Ways to Give

Iowa community foundations are local organizations ready to help you achieve your charitable giving goals now, or as part of your legacy through planned giving. Your local community foundation would be happy to provide information to you and/or your professional advisor. For more information and ideas on ways you can integrate your financial planning with charitable giving, ask your financial advisor or contact your local community foundation.

Here are various aspects of your giving to consider. If you don’t have it all figured out before you meet with your local community foundation, don’t worry. They are experts in helping donors navigate these decisions.

WHEN do you want to give your gift?

When you are ready to see your charitable giving in action, there is no time like now!

  • Your local community foundation already has established funds you can donate to and may be worth exploring.
  • If you are looking to establish your own fund, there are typically minimum amounts required to establish an endowed fund. This can be achieved through outright gifts of cash, stocks/bonds, real estate, or other assets.
  • Seeding a fund over time is also an option if you want to establish your own fund but don’t have the full amount for an endowed fund upfront.

You know charitable giving is a lifelong goal of yours, but perhaps you don’t have enough to fully endow a fund right now.

  • Find an established fund at your local community foundation to donate to regularly; or
  • Ask your local community foundation about an option to seed your own charitable fund – you put forward an initial investment and commit to give a certain amount over a specified number of years until your fund is fully endowed.

A planned gift from your estate may be more attractive to you and your family than a large gift today. You can leave a permanent legacy of giving, be a source of pride to your family and join others like you to build a stronger community.

Three easy ways to make a planned gift include:

  • Designate your local community foundation as the beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account. These assets can lose up to 70% of their value when passed to heirs; changing the beneficiary designation does not involve modifying your estate plan.
  • Designate your local community foundation as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. There is no need to modify your estate plan.
  • Ask your attorney to add the community foundation to your estate plan. Talk to your professional advisor and your local community foundation to learn about all of your giving options and choose the one that's right for you and your community.

WHAT do you want to give?

When you think of giving to charity you may imagine putting cash in an envelope or writing a check, but gifts can look a lot different than that too. Community foundations are positioned to accept a wide variety of gifts.

Charitable gifts may take the form of:

You can make a gift of cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, or other assets to your local community foundation. Most charitable gifts qualify for maximum tax advantages under federal law.

Everybody wins when you make a gift of appreciated stock to your local community foundation. Your gains are put to good use. Your gift of stock is reinvested in your community, and it qualifies for an immediate tax deduction based on the full market value.

Donate a portion of company stock to your local community foundation; the company may buy it back for fair market value.

Life insurance provides a simple way for you to give a significant gift to charity, with tax benefits that you can enjoy during your lifetime. Simply list a fund at your local community foundation as the beneficiary – contact them for the information you’ll need, such as their tax ID number and the date the fund was established.

Making a charitable gift of real estate through your local community foundation can help you turn your property gains into community good. The value of your real estate may exceed that of any other asset you own. With the help of your community foundation, you can use it to fulfill your charitable interests and receive financial and tax benefits.

Retirement plans provide an opportunity for you to help plan for your community's future. They can be one of the most effective assets to transfer to your local community foundation because retirement plans produce taxable income. By naming your local community foundation as the beneficiary of your retirement plan, you could receive a number of benefits – and avoid having a significant portion of your hard-earned assets going to taxes instead of your heirs.

In Iowa, landowners hold special assets in their farmland. Community foundations have unique farmland giving programs that help create a charitable legacy for your community while retaining income from the land.

By donating a gift of grain, you can deduct the cost of growing the crops, which typically results in saving self employment tax, federal income tax and state income tax. You can benefit even if you don’t itemize your deductions and take the standard deduction.

The IRA Charitable Rollover provision allows individuals 70 ½ and older to transfer up to $100,000 to charities without tax consequences when given from the retiree’s individual retirement account (IRA). You can learn more about this attractive giving option here.

A tax-smart strategy called “bunching” allows a taxpayer to group together their deductions into a single tax year in order to surpass the itemization threshold. In off-years, taxpayers can take the standard deduction. You can learn more about this attractive giving option here.

What’s the minimum amount I need to start giving?

Donations of all sizes can help make an impact in local communities through Iowa community foundations. Contributions can be made to existing funds or individuals, families, businesses, or organizations may wish to establish a new fund. For specific information, please contact your local community foundation.

HOW do you want to give?

Writing a check is one way, but there are many ways to structure your gift.

If you have the cash/stocks/bonds/other assets on hand and are ready to give, your local community foundation can help you make your gift.

Including a charitable bequest in your will is a simple way to make a lasting gift to your community.

Giving through a Charitable Gift Annuity allows you to arrange a generous gift to your community, while providing yourself a new income source you can count on for the rest of your life.

Giving through a Charitable Remainder Trust allows you to receive income for the rest of your life, knowing that whatever remains will benefit your community.

A Charitable Lead Trust helps you build a charitable fund with your community foundation during the trust's term. When the trust terminates, the remaining assets are transferred to you or your heirs, tax free.