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Learn how one donor and his family turned their condominium into continuous support for their favorite causes.

There are many ways to support causes you care about. For one Minnesota couple, that meant donating real estate.

“My wife Lisa and I were the owners of a condominium that my mother-in-law was staying in, and she was ready to move to a new location,” said Jerry O’Brien, CEO of O’Brien-Staley Partners. “We were contemplating the sale of the real estate, but it had appreciated over the years, so there was going to be a capital gain.”

Donating the condo to the Foundation allowed Lisa and Jerry to minimize capital gains taxes, receive a tax advantage for their charitable contribution to their donor advised fund, and support multiple organizations and institutions they care about.

“Rather than giving all of the funds to one institution, we wound up donating funds to the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum, the University of Chicago and various Catholic charities,” he said. “I went to the University of Chicago, so we sponsor an MBA fellowship there, and Lisa went to the University of Minnesota, so we also sponsor a curatorial fellowship at the Weisman Museum.”

Their condo isn’t the only unique gift Lisa and Jerry have given. On March 25, Lisa became a Jeopardy! Champion after correctly answering a final question in the category “Literary Inspirations.” To celebrate her victory, she donated half of her after-tax winnings directly to the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, an organization she has supported for years as a volunteer and recently as a chair of its board.

Lisa and Jerry O'Brien in front of artwork

Lisa and Jerry pictured in front of artwork at the Weisman Art Museum. Photo courtesy of the Weisman Art Museum.

Jeopardy Lisa O Brien

Lisa recently became a Jeopardy! champion

Long-standing Relationship with the Foundation

The O’Briens have had a relationship with the Foundation for years.

“My connection started when our lawyer Greg Kvam [then also the Foundation’s attorney] helped me with my family trust,” Jerry said. “We were contemplating if we were going to embark on charitable giving and he said, ‘I'll build anything you want, but maybe you should evaluate a donor advised fund,’ and he introduced me to the Foundation.”

Not long after the introduction, Jerry served as a member of our board of directors for almost 10 years, part of that time as chair of the investment committee.

“The unique thing to me about the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation is the staff, the governance, and getting to have your choice of places to support through a donor advised fund,” said Jerry. “It's not clear with other organizations that you are going to get the same level of attention that I get with the staff of the Foundation. I sleep well at night knowing that things are being done for the right reasons, in the right place, by the right people.”

To learn more about donating real estate or other non-cash assets to support an existing or new donor advised fund, contact a member of our Philanthropic Services team.

For more examples of real estate donations, see our blog posts:

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors regarding your individual situation before engaging in any transaction.

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