Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Giving Fund a donor-advised fund? What does that mean?

Yes, a Giving Fund is a donor-advised fund. A donor-advised fund is a tax-smart and easy way to give. Instead of giving to charities one at a time or starting a costly private foundation, you make a contribution to TIAA Charitable (it's an irrevocable contribution and may be eligible for a current year tax deduction) and we establish a Giving Fund account in your name. The money is invested and any growth is tax free. You then advise us on the charities you want to support. We’ll do the rest. The goal is to help you simplify your paperwork, benefit from advantageous tax treatment, and give your charitable contributions the potential to grow – all so that you can make a bigger impact with your giving.

Why should I open a Giving Fund?

A Giving Fund is a tax-smart and easy way to give. Donor-advised funds benefit from favorable tax treatment. If you itemize, you may be eligible for an immediate tax deduction. Contributions of long-term appreciated securities are not subject to capital gains tax. Any investment growth in your Giving Fund is tax free. All of which could mean more money to give to charity. By centralizing your giving in one place and with the help of our online tracking tools, a Giving Fund also helps you establish and track your personal giving goals so that you can make a bigger impact. Finally, a Giving Fund simplifies your paperwork. No more writing checks or making multiple securities transfers to all those different charities. You give to TIAA Charitable and then schedule your grants to charity online. We take care of the rest.

Does a Giving Fund offer tax benefits?

Yes, a Giving Fund can offer compelling tax advantages. By supporting your charities through a Giving Fund, you may be eligible for an immediate tax deduction for the full fair market value of your contribution. Let’s say you have a particularly high-income year or hold some long-term, highly-appreciated securities (like stocks). You can make the contribution and, if you decide to itemize, you may be eligible to receive a tax deduction for the year of the contribution, which may be the year you need it most. If you contribute long-term appreciated securities directly to your Giving Fund, you may avoid capital gains taxes with respect to those securities, making the full value of your contribution available for charitable purposes.

Can I donate to any U.S.-based charity through my Giving Fund?

TIAA Charitable accepts grant recommendations for most charities that the IRS has classified as 501(c)(3) public charities.¹ Almost two million charities are eligible. If you don’t see your favorite charity listed in our search tool, contact us – many charities have legal names you might not recognize and others may not be officially listed yet but are eligible for tax-deductible contributions.

We do not accept or process grants to Type III supporting organizations as defined under Section 509(a)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or to private foundations.

 

Can I donate to foreign charities through my Giving Fund?

No. At this time, TIAA Charitable only accepts grant recommendations to IRS-qualified U.S. public charities.¹ You may support international causes through international charities that have been classified by the IRS as public charities that perform international work or serve as "friends of" organizations for overseas charities.

Can I donate complex assets through my Giving Fund?

Yes. TIAA Charitable accepts certain complex assets including real estate, C-corp stock, LLC and limited partnership interests, and life insurance policies. All contributions are subject to review and approval.

If you're interested in donating a complex asset, please call us at 800-392-4420 to discuss your specific situation.

Can I move funds from a donor-advised fund I have with another organization into my Giving Fund?

Yes, you can typically transfer funds from one donor-advised fund to another. Simply contact your current donor-advised fund provider and recommend a grant to TIAA Charitable.

 

Can I donate my required minimum distribution (RMD) from my IRA to my Giving Fund?

Federal tax rule generally requires you begin to withdraw money annually from your tax-deferred
retirement accounts, such as employer-sponsored retirement plans or IRAs, when you turn 70½.
This is known as a required minimum distribution (RMD). You can donate up to $100,000 of your RMD tax-free to a qualified charity from an IRA (no other type of retirement account is eligible), an option known as a qualified charitable distribution (QCD).

Under current law, a distribution to a donor-advised fund, including TIAA Charitable, does not qualify as a QCD. You can, however, donate the cash you receive as your RMD from your IRA (or from any other retirement plan) to your Giving Fund and the charitable contribution deduction may reduce your taxes if you itemize by reducing your adjusted gross income.

As with any tax issue, consult your tax advisor for guidance on your particular situation.

Can I donate my required minimum distribution (RMD) from my 403(b) or 401(k) to my Giving Fund?

If you are 70½ or older and have an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as 403(b) or 401(k), the government requires you begin to withdraw money annually. This is known as a required minimum distribution (RMD). You can donate the cash you receive as your RMD from your retirement plan to your Giving Fund. The charitable contribution deduction may reduce your taxes if you itemize by reducing your adjusted gross income.

TIAA Charitable recommends you consult your tax advisor and plan administrator for guidance on your individual situation.

Do you offer any socially responsible investment options?

Yes, TIAA Charitable offers socially responsible funds to help you align your Giving Fund with your values. You may advise how your contributions are invested among our five socially responsible (SRI) options, as well as a low-carbon fund under our Flex options. See our investment approaches for details.

Who can open a Giving Fund?

TIAA Charitable accepts Giving Fund applications from individuals, families, estates, social groups, corporations and other entities.

What does "recommend a grant" mean?

When donors open and contribute to a TIAA Charitable Giving Fund, the contribution is an irrevocable gift to TIAA Charitable, a charity, and all assets are legally owned exclusively by TIAA Charitable. Donors receive written confirmation of the donation, which may be used for tax purposes. To encourage giving, TIAA Charitable allows donors to retain the right to recommend that amounts in their Giving Fund be distributed to their ultimate charity of choice, provided that their ultimate charity of choice is an eligible grantee. We call this recommending a grant - donors recommend grants rather than “make" or "give” them because they no longer own the assets, and all grants are reviewed and approved by the legal owner of the assets, TIAA Charitable.

How do I involve my children or grandchildren with my Giving Fund?

Your Giving Fund is a meaningful and empowering way to teach the kids in your life about giving back while doing something together as a family. Encourage them to research the charities and causes they're interested in on their own, and when they find something they're passionate about, help them make a grant recommendation. 

Learn more about how to involve the whole family, including your adult children, and other ways to use your Giving Fund by visiting our Ways to Use section.

How do I reset my Giving Fund online profile password or retrieve my username?

Forgot your username or password? No problem! You can easily retrieve them online.

Visit the Giving Fund login page page and select the "Forgot your Username?" link below the username box or the "Forgot your Password?" link below the password box. You will be asked to enter the email address associated with your profile and then to answer your security question. Upon correctly answering your security question, you will receive an email with your username or an email with a link to reset your password.

If you need assistance, please call us at 800-392-4420. Our business hours are Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. -  10 p.m. (ET) and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (ET).

How do I register for online access if I already have a Giving Fund?

If you need to register for online access, please call us. We will be happy to email you a login request so that you can start using your Giving Center and managing your giving online.

We can be reached at 800-392-4420, Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET).

Getting Started is Simple

Open your Giving Fund today and start making a bigger difference.

Or, call us and talk to one of our specialists.

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¹A complete description of eligible charities can be found in the Program Circular.

Contributions to the Giving Fund are irrevocable. All recommendations from donors are subject to review and approval by TIAA Charitable.

TIAA Charitable does not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

TIAA Charitable is the brand name for an independent public charity that maintains a donor-advised fund program. The TIAA name is a registered mark of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and is used by TIAA Charitable pursuant to a license.

TIAA Charitable, Inc. has been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt public charity under Sections 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).