Imagining a brighter future
Answers to your questions about supporting the University of Minnesota during uncertain times

As COVID-19 changes life as we know it, the University of Minnesota community is coming together to make a difference in individual lives and in our world. Many donors have provided emergency support to students and caregivers, funded lifesaving equipment and research, and supported the entire University system. Thank you for driving the innovative research, teaching, and outreach happening in all areas of the University!

We understand that in these uncertain times, giving to charitable organizations like the University may not be possible for everyone. At the same time, we’ve been receiving questions about ways donors can continue to support the University. Here’s some information that may be helpful to you.

How does the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act affect charitable giving?

The recently enacted CARES Act includes provisions that you may want to consider when you think about charitable giving:

  • If you don’t itemize deductions on your tax return, you can still take a $300 charitable giving deduction. 
  • If you do itemize, the act increases the amount you can deduct for a cash gift in 2020 from 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100% of AGI.  

Can I still make a qualified charitable distribution from my IRA?

Yes. The CARES Act suspended required minimum distributions from retirement accounts for 2020. However, IRA owners who are age 70½ or older can still make a qualified charitable distribution from their IRA to charity and avoid the income tax that would otherwise be due on the distribution. 

If you want to continue supporting the University or other charitable organizations that are important to you, a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA is a tax-advantaged way to make a gift and may still be the best option. All future distributions from IRA accounts will be subject to tax, unless transferred to charity.  

How can I support the University with my donor-advised fund? 

Gifts made to a donor-advised fund have already been set aside for charity, making them a great way to support the organizations that are important to you during times of economic uncertainty. 

You can recommend grants from your fund to the University of Minnesota Foundation by providing the following information to the sponsoring organization:
  Legal name: University of Minnesota Foundation
  UMF federal tax ID: 41-6042488
  Mailing address: P.O. Box 860266, Minneapolis, MN 55486
  Name of the U of M campus, college, program, or fund where the grant should be directed

Each sponsoring organization has forms they use to recommend these grants. To find these forms, look on the sponsoring organization’s website or contact them directly. Your sponsoring organization will distribute the grant directly to UMF.

Learn more about donor-advised funds.

How can I make a gift and receive fixed annual income?

With the current market uncertainty, many donors are looking for options that provide a fixed income.  A charitable gift annuity is an attractive fixed income option that also provides support for the University. 

With this type of gift, a donor makes a gift of cash or publicly traded securities. In exchange, the University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF) agrees to pay the donor, or others the donor has designated, a fixed amount annually for life. Payments are backed by all the assets of the foundation. At the termination of the gift annuity, the remaining assets support the campus, college, or program the donor has designated. 

To receive a personalized gift annuity illustration, please contact the UMF Planned Giving team.

What are some ways I can support the University if I need financial flexibility right now? 

Many donors find that including a gift in their will or revocable trust is a meaningful and flexible way to support the University. With this type of gift, you maintain control of your assets during your lifetime, and you can change your plans at any time. You can give a specific dollar amount, specific property, or a percentage of what remains after you’ve provided for your loved ones.  

Another option is to name the University of Minnesota as a beneficiary of your tax-deferred retirement account. This simple option allows these assets to pass tax-free, so the full value of your gift will support the areas of the University that are important to you. If transferred to your heirs, these assets are subject to income tax and possibly estate tax. Like a gift in your will, a gift of retirement assets can be changed at any time.

Can I choose what my gift will support?

Yes. You can direct your gift to any campus, college, or program. Whether you’d like to give to the U of M cause that’s most meaningful to you, or to current COVID-19 relief efforts, your support ensures a brighter future for the University and the communities it serves. All gifts made before June 30, 2021, are included in Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign.

For questions, or to learn more about how your gift can help change lives, please contact the foundation’s Planned Giving team at (612) 624-3333 or (800) 775-2187, or contact the development officer you work with at the University.


The University of Minnesota Foundation does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult with your professional advisor before making a gift.

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