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.

IRA rollover

In 2015, the President signed into law the PATH Act of 2015, which renewed and made permanent IRA charitable rollover legislation that was first put into place in 2006. IRA Charitable Rollovers, also known as Qualified Charitable Distributions, allows 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 $100,000 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 Funds that are withdrawn by you and then contributed do not qualify and will likely be considered a taxable distribution.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.

If you’re interested in this popular way to support the Union of Concerned Scientists, download a sample letter for your IRA administrator here (PDF).

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 nearly 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.