What kinds of gifts can I make to Columbia?
Generally speaking, during your lifetime you can make an outright gift of cash, securities, or other property (e.g., real estate or tangible personal property). Upon your death you can make a gift through your will or revocable trust, or through a distribution from a retirement plan or life insurance policy. You also have the option of making a gift, such as a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust, that returns lifetime payments to you, your spouse, or other individuals.
What assets can I use to make a gift?
Almost anything: cash, publicly traded securities, even the balance in your retirement account. Other assets can be very valuable but are more complicated to administer and must be reviewed by us before we can accept them as gifts: real estate, closely held stock, artwork, and other tangible personal property.
Where can I find instructions for making a gift of stock/securities?
Detailed instructions describing how to make a gift of appreciated stocks/securities can be found in the “Ways to Give” section of this site.
What are the benefits of giving securities to Columbia?
Giving appreciated stock or bonds is usually more advantageous than giving cash. If you give appreciated securities held longer than one year, you can deduct their full fair market value, regardless of what you originally paid for them. Though your total deduction is limited to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income in any year, you can take any unused deduction over five succeeding tax years. And, you pay no capital gains tax on the donated securities. Please consult your financial or tax advisors before making any material decisions based on this information.
How does Columbia value my gift of securities?
If the security is transferred electronically through DTC (Depository Trust Corporation):
The gift is valued at the average of the high and low prices on the date of gift, which is the day the security is received into our brokerage account.
If the physical certificate is sent by US Mail:
The gift is valued at the average of the high and low prices on the date of gift, which is the postmark. If the certificate and the stock power are sent on different dates, the later date will be used.
If the certificate is hand delivered:
The gift is valued at the average of the high and low prices on the date of gift, which is the date the University takes physical possession of either the certificate or the stock power, whichever is later.
For restricted or closely held stock:
The gift is valued through an appraisal based on the fair market value for the restricted shares on the date of gift, which is dependent on the form of delivery.
Please remember that Columbia University sends this valuation as a courtesy only and is not required by the IRS to do so.
How long will it take for me to receive my valuation letter?
Generally you can expect to receive your valuation letter from this office within two weeks of us receiving your gift.
However, during peak times for gift receipts (December, January, and June), this can take up to four to six weeks.
It should also be noted that if securities are sent electronically without previous notification to Columbia, it can take several months for a gift to be traced to its original donor. Please remember that your broker does not necessarily pass on to Columbia your instructions verbally or in writing. To make sure that your gift is credited properly, contact our Office of Gift Systems at (866) GIFT-SYS (1-866-443-8797) or via e-mail at email@example.com.
What do I do if I want to give gifts of restricted/closely held stock?
You will need to contact our Office of Gift Planning at:
Office of Gift Planning
622 West 113th Street
New York, NY 10025
What if I would like to give mutual funds?
The University accepts some mutual funds for gift purposes. The procedure for transferring mutual funds is different for each fund—including different funds at the same company. You will need to contact the Treasury Services Office at (212) 854-9694 before beginning any transfer.
Is there a minimum value for a gift of securities?
Yes. The University recommends that gifts of securities be valued at $1,000 or more, whether sent by DTC or in certificate form.
When do I need to give a gift of securities to receive a tax deduction in a given year?
Gifts that are transferred via DTC (the Depository Trust Corporation) must be received in the University’s account by the final business day of the calendar year. Since many brokers are busy and/or vacationing at this time, we suggest you give delivery instructions to your broker early in December to meet a year-end cutoff for tax purposes. Gifts sent by US mail must be postmarked by December 31; all other gifts must be delivered by December 31.
I’d like to donate a painting. Will you determine its value for my income tax deduction?
Unfortunately, the IRS requires that donors of artwork and collectibles secure an independent appraisal of the items to establish fair market value. The appraisal has to be related to the gift, too—an insurance appraisal won’t suffice. We can assist you, however, in securing an independent appraisal; contact our Gift Planning Office at (800) 338-3294 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m interested in establishing a charitable gift annuity. What financial provisions do you make for the income payments?
Your charitable gift annuity is treated as a general obligation of Columbia, backed by all its assets. Columbia is in full compliance with provisions regarding a nonprofit's offering of gift annuities and maintains an unbroken record in making timely payments to our annuitants.