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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the three kinds of gifts I can give to Christendom College?

  1. Generally speaking, during your lifetime you can make an outright gift of cash, securities or other property (e.g., real estate, personal property).
  2. 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.
  3. You also have the option of making a gift that returns lifetime payments to you, your spouse, or other individuals, such as a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust.

2. What sort of assets can I use to make a gift?

Almost anything: cash, publicly traded securities, 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 and artwork.

3. What tax deduction will I receive for my gift?

It depends on the form your gift takes:

  • Outright gifts to Christendom generate a full income-tax charitable deduction. Outright gifts of appreciated securities are deductible at fair market value, with no recognition of capital gains - a great tax benefit!
  • Gifts of personal property, like art, books and collectibles, are fully deductible so long as they are relevant to our mission. We can advise you on this point. Bequests do not generate a lifetime income tax deduction. They are exempt from estate tax, however.
  • Similarly, life insurance distributions to Christendom are not income-tax deductible, but are exempt from estate tax.
  • A lifetime gift of an insurance policy to Christendom generates a deduction for the value of the policy. If you give a policy with premiums still owing, you may also deduct annual gifts that offset our premium payments (for more details on this point, see Question 5 below).
  • The charitable deduction for a gift that makes payments to you, such as a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust, is the fair market value of the gift asset minus the present value of the income interest you retain.

4. Can Christendom College serve as the Executor of my estate?

No. State law, the limitations of our corporate powers, and our internal policies prevent us from taking such a role in your affairs.

5. I want to set up a life insurance policy, name Christendom as beneficiary, but retain ownership of the policy. Can I deduct the premium payments I make?

No. The IRS would not consider that a "completed gift" - they'd say that, as the owner of the policy, you could change the beneficiary designation to a friend or family member. Christendom must be made the irrevocable owner of the policy for gifts offsetting premium payments to be deductible.

6. Can I transfer my IRA to set up a life-income gift, and avoid income tax on the transfer?

Legislation gives donors aged 70½ and older an opportunity to direct lifetime distributions from their IRAs to us without incurring income tax liability on the withdrawal. The provision will be in effect for just the 2006 and 2007 tax years. Distributions can total $100,000 per year, and must be made outright — they cannot fund a life-income gift. Just e-mail us and we'll be happy to give you more information about this new charitable incentive.

7. I'd like to donate a painting. Will you determine its value for my income tax deduction?

No, we can't. 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 on this point.

8. I'm interested in establishing a charitable gift annuity. What financial provisions do you make for the income payments to me and my husband?

Your charitable gift annuity will be treated as a general obligation of Christendom, backed by all its assets. Christendom College is in full compliance with Virginia provisions regarding non-profits' offering of gift annuities. We have an unbroken record in making timely payments to our annuitants, and that ongoing responsibility is a key element in our financial policies.

9. If I create a bequest or life-income gift, will Christendom continue to ask me for annual contributions?

We will, unless you request otherwise, because the commitments address two different needs. Your planned gift is a significant addition to our long-term financial strength—our ability to meet the challenges and opportunities the future will bring. The obligations and expenses that we encounter today, however, are met through your annual gift. We are very grateful that you want Christendom to succeed both today and in the future.