Gifts from Your IRA

Making a gift from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can be a creative and tax-effective way to support UCS. While distributions from IRA accounts can be heavily taxed, there are two different ways to donate your retirement assets that can mutually benefit you and our work towards a healthier planet and safer world.

Qualified Charitable Distributions

Qualified Charitable Distributions, also known as IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts, allow UCS members to make tax-free gifts directly from their retirement accounts that count toward minimum distribution requirements and do not generate federal taxable income.

These gifts are an effective way to have an immediate impact. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You must be 70 ½ or older at the time of the gift.
  • There is no minimum gift amount required by UCS, though your IRA administrator may set a minimum transfer amount.
  • You may transfer up to $105,000 of charitable gifts directly from your IRA each year.
  • The transfer of funds to UCS counts toward your required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA.
  • Gifts must be transferred directly from a traditional IRA account to UCS by your IRA administrator. Funds that are withdrawn by you and then contributed do not qualify and will likely be considered a taxable distribution.
  • Gifts from 401(k), 403(b), SEP, and other retirement plans do not qualify. To make a gift of assets in these types of accounts, you would need to roll the assets over into an IRA and then make a direct transfer from that IRA.

How to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution gift to UCS

These gifts are an effective way to have an immediate impact. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Contact your IRA administrator and request a direct transfer to:

Union of Concerned Scientists
Attn: Eric St Jacques
Two Brattle Square
Cambridge, MA 02138
UCS Tax ID #: 04-2535767

  • Request a qualified charitable distribution form or download a sample letter (PDF) to send to your IRA administrator here.
  • Please be sure that the funds are NOT distributed directly to you, which could trigger taxable income rather than a direct charitable distribution to charity.
  • Please instruct your IRA administrator to include your name on the check they send to UCS. Financial institutions often neglect to provide us with any donor information, making it difficult for us to track and credit the funds, or provide you with written substantiation for your gift.
  • Once you have contacted your IRA administrator, please provide us with the name of your IRA company and amount of your gift so we can identify and acknowledge your gift in a timely manner.

Beneficiary designation

Retirement accounts can also be an effective way for you to make a commitment to UCS—a future gift that costs you nothing now.

If you are interested in creating a legacy of support for UCS after your lifetime, consider making UCS a beneficiary of your retirement plan. When passed to heirs other than a spouse, retirement plan assets are subject to income tax as well as possible federal or state estate taxes. However, when you leave retirement assets to a tax-exempt charity such as UCS, 100 percent of your gift will go to support our work. Designating UCS as a beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account is easy—simply contact your plan administrator to request a Change of Beneficiary Form. For more information and instructions, visit our page on gifts by will or beneficiary designation.

By making UCS a beneficiary of your retirement account or other financial or estate plan, you will qualify for membership in the Kurt Gottfried Society. Please contact us to let us know about your gift and to learn more about our legacy society that honors Kurt Gottfried and the more than 1,000 supporters who have left a gift to UCS.

Contact us

For more information about gifts of retirement plan assets or for other ways to make special gifts to UCS, please contact the Planned Giving Team at (617) 301-8095, or [email protected]. You can also visit our legacy giving site.