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Best Charitable Gifts to Make in 2018

With the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, you may be wondering about the impact of this law on your charitable giving. The good news is, that the opportunities for charitable giving remain positive. Check out our website to read our brief on Tax Reform and Implications for Charitable Giving and consult the Tax Law Reference Guide for the Donor. There are many ways you can make a difference at Bowdoin College while enjoying financial benefits for yourself.

Here are some smart ways to give in 2018:

  • Donate appreciated stock: With the stock market at or near all-time highs, use your appreciated stocks to fund gifts to Bowdoin College. This is a tax-wise strategy to avoid  paying taxes on the capital gains.
  • Name Bowdoin as a beneficiary of retirement plan assets: These assets are taxed as ordinary income when distributed to a loved one but are passed free of taxation when passed directly to Bowdoin. Visit our website to learn more about beneficiary designations and if you do make a designation for the College, do let us know by providing us with a completed Future Gift Commitment Form so that we can thank you and welcome you as a member of the Bowdoin Pines Society.
  • Make a charitable rollover gift from your IRA (if age 70½ or older): IRA rollover gifts have always been a popular giving vehicle for those who do not itemize deductions. With a rollover gift, you can rollover up to $100,000, fulfill your required minimum distribution (RMD) and avoid taking the RMD into your taxable income. Under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, philanthropically-inclined people who qualify to make rollover gifts will discover that not taking distributions into income is equivalent to fully deducting a gift!
  • Gifts of real estate: Many real estate markets are enjoying gains. If you have a second home, a summer cottage or undeveloped land that you no longer use or have plans for, consider donating it to Bowdoin—either outright or to fund a Charitable Remainder Unitrust. If you want to continue to enjoy your property but want to direct it to the College eventually, consider establishing a Retained Life Estate and receive an available charitable deduction. Donating appreciated real estate to Bowdoin is a tax-wise strategy to avoid paying capital gains tax.Visit our website for more information about making a gift to Bowdoin with real estate.

Talk With Your Tax Professional

Visit our gift planning website to learn more about the many ways you can make a gift to Bowdoin that will have impact and benefit future generations of Bowdoin students and faculty. Be sure to consult with your tax or financial advisors to determine the best charitable giving strategies for you.

We Can Help

The College is grateful for your generosity. If you are interested in exploring gift options, contact the Office of Gift Planning at or 207-725-3172 for more information. 

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Bowdoin College a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Bowdoin College, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 4100 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor-advised fund is a charitable account sponsored by a public charity that donors use to support their philanthropy.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

A lead trust holds appreciating assets for a term of years (or for your lifetime), and makes quarterly or annual payments to Bowdoin College. The College benefits from the stream of reliable, steady gifts from the lead trust, and you're able to witness the impact of your gifts during your lifetime. At the end of the trust's term, all remaining trust assets are distributed to your designated beneficiaries with greatly reduced (in some cases zeroing out) gift and estate tax, regardless of how much the trust has grown.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Bowdoin as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Bowdoin as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Bowdoin where you agree to make a gift to Bowdoin and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

With a retained life estate, the donor(s) irrevocably deeds a personal residence or farm to the College, but retains the right to live in it for the rest of his/her life, a term of years, or a combination of the two. The term is most commonly measured by the life of the donor or of the donor and the donor’s spouse.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.