Did you know that GW accepts gifts of real estate? Consider gifting a personal residence, vacation home, farm, commercial property, or undeveloped land. Such a generous gift helps us continue our work for years to come, while also helping you. When you give the George Washington University appreciated property you have held longer than one year, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction and you may minimize or eliminate capital gains tax. Additionally, you no longer have to deal with that property's maintenance costs, property taxes, or insurance.

Another benefit: You don't have to hassle with selling the real estate. You can deed the property directly to GW or ask your attorney to add a few sentences in your will or trust agreement.

Ways to Give Real Estate

You can give real estate to GW in the following ways:

An outright gift+

When you make a gift today of real estate you have owned longer than one year, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction equal to the property's full fair market value. This deduction lets you reduce the cost of making the gift and frees cash that otherwise would have been used to pay taxes. By donating the property to the George Washington University, you also eliminate capital gains tax on its appreciation.

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A gift in your will or living trust+

A gift of real estate through your will or living trust allows you the ability to support our work with a significant asset, while retaining flexibility if your circumstances change.

A retained life estate+

Perhaps you like the tax advantages a gift of real estate to our organization would offer, but you want to continue living in your personal residence for your lifetime. You can transfer your personal residence or farm to GW but keep the right to occupy (or rent out) the home for the rest of your life. You continue to pay real estate taxes, insurance, and all associated maintenance fees on the property. Even though GW would not actually take possession of the residence until after your lifetime, since your gift cannot be revoked, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction for a portion of your home's value.

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A deferred charitable gift annuity+

Are you tired of the hassles of maintaining your property such as paying taxes, utilities, and repair bills? Consider donating the property to GW in exchange for reliable payments for life for you (and someone else, if you choose). When you arrange a charitable gift annuity, you receive a federal income tax charitable deduction in the year you set up the gift annuity when you itemize on your taxes. If you use appreciated real estate to make a gift, you can usually eliminate capital gains tax on a portion of the gift and spread the rest of the gain over your life expectancy. A gift of unmortgaged property to fund a deferred gift annuity is preferable and generates the greatest tax benefit.

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A bargain sale+

When you make a bargain sale, you sell your property to our organization for less than what it is worth. The difference between the actual value and the sale price is considered a gift to GW. A bargain sale can be an effective way to dispose of property that has increased in value, and it is the only gift that can give you a lump sum of cash and a charitable deduction (when you itemize) at the same time.

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A charitable remainder unitrust+

You can contribute any type of appreciated real estate you have owned for more than one year, provided it is unmortgaged, in exchange for an income stream for life or a term of up to 20 years. The donated property may be a residence (a personal residence must be vacant upon contribution), undeveloped land, a farm, or commercial property. Real estate works well with only certain variations of charitable remainder trusts. Your estate planning attorney, who will draft your trust, can give you more details.

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A charitable lead trust+

This gift can be a wonderful way for you to benefit GW and simultaneously transfer appreciated real estate to your family tax-free. You should consider funding the charitable lead trust with real estate that is income-producing and expected to increase in value over the term of the trust.

A memorial or endowed gift+

A gift of real estate may be a perfect way to honor your loved one in perpetuity. When you make an endowed gift of real estate, your contribution is invested with and becomes part of our endowment. An annual distribution is made for the purpose you designate. Because the principal remains intact, the fund will generate support in perpetuity.

A donor advised fund+

When you transfer real estate to your donor advised fund, you avoid capital gains taxes and qualify for a federal income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the property when you itemize your taxes.

Make a Gift Today

Learn more about the many ways to use real estate to support the George Washington University in the FREE guide Ways to Donate Real Estate.

Why I Gave Real Estate: James King

donated houseProfessor Emeritus of German, double GW alum, and long-term GW Libraries Development Board Member James King has been an active member of the GW community since the 1940s. In 1995, he established a library acquisition fund at the Gelman Library that would support the purchase of printed books and digital resources in the arts and sciences.

"Access to library resources has been indispensable to me in my academic development, lecturing, and medieval research," King says. "I champion published material, whether printed and bound or digital."

King will support the fund through four charitable gift annuities and the sale of his residence to the university. He praises the ease of the process, which only took him 65 days, and would recommend real estate as a gift for anyone who wants to make a difference at GW.

Read more about Professor King's gift.


Why I Gave a Legacy Gift: Shannon Mouton Gray, MVC BA '90

Personal Estate Planning Kit

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This comprehensive estate planning kit will help you protect loved ones, organize resources in one place and save on taxes.

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Next Steps

  1. Contact Adam Lewis at 202-994-7657 or aslewis@gwu.edu to discuss the possibility of giving real estate to GW.
  2. Seek the advice of your financial or legal advisor to make sure this gift fits your goals.
  3. If you include GW in your plans, please use our legal name and federal tax ID, and let us know so we can welcome you to the GW Heritage Society.

Legal name: the George Washington University
Address: 1922 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20052
Federal tax ID number: 53-0196584

University Review

Prior to acceptance of each potential gift of real estate, the university’s Gift Acceptance Committee reviews the administrative and financial costs, liabilities, and benefits of the gift. This review assures the George Washington University Board of Trustees that the gift advances the university’s mission and values and that it is financially sound.