful in the baseline profile. The goal is to end up with something that can be used in the future as a yardstick for performance troubleshooting on the same generation of clients and for setting targets for the next generation client.3. Develop a process and identify tools for tracking and reporting platform performance on the installed base of clients.This is related but different from the last one and more difficult to pull off without further impacting performance. Benchmarks and performance targets are important, but those are established in lab conditions or in controlled tests and created only occasionally. Here we need to actually instrument the client and provide supporting infrastructure to actually collect data from our live clients. To do this, you are probably going to need some sort of agent running on the client. The results from this data collection and aggregation ought to correlate with the feedback you are getting from the helpdesk regarding their top performance issues. One related idea we are considering is to deploy a tool that allows the user check a performance status indicator on their desktop and/or allows them to push a button that sends a snapshot of their system status to the helpdesk when they are experiencing a performance issue.4. Dedicate resources to forward engineering of performance enhancing capabilities.There are a number of emerging technologies and capabilities that can actually deliver improved performance on the client, mostly under the general heading of QoS. For example, there are some third party products that will help with resource and process prioritization. There are also new capabilities baked into Vista that can be leveraged to improve performance including i/o prioritization and client-side policy-based network QoS.5. Establish and maintain a strategic client performance capability roadmap.A strategic capability roadmap for client performance will help by defining targets and setting context for engineering activities. Many of these capabilities we’ve discussed above, including those that enable performance management and those that enhance performance. Such a roadmap can also be used to drive application vendors to improve the performance of their applications.6. Continuously validate platform performance against established benchmarks.Modify your client release management process so that a comparative analysis can be done between your performance benchmarks/targets and the actual performance of the new client platform. You’ll need to ensure that the benchmarking methodology you developed earlier can be exactly reused by the QA team.7. Institute an ongoing continuous improvement process.Establish a rhythm for taking what’s learned about performance from PCs in the wild and incorporate the fixes, BKMs, enhancements, and optimizations into the client build engineering process for future releases.8. Don’t play chicken with your PC refresh cycle!You know how people still do things that they know they’re going to regret? Exactly. If you know what the right PC refresh cadence is for your environment, don’t mess with it! The school of hard knocks has taught us that when we stretch the lifetime of our PC fleet, we end up paying for it in the end with spikes in helpdesk call volumes, above average failure rates, and complaints of performance degradation. The temptation is great to put off spending for a quarter or two or hold off to intercept a new version of an OS or new hardware platform, but this is a losing strategy that will probably land you in tiger team **** and will end up costing more in the long run.9. Map out the client ecosystem and figure out where you can eliminate redundancy.Take a fresh look at all the capabilities and products that are either installed on your client or that exist in the infrastructure that impact the client. This way you can identify where you may have redundancy that can be streamlined. For example, do you have two or more manageability agents with overlapping functions? Can you live with one even if it means giving up a feature or two? Don’t forget infrastructure services that impact clients from afar. “Agentless” performance data collectors, for example, still have a performance impact on the client.10. Establish client integration standards.Assuming you have a healthy governance process, standards can act as both sword and shield to protect your client platform from being overrun by the barbarians. Like your city’s building codes, these policies and related guidance can set a bar for application owners and service providers so they understand what is required and expected of them before they try to land anything on the client. Some IT shops have developed a “minimum security specification” that stakes out the absolute bottom line security controls that must be implemented in a given solution. Consider establishing a “minimum performance specification” to help educate application developers & vendors about performance optimization on your clients.last_img read more

a month agoWatford reject Randell Williams catching eye at Exeter

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Watford reject Randell Williams catching eye at Exeterby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveA host of clubs are chasing Exeter City winger Randell Williams.The former Crystal Palace and Watford man joined Exeter in January.His early season form has drawn interest from Championship clubs Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, QPR and Huddersfield, according toteamTALK.The 22-year-old already has three assists to name so far this season. last_img

Wednesday Cheat Sheet: Everything That’s Gone Viral The Past 24 Hours (2/18/15)

first_imgBraxton Miller running with the football for Ohio State.COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 19: Wide receiver Braxton Miller #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to run the ball in the first quarter against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Ohio Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) Twitter/@BigJah15Twitter/@BigJah15Here’s everything that has gone viral in college sports over the past 24 hours.1. Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota are planning to throw at the NFL combine.2. Duke’s freshman center Jahlil Okafor believes in mermaids and Bigfoot.3. Louisville Cardinals’ guard Chris Jones is suspended for their game vs. Syracuse tonight.4. Kentucky’s John Calipari took a picture with Dick Vitale and Seth Greenberg and tweeted “three fired coaches.” 5. It was reported Georgia’s new indoor football practice facility will cost approximately $30 million.  6. New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick visited the Indianna Hoosiers yesterday.7. Draymond Green and Nik Stauskas agreed on a wager for last night’s Michigan State vs. Michigan basketball game. 8. Former Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard tweeted and quoted Sooners’ coach Bob Stoops’ advice on domestic violence. 9. Five-star quarterback Shea Patterson committed to Ole Miss over LSU and USC. 10. Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett posted pictures of the screws he recently had removed from his ankle. Video of the Day: Kentucky’s Devin Booker Asked About the Tennessee Cheerleader He Ran IntoTweet of the Day: Oklahoma’s James Fraschilla Had A Funny Response When His Dad Posted A Baby Picture Of His On Twitterwelp. RT @franfraschilla: This guy @jamesfraschilla now a senior at Oklahoma.— James Fraschilla (@jamesfraschilla) February 17, 2015 Girlfriend of the Day: Nik Stauskas isn’t at Michigan anymore, but he and the lovely Taylor Anderson attended last night’s gameNik Stauskas back in the house— Bryan Fuller (@FullOfTwitt) February 18, 2015Check Out Tuesday’s Cheat Sheetlast_img read more

Paks first female astronaut congratulates ISRO on Chandrayaan2 says giant leap for

first_imgKarachi: Amidst the Indo-Pak war of words over Kashmir, Pakistan’s first female astronaut Namira Salim has congratulated India and ISRO for its Chandrayaan-2 mission, saying the attempt to make a landing on the Moon was itself a “giant leap” for South Asia and as well as for the entire global space industry. The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) plan to soft-land the Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final 2.1-km descent. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USConsidered as the “most complex” stage of the country’s second expedition to the Moon, the lander was on a powered decent for a soft landing when it lost contact. “I congratulate India and ISRO on its historical attempt to make a successful soft landing of the Vikram lander at the South Pole of the Moon. The Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission is indeed a giant leap for South Asia which not only makes the region but the entire global space industry proud,” Salim said in a statement to Karachi-based magazine Scientia. Salim is the first Pakistani to go to space aboard the Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. She said the regional developments in the space sector in South Asia are remarkable.last_img read more

FADA asks SIAM to start reporting monthly sales data on basis of

first_imgNew Delhi: Automobile dealers’ body FADA has asked its auto industry counterpart SIAM to start reporting monthly sales data on the basis of actual registrations based on road ministry’s Vahan platform instead of wholesales. In a letter addressed to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Rajan Wadhera, FADA President Ashish Harsharaj Kale said reporting retail numbers is also a norm which is followed internationally and would help in the betterment of the Indian auto industry as well. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”Both dealers and component manufacturers also felt that it would have been easier to predict the ongoing slowdown in auto sales if retail numbers were reported, helping all in their inventory management and would have kept all better placed in facing these dynamic times,” Kale wrote in the letter. FADA has been advocating this from November 2018 and many of its members have also done the same with their respective original equipment manufacturer (OEM’s) and have received a positive response of accepting it, given if it becomes an industry practise, he added. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”Hence, I request you to please use your good offices to impress upon all the members of SIAM as well to report retail sales which is now available in VAHAN, instead of factory despatches and graduate to market share calculation of the industry and of dealer partners by registration data instead of wholesale despatches,” Kale noted. As per the data released by SIAM earlier this week, vehicle sales across categories, including passenger vehicles (PVs) and two-wheelers and commercial vehicles (CVs) saw steepest fall on record by 23.55 per cent at 18,21,490 units in August as against 23,82,436 units in August 2018. Similarly, domestic PV sales saw its worst-ever fall in two decades last month, slumping by 31.57 per cent to 1,96,524 units from 2,87,198 units in the year-ago period. On the other hand, August retail sales data showed a somewhat better picture in terms of sales pointing to inventory correction taking place in the industry. As per retail sales data also provided by SIAM, total automobile sales declined by 4.15 per cent to 16,00,376 units as compared with 16,69,751 units in August 2018. Similarly, PV sales stood at 2,38,357 units last month as compared with 2,56,662 units in the same month of last year, a decline of 7.13 per cent.last_img read more

Russell Simmons Delivers Water To Flint

first_imgEarlier this week, RushCard delivered a donation of 150,000 bottles of water to the relief effort in Flint, Michigan.The prepaid debit card company, founded by Russell Simmons, teamed up with Sean Diddy Combs and Mark Wahlberg’s water company AQUAhydrate, which has pledged 1 million bottles of water to help the relief effort. Simmons was in Flint on Monday to personally deliver water to Flint residents. He also called on corporations across the country to do their part to support the people of Flint during this crisis.“My heart breaks for the people of Flint, who are being deprived of the most basic of necessities – clean drinking water,” said Russell Simmons, Founder of RushCard. “RushCard is committed to supporting the people of Flint during this crisis, and is proud to be partnering with AQUAhydrate to make this contribution of 150,000 bottles to the relief effort. We’re calling on our partners in Corporate America to step up to the plate and support the people of Flint during their time of need.”“The crisis in Flint is one that Corporate America must respond to,” said Rick Savard, CEO and Chairman of RushCard. “RushCard will do everything we can to support the Flint community as they struggle to access clean drinking water. We are asking the rest of Corporate America to contribute to the relief efforts in Flint.”Last week AQUAhydrate investors Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mark Wahlberg and CEO Hal Kravitz announced that the company will be donating 1 million bottles of water to the Flint relief effort. The effort is being supported by hip-hop stars Eminem and Wiz Khalifa in addition to RushCard.last_img read more