BUILD. NOT BILLED.
BUI LDING BLOCKS
share and client base. Dan and Gravity Payments set an example. The company even experienced a baby boom following the wage increase. People felt comfortable starting families. And on top of that, a lot of their employees bought homes. They stopped renting, found homes, and settled down. It all came down to the simple fact that they could realistically afford it. I’ve been able to correspond with Dan recently, and I’ve learned a lot about giving back. Dan created something worth emulating. It’s a lesson every business can learn from. It’s not about paying every employee a minimum of $70,000. It’s about setting that example, making a difference, investing in people. Dan’s company was transformed for the better, but more importantly, its employees were transformed for the better — and through the employees, the community, too, was transformed. Since establishing Love Law Firm, I have made it my own mission to give back and to make a difference. Let me tell you a little story. My daughter was born premature. She was at St. Francis Hospital for several weeks as she continued to develop and get stronger so she could come home. When she was born, she was so small that we had no clothes to fit her. Thankfully, St. Francis kept clothes on hand — clothes that had been donated from the community. Seeing my daughter in them was a source of pure comfort. She looked so comfy and safe, wrapped in warmth, not just covered in hospital monitors and tubes. That was the difference a piece of clothing made. The first quarter after my firm opened its doors, I made sure St. Francis Hospital had dozens of new outfits available for other babies to derive comfort from. Our firm helped older kids, as well. My family and my spouse’s family are big believers in adoption. Family is based on love, not genetics — and all children need love. We both have family members who have adopted out of the foster care system. In talking with them, we learned that these children often arrived at their new home with all of their belongings in nothing more than a plastic garbage bag. Children need to know that they are not disposable and that they are worth more than this. It was a small start, but we held a drive to collect duffel bags and supplies to fill the bags. These items included toiletries, stuffed animals, and anything that would tell a child someone cares and is thinking of them. T O G E T H E R
Let’s Make a World of Difference
I t’s the season of
giving back — to the government, that is! As the yearly duty of filing
taxes kicks into high gear, I wanted to focus on an aspect of giving that’s more meaningful and certainly more personal: giving back to the community.
One of my philosophies is that every business should not only benefit the entrepreneur or business
owner, it should benefit its employees and community as well. If a company can’t or won’t contribute to the greater good in some measure, that company shouldn’t exist. Most businesses do provide an immediate societal benefit simply by existing. Businesses create jobs for their respective communities. Their employees can then contribute to the local economy. But far too many businesses exist to meet the bare minimums — paying only a minimum wage, not providing benefits — and the overall benefit for the community reflects it. Ultimately, these businesses are unremarkable. And being unremarkable has never been my personal goal. For newer businesses — and certainly those that are coming right out of the gate — it might not be feasible to immediately offer those wages and benefits, but it should always be a goal. As you ramp up and the business takes off, make those changes. One of my heroes is Dan Price, the CEO and co-founder of Gravity Payments. You may have heard about Dan and his Seattle-based company. In 2015, he garnered worldwide attention when he cut his $1.1 million salary and raised the base pay at Gravity Payments to $70,000 for every single position. This move was nothing short of remarkable. Many detractors called Dan out for making a huge mistake. They said his company was doomed. But Gravity Payments didn’t fail. In fact, the company — and its employees — prospered.
Employee retention went through the roof, naturally. Companies from around the world wanted to work with the trendsetting firm, increasing its market
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I want to introduce you to a few people I admire and respect, and who inspire me in life and business. Meet Donald Taffurelli, Mark Krieger, and Nicole Christensen — three people who strive to make a difference both in their communities and in the world at large. DONALD TAFFURELLI OF TRUTH ALONE This March, Donald Taffurelli helped launch a new clothing brand, Truth Alone. But it’s no ordinary brand. Rather, Truth Alone is centered on sustainability — a business practice that has gained a lot of traction in recent years, particularly among independent brands. Donald and his business partner came out of the conventional fashion industry, where they developed private brands for globally-recognized companies. It was through their decades of experience that Truth Alone was born. They witnessed a blatant disregard for resources and poor labor practices. As Donald puts it, “The industry is in a race to the bottom.” They made it their mission to not only develop a mindful fashion brand, but also to use the brand as a springboard for education. They approach business with a sense of radical transparency. You, the consumer, know the full truth about their products, from the raw materials and the labor to the point of sale. Donald has cultivated positive relationships with suppliers in Central and South America. Everyone involved, from start to finish, benefits from the work of Truth Alone. The worker in Peru benefits right alongside the consumer in New York. Above all, Truth Alone is part of a greater conversation on sustainability, arguing that sustainability is for everyone. And it should stay well within reach of the everyday consumer. As consumers become more aware of the importance of sustainability through education, their buying power becomes leverage for change. Poor business practices can fade into history, where they belong. It’s a win-win for many people on a local and global scale. MARK KRIEGER OF BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES GEMACH 3 PEOPLE
However, the idea behind Beautiful Memories is more than offering clothes to the community. Mark set out to create an environment that is safe and accessible. This is one of the reasons why Beautiful Memories is open by appointment only. Everyone who comes to the gemach has the utmost privacy — not to mention personalized attention, should they desire it. In establishing Beautiful Memories, Mark was inspired by his mother. She was known for the good deeds she did for others, including people she didn’t know. She was there for neighbors, family members, and acquaintances alike. The example set by his mother of giving back for the sake of giving back stuck with Mark. That’s why the gemach is here for anyone who may need a little extra help, whether they have special needs, are going through financial straits, or are simply in a tough situation. The reason doesn’t matter. “People tell me, ‘You treat us like family!’” Mark says. “I say, ‘You are family.’” NICOLE CHRISTENSEN OF CARE ANSWERED Patient advocacy means everything to Nicole Christensen. This was the impetus behind Care Answered, her organization dedicated to health care coordination and advocacy. “Patient advocacy, in many ways, is letting loved ones be loved ones,” she says. Navigating the health care system can be a monumental challenge. The process of figuring out what to do next takes people away from their families. Part of that challenge is finding the best care for the patient. Every patient is different, just as every family is different. People may end up receiving subpar care simply because they can’t find the right care to fit their needs, or they get lost in the maze of the system and give up. Nicole started as an advocate for seniors in Washington, D.C. There was one question that weighed on her mind: “What happens next for older adults?” She saw people struggle with coordinating their care and ultimately fall through the cracks. It was something that affected her personally. She had seen family members suffer from the lack of this coordination. But unlike many others, her relatives were not overlooked — because, as she says, “They had me.” One major concern that Care Answered tackles is that of work-life balance. Many people work full time while trying to ensure that a loved one receives the best care. An individual may be spending all their free time searching for the right assistance, or they may be serving as a caregiver themselves. It’s such a concern for the simple reason that a large portion of our population is aging into retirement and beyond. In the coming years and decades, many of our loved ones are going to need care, if they don’t already. Through Care Answered, Nicole works with many local businesses to provide a lunch program. They also help educate people on the best ways to advocate for themselves and for their loved ones. She shares invaluable resources so people can focus on their work and hobbies and spend less time worrying about what happens next. Who Are Making a World of Difference
Beautiful Memories Gemach, founded by Mark and Dr. Beth Krieger, is a charity devoted to bringing high-quality clothing to those less fortunate. They gather
lightly used and unworn clothing from many of the wealthiest neighborhoods and help find them
new homes. In most cases, the people who come to the gemach can select clothing at no cost. Any money that is raised goes to Young Israel of New Hyde Park. On their shelves and among their racks, you’ll find thousands of articles of high-end clothing for all occasions, from formal business wear to elegant options for weddings and proms. You’ll see suits, gowns, shoes, and everything in between.
Under the new tax bill signed by President Trump on Dec. 22, 2017, many itemized deductions were greatly reduced or completely eliminated. The deduction for charitable contributions is still intact, and the limitation increased to 60 percent of AGI, but with the loss of deductions and the increased standard deduction, many taxpayers will no longer itemize. That could mean a significant decrease in charitable giving. Remember that donating to charity is not only about the tax deduction, it’s also about helping a cause. That being said, there are still ways to donate and receive the tax benefit. For those with combined mortgage interest, donations, and property taxes (capped at $10,000) of at least $24,000 ($12,000 for singles), itemizing deductions will continue. For you, the charitable contributions will be fully deductible (up to 60 percent of AGI, or 30 percent for appreciated property). For others, consider “bunching” your contributions so that you are basically making two years’ worth of donations within the same calendar year. By doing this, you may accumulate enough deductions to itemize every other year. So, for example, if you regularly give to charities in December, consider holding off your 2018 contribution until January 2019. Then make your regular contribution in December 2019. Bunching of contributions may affect the flow of donations to the charitable organizations, which could be a detriment to the organization. One way to allow the charity to still have a constant stream of income is to have contributors use donor-advised funds. A donor-advised fund is like an investment account for your favorite charity. It allows contributors to donate money and take a tax deduction in the same year. Then they pay the money to selected charities over time. The funds are invested for tax-free growth and distributed to charities at your discretion. Even though the donor does
not directly control the money once deposited, he/she tells the fund administrator how to spend it by selecting an eligible charity and the donation amount. Another great option available for those who have required minimum distributions from IRA accounts is to make a qualified charitable distribution. This option was made permanent in 2015 and enables you to roll over up to $100,000 from your retirement account to charity. The contribution is subtracted from taxable income, giving you the benefit of the contribution, even if you don’t itemize. As you can see, there are still tax advantages for charitable giving. With the proper planning, your contributions can be tax-deductible. Either way, giving to charity makes you feel good.
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AROUND THE FIRM
We collected more than a hundred for local kids on Long Island.
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information about Love Law Firm, PLLC’s qualifications and experience. The information provided in this newsletter does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Any prior results described in this newsletter do not guarantee a similar outcome. Love Law Firm, PLLC’s distribution of this newsletter is not intended to create, and will not create, an attorney-client relationship with you. March 30 – Chag Sameach! April 1 – Happy Easter! April 20 – LIBF Women’s Forum Lunch (revised date) – Ask me about attending! April 25 – Building Blocks Webinar: “Employer Best Practices.” To attend, register at www.buildnotbilled.com. May 10 – Long Island Business Expo, Nassau Coliseum Let’s attend and support Long Island businesses! May 11 – LIBF Women’s Lunch – Ask me about attending!
If every business took the time to give back, our world would be a very different place. When neighbors help neighbors, there is more respect in the world, more joy, and more appreciation. It tears down walls and builds opportunity. On that note, I want to share with you the stories of three organizations run by remarkable individuals. You can find their stories on page 2. These are individuals who have inspired me, and I hope they inspire you.
Until next time, let’s get out there and do good!
Isn’t it time you learned to love your lawyer?
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‘Tis the Season of Giving INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 2 3 People Who Are Changing the World
How the New Tax Law Affects Charitable Giving
Around the Firm
How You Made a Difference Last Year
A BIG THANKS TO YOU
Thank you, once again, for the incredible support for Love Law Firm’s fundraiser, which helped raise over $2,000 for a family in need last year. This money went toward groceries, medical copays, new shoes and winter boots, and clothing for the entire family — not to mention art supplies for the daughter, games for the son, and a number of books. On top of the donations for this family in need, additional donations helped establish a small emergency fund. Two more families received assistance with small cash donations to help with food purchases and medical needs. Here’s what the family of four had to say: “The kids squealed when they opened stuff. It all fits great. My son is so excited to wear his new clothes and shoes to school! He was very happy with all of his gifts, and he said to send big squishy hugs for it all.
use. She loves her boots and said they are so comfy that she never wants to take them off. She says everything fits and that she wants to tell everyone thank you so very much. “We are deeply appreciative and absolutely humbled. Thank you for putting it all together, and thanks to everyone for helping us. We were moved to tears over everyone’s generosity. It made a huge impact, and we will forever be grateful.” I want to thank each of you personally for believing in Love Law Firm and trusting me with your money to do some good in this world. I always think of that story of a little boy on the beach at low tide picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the ocean. An older man says to him, “The beach is full of starfish. You can never possibly help them all. Why do you continue?” The boy looks at the starfish he’s about to return to the water and says, “I’m making a difference for this one.”
“My daughter was blown away. She said she had hoped to get that particular art kit, because that’s what all the YouTube artists she watches
Thank you again. Together, we made a difference!
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