The Sweet Deal Virginia GOP Governor Candidate Glenn Youngkin Foundation Offers for Church and Christian Retreat
Glenn Youngkin made headlines for self-funding his campaign as the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, spending more than $ 16 million to defeat his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, on November 2. Outside of politics, the former co-CEO of private equity firm Carlyle Group, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of $ 440 million, focused his spending on the Phos Foundation, a private foundation that he and his wife Suzanne established in 2016 with the aim of providing “opportunities, environments and experiences that change or that change lives, guided by Christian values. and principles.
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The bulk of the foundation’s assets consist of two limited liability companies: Trinity Group LLC and Delta Farm LLC, valued at $ 10.25 million and $ 11.7 million, respectively. They represented 97% of the total fair market value of the foundation’s assets in 2019, the latest year for which public documents are available. Delta Farm was donated to the foundation by Youngkin’s wife Suzanne in 2016, while Trinity Group was donated by the Suzanne Youngkin Revocable Trust in 2017.
Trinity Group owns the land at 850 Balls Hill Rd in McLean, Va., Which houses Holy Trinity Church, the episcopal church where Youngkin serves as custodian. According to public documents, the church is leasing the property – which was estimated to be worth $ 6 million in 2021 – from the Trinity Group for $ 1 a year. Trinity Group acquired the property in 2017 for $ 11 million from Oakcrest School, a Catholic school for girls located near Vienna.
Delta Farm owns a 358-acre farm in Middleburg, Virginia, described as “a pastoral, wooded nature serving as a place of retreat, respite, and renewal.” The site, estimated to be worth $ 9.1 million in 2021, is managed by Meadowkirk, a “Christian retreat ministry” where Suzanne sits on the board. Delta Farms purchased the land in 2013 for $ 11.6 million from National Capital Presbytery Inc., a network of Presbyterian churches in the DC area. Meadowkirk also rents the property from Delta Farm for $ 1 per year, and Meadowkirk and Holy Trinity Church are tax-exempt organizations.
In all but one of the four available annual tax returns of the Phos Foundation for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, the foundation paid well less than 5% of its total assets, which may not meet the requirement for that private foundations disperse at least 5% of the total fair market value of their assets in grants and related expenses each year. A spokesperson for Glenn Youngkin declined to comment on the foundation.
But Phos excludes the value of the two LLCs when calculating how much he has to distribute each year, keeping his disbursements modest – about $ 2.1 million since 2016 to various organizations, including Virginia Tech’s Youngkin Equine Soundness Clinic and the FOCUS North America Orthodox Christian nonprofit – within 5% requirement. According to two tax specialists who spoke with Forbes, the Youngkins may be able to exempt the value of the two LLCs from total assets as they are used for charitable purposes by Holy Trinity Church and Meadowkirk.
“They basically donate these LLCs and indirectly this land to the foundation. If it was to maximize the tax savings, the best way to do that would be to donate to a public charity through the through a donor-advised fund, ”says Brian Mittendorf. , professor of accounting at Ohio State. “If this land was used for charitable purposes, then they can leave that land out of the calculation.”
In 2019, the Youngkins gave nearly $ 1.7 million in cash and stock to the foundation, and Phos gave more than $ 1.2 million in grants. This ultimately brought the foundation’s donations down to the 5% threshold to 5.4% of its total assets of $ 22.5 million, including the value of the two LLCs.
“It doesn’t behave like a traditional private foundation, where a very wealthy person will endow it with their wealth and then donate around 5% each year to these different charities,” explains Mittendorf.