The Eye & Ear Foundation relies on donors like you to realize our mission of supporting research to improve how we hear, see, and live. There are a myriad of ways for you to do so. Here is a handy guide to the different ways to make a gift.
- Cash—Contributing cash is the easiest gift and provides the maximum tax deduction while also making an immediate impact for the Eye & Ear Foundation.
- Bequests and Beneficiaries—Naming the Eye & Ear Foundation in your will, living trust, or as a beneficiary of your retirement plan allows you to help the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology without impacting your income today.
- IRA Charitable Rollovers—If you are age 73 or older, you can make a tax-free gift from your IRA directly to the Eye & Ear Foundation while satisfying your required minimum distribution. This is a simple and popular way to support the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology without reducing your current cash flow and could lower your taxes.
- Charitable Remainder Trusts—Creating a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust or Charitable Remainder Unitrust (with a minimum $100,000 deposit) provides you and/or a loved one income for life and benefits the Eye & Ear Foundation when it is dissolved. An annuity trust provides fixed income, while a unitrust provides variable income based on investment performance.
- Charitable Gift Annuities—Making a gift to the Foundation to establish a Current, Deferred, or Flexible Charitable Gift Annuity guarantees fixed payments for you and/or a loved one for life, while ensuring future financial support to the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Charitable Lead Trusts—When you create a Charitable Lead Trust (with a minimum $100,000 deposit), the Eye & Ear Foundation receives an annual payment from the trust and the remaining funds eventually come back to you and/or your heirs.
- Appreciated Stocks—Donating securities that have increased in value directly to the Foundation allows you to possibly avoid capital gains taxes and maximize your charitable deduction.
- Life Insurance—Naming the Eye & Ear Foundation as a beneficiary of an existing life insurance policy or creating a new policy specifically to benefit the Foundation, allows you to build a legacy, often with a relatively small annual premium payment and without diluting your estate.
- Real Estate and Other Property—Contributing homes, fine art, and other property directly to the Eye & Ear Foundation could allow you to avoid capital gains taxes and the burden of maintaining or selling the assets.
Bequests: Naming Eye & Ear Foundation in Your Will, Life Insurance, or Retirement Plan
Bequests are by far the most popular planned giving option and can be as simple as inserting language in your will, adding a codicil to your will, or updating the beneficiary on your retirement account or life insurance policy. Naming the Eye & Ear Foundation in such a way allows you to help the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology without impacting your income today. You can specify a dollar amount to be given or you can set a percentage of your estate or retirement savings. Your gift could be directed to support an area of research of your choosing.
IRA Charitable Rollovers
Using your retirement fund to support the Eye & Ear Foundation is a simple way to make an impact on research and patient care that can also provide additional tax savings to you. If you are over 70½, you can make a qualified charitable distribution (also known as an IRA charitable rollover) from your IRA to the Foundation. By making a gift directly to a qualified charity you may avoid any income tax associated with this distribution. You can simply inform your IRA custodian that you would like to make this type of gift to transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA to support the Eye & Ear Foundation.
In January 2023, the SECURE 2.0 Act made changes to the tax laws that impact IRA owners:
• Increased the age at which IRA owners must begin to take required minimum distributions annually from their IRAs to 73 and to 75 in 2033. By making an IRA charitable rollover to the Foundation, you can fulfill some or all of your required minimum distribution without increasing your taxable income.
• Individuals 70½ or older may make within one calendar year qualified charitable distribution(s) (QCD) of up to $50,000** from an IRA to fund a life-income gift(s), such as a charitable gift annuity (CGA), without being taxed on the distribution.
Your gift could be directed to support research of various diseases such as Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, Hearing Loss, Head & Neck Cancer, and more. Depending on the size of your gift, it could even be used to establish an endowed fund in your name or in honor of a loved one. This thoughtful planning helps even if you no longer itemize your deductions. Consult your tax advisor or lawyer for specifics on how this giving strategy could benefit you.
Charitable Gift Annuities
When you transfer cash or appreciated securities to the Eye & Ear Foundation in order to establish a charitable gift annuity, you create a reliable and secure income stream for you and/or a loved one, while at the same time ensuring future support for the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. There may also be considerable tax advantages with this type of gift. Depending on your age or the age of your beneficiary(s), you establish guaranteed fixed payments and can select a frequency of your choosing—monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Further, the charitable gift annuity rate is set by the American Council on Gift Annuities and is usually higher than what is available from many conservative investments. At the time of the last income recipient’s death, the remaining funds in your charitable gift annuity will be distributed to the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh. We’d be delighted to prepare a personal gift annuity illustration for you showing the potential income and tax benefits.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
Creating a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) that will benefit the Eye & Ear Foundation when dissolved is a great way to provide you and/or a loved one with income for life in a flexible structure, and it could help hedge against inflation. By funding a CRUT with appreciated stock or real estate, you might also avoid capital gains tax. A CRUT works by placing cash or other assets into a trust. Each year, the trust pays a percentage of the value (which is revalued annually) to you and/or your designated beneficiaries. When you pass away, the trust ends and its remaining principal will pass to the specific research area or fund that you have designated.
Charitable Lead Trusts
What if someone told you that by writing one check today you could provide annual income to the Eye & Ear Foundation for a set period of time and then return the remaining assets to you, your family, and/or other loved ones. Sound good? Well, that is how a charitable lead trust (CLT) builds a sound financial future for your family and the Foundation. When you create a CLT with a minimum of $500,000, the Foundation receives an annual payment from the trust. Those funds could be used to support a specific area of research you designate. Or you could choose to allow the Eye & Ear Foundation to use the funds where the need is greatest as the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology pursue their mission of providing a world-class patient care while nurturing groundbreaking research. Depending on how the trust is structured, it could offer tax benefits today or in the future, especially if you use appreciated assets to fund the trust.
Gifts of Appreciated Assets
Thanks to your sound investment choices and the strong market returns of the last decade or so, you could be holding securities that have greatly appreciated since you purchased them. Perhaps you are considering selling a portion of those investments. Many in your situation are choosing to donate their appreciated assets as gifts directly to the Eye & Ear Foundation. Such a gift not only benefits pioneering research and patient care, but it could also help reduce your tax burden. Capital gains taxes associated with the sale of securities can be as much as 20%. However, when the stock is directly transferred to the Foundation, you could avoid paying capital gains tax. Further, the entire value of your gift could be claimed as an income tax deduction. The same holds true for other appreciated assets such as works of art and real estate. Your gift can be directed to areas of highest need, or to an area of research of your choice.
Gifts of Life Insurance
Life insurance is an excellent tool to protect your family and for making charitable gifts. Naming the Eye & Ear Foundation as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy allows you to create a legacy in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. Perhaps the original purpose for a life insurance policy you took out no longer applies—the house is paid off; the kids are through school. Changing the beneficiary of your policy can be a powerful and simple way to support the Foundation. You could also initiate a new insurance policy with the express intention of supporting the Foundation in the future. Your gift could be directed to support a research area of your choosing, or general support to the areas of highest need.
If you have any questions or would like to reach out to us about your gift, please contact us at 412-864-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.