Tools in Giving to Columbia Springs

The gift acceptance committee of Columbia Springs shall make the final determination on the acceptance or rejection of gifts of all forms and inform the Board of Columbia Springs of such determinations in a timely manner. The following gifts are acceptable but not intended to represent an exclusive list of appropriate gifts: 

 

Cash

Cash refers to cash equivalents, including checks, money orders, currency/coin, and credit card payments. Checks or money orders shall be made payable to “Columbia Springs”, shall appropriately identify the donor or donors and be delivered to Columbia Springs’s administrative offices. Wire and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) can usually be arranged with the Columbia Springs staff. If a matching gift company or workplace giving company wants to send and ACH/EFT every week instead of a check, these must be authorized by the cash receipting manager at Columbia Springs before the enrollment form is sent back to the constituent.

Securities

Columbia Springs can accept both publicly traded securities and closely held securities.

Publicly Traded Securities. Marketable securities may be transferred to an account maintained at one or more brokerage firms or delivered physically with the transferor’s signature or stock power attached. As a general rule, all marketable securities shall be sold upon receipt unless directed by the Gift Acceptance Committee and the Board of Directors. In some cases, marketable securities may be restricted by applicable securities laws; in such instance the final determination on the acceptance of the restricted securities shall be made by the gift acceptance committee of Columbia Springs.  Tax deductibility may vary with fair market value as determined by IRS policies.

Closely Held Securities. Closely held securities, which include not only debt and equity positions in non-publicly traded companies but also interests in limited partnerships and limited liability companies, or other ownership forms, can be accepted. Such gifts, however, must be reviewed prior to acceptance to determine that:

  1. there are no restrictions on the security that would prevent Columbia Springs from ultimately converting it to cash; 

  2. the security is marketable;  

  3. the security will not generate any undesirable tax consequences for Columbia Springs and;

  4. there is no previously negotiated agreement to sell the stock to a particular party. 

If potential problems arise on initial review of the security, further review and recommendation by an outside professional may be sought before making a final decision on acceptance of the gift. The gift acceptance committee of Columbia Springs with the advice of legal counsel shall make the final determination on the acceptance of closely held securities when necessary. Every effort will be made to sell non-marketable securities as quickly as possible. 

Contact us for our stock broker information.

Real Estate

Gifts of real estate may include developed property, undeveloped property, forests, shorelines, or gifts subject to a prior life interest. Prior to acceptance of real estate, Columbia Springs shall require an initial environmental review of the property by an expert to ensure that the property has no environmental damage or potential liability. In the event the initial inspection reveals a potential problem, Columbia Springs shall retain a qualified inspection firm to conduct an environmental audit. Non-residential properties shall definitely require a Phase I audit. The cost of environmental audits shall be an expense of the donor. 

When appropriate, a title insurance binder shall be obtained by Columbia Springs prior to the acceptance of the real property gift. The cost of this title binder shall be an expense of the donor. Prior to acceptance of real property, the gift shall be approved by the gift acceptance committee with the advice of Columbia Springs’s legal counsel. Criteria for acceptance of the property shall include: 

  • Is the property useful for the purposes of Columbia Springs? 

  • Is the property marketable? 

  • Are there any restrictions, reservations, easements, or other limitations on Columbia Springs associated with the property? 

  • Are there carrying costs, which may include insurance, property taxes, mortgages, association fees, or notes, etc., associated with the property? 

  • Does the environmental audit reflect that the property is not damaged?  Is remediation necessary of the property worth the cost to Columbia Springs?

Bargain Sales

Columbia Springs will enter into a bargain sale arrangement in instances in which the bargain sale furthers the mission and purposes of Columbia Springs. All bargain sales must be reviewed and recommended by the gift acceptance committee and approved by the Board of Directors.

Factors used in determining the appropriateness of the transaction include: 

  • Columbia Springs must obtain an independent appraisal substantiating the value of the property. 

  • If Columbia Springs assumes debt with the property, the debt ratio must be less than 50% of the appraised market value. 

  • Columbia Springs must determine that it will use the property or alternately, that there is a market for sale of the property, allowing sale within 12 months of receipt. 

  • Columbia Springs must calculate and approve the costs to safeguard, insure, and pay expenses of the property (including property tax, if applicable) during the holding period. 

Tangible Personal Property

All other gifts of tangible personal property shall be examined in light of the following criteria: 

  • Does the property fulfill the mission of Columbia Springs? Will the property fulfill the mission of Columbia Springs for the next generations?

  • Is the property marketable?

  • Are there any undue restrictions on the use, display, or sale of the property? 

  • Are there any carrying costs for the property?

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Columbia Springs may accept designation as remainder beneficiary of a charitable remainder trust with the approval of the gift acceptance committee. Columbia Springs will not accept appointment as trustee of a charitable remainder trust. 

Life Insurance 

Columbia Springs will generally accept life insurance but it must be named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of an insurance policy before a life insurance policy can be recorded as a gift. The gift is valued at its interpolated terminal reserve value, or cash surrender value, upon receipt. Whether any policy is accepted will depend on the economics of the transfer.  If the donor contributes future premium payments, Columbia Springs will include the amount of the additional premium payment as a gift in the year that it is made. 

If the donor does not elect to continue to make gifts to cover premium payments on the life insurance policy, Columbia Springs may: 

  • continue to pay the premiums; 

  • convert the policy to paid up insurance; or 

  • surrender the policy for its current cash value. 

Oil, Gas, and Mineral Interests

Columbia Springs may accept oil and gas property interests, when appropriate. Prior to acceptance of an oil and gas interest the gift shall be approved by the gift acceptance committee with the advice of Columbia Springs’s legal counsel, if necessary. Criteria for acceptance of the property shall include: 

  • Gifts of surface rights should have a value of $20,000 or greater. 

  • Gifts of oil, gas, and mineral interests should generate at least $3,000 per year in royalties or other income (as determined by the average of the three years prior to the gift). 

  • The property should not have liabilities or other considerations that make receipt of the gift inappropriate 

  • A working interest is rarely accepted. A working interest may only be accepted where there is a plan to minimize potential liability and tax consequences. 

  • The property should undergo an environmental review to ensure that Columbia Springs will have no current or potential exposure to environmental liability. 

Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations

Donors and supporters of Columbia Springs will be encouraged to name Columbia Springs as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of their life insurance policies. Such designations shall not be recorded as gifts to Columbia Springs until such time as the gift is irrevocable. Where the gift is irrevocable, but is not due until a future date, the present value of that gift may be recorded at the time the gift becomes irrevocable. 

Charitable Lead Trusts

Columbia Springs may accept a designation as income beneficiary of a charitable lead trust. Columbia Springs will not accept an appointment as Trustee of a charitable lead trust. 

Forests, Shorelines and other items of Nature

Columbia Springs accepts donations of forests, shorelines and other items of nature. See "Real Estate" for more information on how to gift items of nature.

Bequests

Donors and supporters of Columbia Springs will be encouraged to make bequests to Columbia Springs under their wills and trusts. Such bequests will not be recorded as gifts to Columbia Springs until such time as the gift is irrevocable. When the gift is irrevocable, but is not due until a future date, the present value of that gift may be recorded at the time the gift becomes irrevocable. The criteria for the acceptance of the gift or bequest will be the same as otherwise provided herein.

Remainder Interests on Properties

Columbia Springs will accept a remainder interest in a personal residence, farm, forest, or vacation property subject to the provisions of paragraph 4 above. The donor or other occupants may continue to occupy the real property for the duration of their stated life or lives. Upon termination of the life interest, Columbia Springs may use the property or reduce it to cash. Where Columbia Springs receives a gift of a remainder interest, expenses for maintenance, real estate taxes, and any property indebtedness are to be paid by the donor or life tenant(s). 

Beneficiary Designations

Columbia Springs generally will accept gifts designating Columbia Springs as a beneficiary of the donor’s retirement plans including, but not limited to, IRA’s, 401(k)’s 403 (b)’s and other plans. Such designation will not be recorded as a gift to Columbia Springs until such time as the gift is irrevocable. When the gift is irrevocable, but is not due until a future date, the present value of that gift may be recorded at the time the gift becomes irrevocable. 

Use of Legal Counsel

Columbia Springs shall seek the advice of legal counsel in matters relating to acceptance of gifts when appropriate. Review by counsel is recommended for: 

1)  Closely held stock transfers subject to restrictions or buy-sell agreements. 

2)  Documents naming Columbia Springs as Trustee. 

3)  Gifts involving contracts, such as bargain sales or other documents requiring Columbia Springs to assume an obligation.

4)  Transactions with potential conflict of interest that may involve IRS sanctions. 

5)  Other instances in which use of counsel is deemed appropriate by the gift acceptance committee.  

Contact Executive Director, Maureen Montague, or Development Director, Jennifer, with questions.

 

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Columbia Springs strives to offer a unique setting and educational experiences that foster a greater awareness of the natural world and inspire stewardship.

 

We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity.
Our ID number is 91-2127405.

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