Big News for Penny Forward: We Can Now Accept Securities Donations!

A Message from Penny Forward Founder and CEO, Chris Peterson

Hey everyone,

I’ve got some exciting news to share this week! Penny Forward is taking a significant step towards ensuring our future sustainability by now accepting donations in the form of securities. This move isn’t just about funding; it’s a strategic play towards building an endowment that will anchor the long-term health of our organization. This means we can continue providing accessible, affordable financial education to the blind community for many more years to come.

Why Donate Securities?

First off, why consider donating securities? Well, it’s a win-win situation. For donors, giving stocks, bonds, or mutual funds that have appreciated in value can be more beneficial than cash donations. When you transfer these assets directly to a nonprofit like Penny Forward, you typically don’t have to pay capital gains taxes, and you can also claim a charitable deduction for the full market value. This can significantly reduce the cost of your donation while maximizing the impact of your gift. So, you not only contribute to a cause close to your heart but also manage your financial portfolio more effectively.

The Journey to Accepting Securities

However, setting up the ability to accept these donations was not a walk in the park, especially for an organization like ours, led entirely by blind people. This venture highlighted some ongoing accessibility challenges that blind entrepreneurs face, often more acutely than their sighted counterparts.

Our board, comprising entirely blind people, selected Fidelity Investments as our financial partner. Many of us have had positive personal experiences with Fidelity, particularly with their commitment to accessibility, which is crucial for an organization striving to be fully accessible at all levels.

But the reality hit when we were required to fill out a non-accessible PDF application to open a business brokerage account—a stark reminder of the obstacles still present in supposedly inclusive spaces. Our virtual assistant, Shawn Satterfield, played a pivotal role in helping us navigate these initial hurdles.

A Month of Persistence

After submitting our application, we encountered a series of misunderstandings and bureaucratic back-and-forths, from being incorrectly informed that electronic signatures weren’t legally acceptable to rescanning documents because a scanner cut off part of a date. Despite assurances that the information was clear, we had to comply with repeated requests, each adding time and frustration to the process.

It took nearly a month, but we finally opened our account. This ordeal prompted a deeper dive into the regulations cited by Fidelity, leading to a conversation with a supervisor who admitted that their policies hadn’t caught up with recent updates allowing electronic forms and signatures. They also revealed an accessibility team at Fidelity that could have aided us, had we and the customer service agents been aware of it.

A Call for Better Accessibility

This experience reinforces the need for continuous advocacy for better accessibility in financial services. Financial institutions like Fidelity must update their processes not only to accommodate but to actively support customers with disabilities. Efficient, accessible procedures save everyone time and frustration—customers and staff alike.

Join Us in Making a Difference

We’ve turned our challenges into a stepping stone for growth, and now, we’re ready to take our mission further with your help. By donating securities to Penny Forward, you’re investing in a future where financial education is accessible to all, regardless of sight. Your support will help us build a resilient foundation that will empower the blind community for decades.

Interested in making a lasting impact? Visit our donation page at www.pennyforward.com/donate to learn more about how you can contribute through securities. Your donation is not just a gift, but a legacy that will continue giving.

Together, let’s pave the way for a financially inclusive world. Your support is not just appreciated; it’s transformative.

Sincerely,
Chris Peterson, AFC®
Founder and CEO, Penny Forward

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