Le Fer Hall

Giving remains strong through 2020

News | 11.20.2020

As donors are considering their year-end philanthropic priorities during what has been an undoubtably difficult year, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College remains a good investment. Dollars open the door for students studying on campus or online to continue their education – something our world needs now more than ever, according to Karen Dyer, vice president for advancement and strategic initiatives at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

“Gratitude is a word that comes to mind,” said Dyer. “Without a doubt, The Woods has been blessed. I hear so many stories about how people are grateful. Students and faculty are grateful for being able to go to class this fall because others have sacrificed for them. Our donors have been giving with gladness in their heart to insure those who most need an education are able to receive one. I have no doubt that SMWC will be the beneficiary of so many loving alumni and friends’ kindness and philanthropy this giving season.”

With the March 2020 announcement of the federal stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, Woods alumni and friends have an added incentive to support SMWC and non-profit organizations with the creation of an above-the-line $300 charitable income tax deduction in 2020.

“Our Woods donors have been very loyal. Their support continues to fuel the institution’s momentum by investing in the growth of new academic programs, updated facilities and expanded athletics opportunities which have all led to increased enrollment,” said Dyer.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our alumni have been there. I am so thankful that they helped us exceed last year’s Woods Fund goal of $1.1 million in June of 2020 especially when it looked like we might fall short. I hope incentives like the CARES Act continue to inspire giving through December 31 so that we are able to finish the school year strong without worry about funding.”

Dyer added that in a time filled with countless challenges, year-end giving should not be one of them.

Both the SECURE Act and the CARES Act received a great deal of press in recent months, and as the changes these laws have brought about might make it difficult to know how best to make a gift, Dyer’s advice is for donors to work closely with their financial advisors to see what their best option is for making contributions, and then reach out to the College.

“When you are ready to talk about your investment in SMWC, the highly qualified Advancement Team will be here to help.”

CARES Act Incentivizes Gifts to Non-Profits

The CARES Act allows for a temporary universal charitable deduction up to $300 to be claimed on personal income tax filings for gifts made to nonprofits such as The Woods in 2020. It is an above-the-line deduction, meaning you do not have to itemize your taxes to claim the deduction. Contributions must be cash donation(s). The bill increases the cap on annual gifts from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent.

This is often a time of year for donors to consider a tax-free donation to charities from their individual retirement account (IRA). With recent changes from the SECURE Act, the minimum age for required minimum distributions (RMD) increased from 70½ to 72, thus delaying RMD’s allowing individual’s investments to continue to grow. This change was followed by a stipulation in the CARES Act waiving RMDs for 2020 until 2021.

“Although the change waiving RMDs may affect some donors’ decisions to give, The Woods has already received gifts this year from those who still see the value in continuing to invest in us and our students. Likewise, they have found their own benefits in continuing to support the College through this tax-free giving vehicle,” said Dyer.

IRA Rollovers Remain a Good Investment

Supporting Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College through your IRA has been growing in popularity and ease of the past few years.

“We truly count on the generosity and support of our alumni and friends to help fund our mission. We had great success this fall as gifts to the institution have remained strong,” said Dyer.

“Now more than ever, the College is relying on unrestricted gifts to help provide for our students so that learning may continue unimpeded.” Dyer said. “It is our hope the dedication of students and faculty coupled with the tax opportunities available to donors will inspire year-end gifts.”

Although RMDs from retirement plans that would have been required in 2020 may be delayed until 2021 through the CARES Act, individuals may still take a distribution to make a gift before December 31, 2020.

The Tax Code still allows individuals 70 ½ or over to transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to charities through a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), also called a charitable IRA rollover. In any other year, the amount rolled over to charity as a QCD would count toward the required minimum distribution.

Even in 2020 there are reasons to use a QCD to support charities, including: 

  • A QCD is a convenient way to support a cause you care about – particularly at this time of need,
  • The amount transferred as a QCD is not counted in taxable income,
  • And it reduces the IRA account balance by the amount of the QCD, and consequently, reduces future RMDs.

Source for more information: The Association of Fundraising Professionals

*SMWC does not provide investment or gift advice and recommends donors contact their financial and investment advisors for further information.