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The American Hydrogen Association NW needs to expand its resources to more effectively fulfill its mission. If you want to help, let us count the ways...
There are several ways to support AHANW's research and educational programs. Some (for example, cash gifts and bequests) are obvious and known to all; others (such as gifts of property and various trust arrangements) are a surprise to many. Some of these are "gifts that give back," providing immediate tax benefits while at the same time conferring advantages that can range from guaranteeing income for life to providing reliable, tax-protected ways of transferring wealth to the next generation.
Below you will find some of the most common ways in which someone can give to the AHANW. Bear in mind that while we prefer unrestricted gifts (that is, gifts without conditions, enabling us to place them where they can do the most good at the time we receive them), we also respect the donors wish to restrict a gift to one or more of the activities conducted under the American Hydrogen Associations NW auspices (fellowships, for example, or public education, research, web, etc.).
Cash gifts (usually via personal check) are of course the most common form of giving. The charity can use the gift immediately and the donor gets to deduct the amount of the figure from his or her taxable income for the year in which the gift is made (up to a limit of 50 percent of taxable income; any excess over the 50 percent can be carried over to the following year).
For donors who are holding securities that were purchased many years ago and have appreciated dramatically, that is a wonderful way to maximize a gift. The door transfers the securities (note: not selling them first!) to the charity. The charity can sell or hold them (AHANW, along with most other charities, has a policy of selling them at once) and put the money to work. The donor gets to deduct the full amount of the current market value (even though he/she may have paid a lot less for them originally) from taxable income in the year in which the gift is made (up to a limit of 30 percent of taxable income; as with cash, any excess can be carried over the following year).
Charitable Remainder Trust
This kind of planned gift arrangement is especially attractive to donor who wants to make a significant future gift to a charity, but who needs income now and for the rest of his or her life. The donor receives a tax donation in the year in which the irrevocabel commitment is made and pays tax (a combination of income tax and capital gain tax) on the income at the time it is received.
Upon the death of the donor, the charity receives the principal remaining in the trust (literally, the "charitable remainder"). (It is also possible to make the commitment revocable, but under these circumstances no tax deduction is allowed when the trust is created.) There are two common variations on the charitable remainder trust. Under one of them (the "annuity trust") the donor receives a fixed income every year; under the other (the "unitrust"), the donor receives a percent of fair market value of the trust, which varies from year to year. A unitrust is highly recommended.
Charitable Lead Trust
This arrangement is roughly the opposite of the one before it. Under the remainder trust, the donor receives income now and the charity receives the principal later. Under the lead trust, the charity receives income now and the donor (or more typically the donors heirs) gets the principal back later (usually 15 or 20 years). Under the former, the donor receives a tax deduction in the year the gift is made while under the latter, the tax benefit comes in he form of an exemption for all or most of the estate.
This is a wonderful kind of gift for an organization like the AHANW because it gives the opportunity to use the income now, when the need is greatest, rather than years and years later, when significant progress will have been made. However, it requires a donor who can afford to set aside a significant amount of capital (typically $1 million or more) for a significant number of years.
Charitable gift annuity
Currently under development, this program of charitable gift annuities offers donors a unique opportunity to coming giving and investing. The donor receives a fixed rate of return which varies with hisser age at the time the annuity is established (we follow the rate schedules recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities) and in addition receives an income tax deduction. Upon the donors death, the full remaining value of the annuity goes to support AHANW's activities. Donors must be at least 55 years of age and be prepared to establish an annuity of at least $10,000 in value.