Financial Vehicles

Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds

Traditional investment vehicles are an ideal means for establishing funds at a community foundation. The donor can avoid tax on appreciation, yet still receive a tax deduction for the full market value. As a tax-exempt entity, the foundation can sell the securities and avoid taxes on the appreciation.

Real Estate

Land or buildings can be given in a number of ways, while the donor avoids taxes on the appreciation. The donor must obtain a qualified appraisal to establish the gift value.

Personal Property

While each foundation has varying policies on accepting these types of assets, personal property such as automobiles, art work, jewelry, valuable collectibles, antiques and more can often be donated — giving the donor a charitable tax deduction for the full fair-market value.


A donor can always make a gift by check — easy, direct, and fully tax-deductible as allowed by law.


A dollar amount, property or percentage of an estate can go to charitable causes, either through a donor’s will or living trust. The community foundation must be named as the charitable beneficiary. A signed donor memorandum is required to name the endowment fund and the charities that will benefit from the donor’s bequest.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is an affordable way to give a significant amount. A donor can make the community foundation a beneficiary of an existing or new policy. A variety of options are available, all of which provide tax advantages and allow the donor to leverage dollars for maximum impact.


Agricultural producers can donate grain or livestock through a community foundation. Legal ownership of the commodity can be transferred to a community foundation before it is sold in order to avoid taxable income from a sale and minimize taxes. The donor may see savings on federal income tax, state income tax and self-employment tax, depending on individual circumstances. Deducting the cost of production may provide greater tax savings than selling the commodity and donating a portion of the proceeds.

A Portion of IRAs and Other Retirement Funds

Qualified individuals can transfer retirement assets to a community foundation, lessening the impact of income, estate, and generation-skipping taxes on a family’s inheritance.