Smart Giving From Your IRA

Save Taxes and Help the University of Pittsburgh Today and in the Future

med student in front of school of med Today

If you’re at least 59½ years old:

You can make a distribution from your IRA directly to the University of Pittsburgh without penalty. If you itemize your deductions, you can take a charitable deduction for the amount of your gift.

A special opportunity for those 70½ years old or older:

You can take advantage of a simple way to benefit Pitt and receive tax benefits in return. You can give up to $100,000 per year from your IRA directly to the University without paying income taxes on the money. This popular gift option is commonly called the IRA charitable rollover, but you may also see it referred to as a qualified charitable distribution—or QCD for short. Learn more about this type of gift.

For those over the age of 72:

A QCD is an excellent way to satisfy your required minimum distribution (RMD). Distributions made directly to the University of Pittsburgh do not count as income, and as such, are not subject to federal income taxes.

Please alert us at or by phone (+1-888-353-9604) before making a gift from your IRA so that we properly credit and apply your gift according to your desires.

Why Consider This Gift?

  • A distribution from your IRA would be put to use today, allowing you to see the difference your donation is making.
  • You pay no income taxes on the gift distribution from your IRA. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions.
  • Since a distribution directly to Pitt doesn’t count as income, it can reduce your annual income level. This may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.

In the Future

Did you know you can designate the University of Pittsburgh as the beneficiary of all or a percentage of your IRA and it will pass to Pitt tax-free after your lifetime? It's simple, just contact your IRA administrator or search your provider’s website for a change-of-beneficiary form. Many administrators allow you to do it all online. Then you notify us so we can make sure the gift is properly directed to the fund of your choosing. Learn more about this type of gift.

IRA Chart

Frequently Asked Questions

I've already named the University of Pittsburgh as the beneficiary of my IRA. What are the benefits if I make a gift now instead of after my lifetime?

By making a gift this year of any amount up to $100,000 from your IRA, you can see your philanthropic dollars at work. You are jump-starting the legacy you would like to leave and giving yourself the joy of watching your philanthropy take shape. Moreover, you can fulfill any outstanding pledge you may have made by transferring that amount from your IRA as long as it is $100,000 or less for the year.

I'm turning age 70½ in a few months. Can I make this gift now?

No. The legislation requires you to reach age 70½ by the date you make the gift.

I have several retirement accounts—some are pensions and some are IRAs. Does it matter which retirement account I use?

Yes. Your gift to a qualified charity can be made only from an IRA. Under certain circumstances, however, you may be able to roll assets from a pension, profit sharing, 401(k), or 403(b) plan into an IRA and then make the transfer from the IRA directly to the University of Pittsburgh. To determine if a rollover to an IRA is available for your plan, speak with your plan administrator.

Can my gift be used as my required minimum distribution (RMD) under the law?

Yes, absolutely. If you reached the age of 70½ on or before Dec. 31, 2019, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution for the year. If you turn 70½ on or after Jan. 1, 2020, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution starting at the age of 72. Contact your IRA custodian to complete the gift. (Note: The RMD requirement has been waived for 2020, per the CARES Act.)

When do I need to make my gift?

We must receive your gift by Dec. 31 for your donation to qualify this year. If you have check-writing privileges on your IRA, please mail your check by Dec. 18 in order to give us time to process your gift before the end of the year.

Do I need to give my entire IRA to be eligible for the tax benefits?

No. You can give any amount under this provision, as long as it is $100,000 or less per year. If your IRA is valued at more than $100,000, you can transfer a portion of it to fund a charitable gift.

I have two charities I want to support. Can I give $100,000 from my IRA to each?

No. Under the law, you can give a maximum of $100,000 per year. For example, you can give each organization $50,000 this year or any other combination that totals $100,000 or less. Any amount of more than $100,000 in one year must be reported as taxable income.

My spouse and I would like to give more than $100,000. How can we do that?

If you have a spouse (as defined by the IRS) who is 70½ or older and has an IRA, they can also give any amount up to $100,000 from their IRA.

Can I use the transfers to fund life-income gifts such as charitable remainder trusts or charitable gift annuities?

Unfortunately, the law does not allow a lifetime gift made directly from your IRA to fund a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity.

Should I alert you before making a gift using my IRA?

Depending on your IRA administrator and your gift intention, we might need additional information before we can process your gift and honor your gift intention. If we do not know the gift is coming, sometimes an administrator sends a check to Pitt with little or no information regarding the donor, which makes it difficult to properly credit and thank you.

Gifts That Pay

Your payments depend on your age at the time of the donation. If you are younger than 60, we recommend that you learn more about your options and download this complimentary guide Deferred Gift Annuities: Plan Now, Benefit Later.

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Next Steps

  1. Contact us for additional information on making a gift from your IRA.
  2. Download the factsheet.
  3. Seek the advice of your financial or legal advisor.
  4. Ask your IRA administrator about making a direct transfer to the University of Pittsburgh or have the administrator send a check from your account to us. (To be tax-free, the donation must go directly from your account to the University of Pittsburgh without passing through your hands.)

Legal name: University of Pittsburgh of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education
Address: 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Federal tax ID number: 25-0965591