ShareGift, a non-profit enabling shareholders to sell nominated shares free of brokerage costs and then donate the realised cash to charities, held its official Sydney launch at the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) last month.

In the last 12 months, ShareGift has received $35,000 from donated share parcels and allocated this entire sum to charities. In July, it made its third and largest quarterly distribution to charities, passing $19,500 to 14 Australian non-profits working in areas such as human services, health and medical research, arts and the environment. The organisations were selected after taking suggestions from ShareGift donors into account.

The largest allocation, amounting to $11,500, was given to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Earlier this year, UNICEF made the proactive step of conducting an awareness campaign to inform its supporters about how to nominate the fund as a ShareGift recipient.

The shareholders contributing to ShareGift receive full market value for the shares they donate, in addition to a tax deduction for their donation. The mechanism is particularly appropriate for shareholders who own parcels that are ‘uneconomic’ – meaning they are worth less than the sum of the brokerage costs usually incurred by realising the sale.

ShareGift is supported by founding broker GoldmanSachs JBWere, National Australia Bank (NAB), the ASX and Macquarie Private Wealth. NAB was the first Australian company to provide shareholders with the means to use ShareGift. In the first half of 2007 it wrote to 20,000 shareholders explaining how the donation mechanism worked.

The organisation was established in June 2004, and is modelled on the British charity bearing the same name, which was founded in 1996 and has generated more than £10 million in donations to support more than 1,000 charities.

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