How to Make a Gift
When you make a gift to the University of Southern California, you have tremendous flexibility in determining how the funds will be used, as well as many options for making your gift.
Unrestricted gifts are among the most valuable to USC, because they allow the university to allocate funds wherever the need is greatest, and to take advantage of unique opportunities as they arise. Your unrestricted contribution may be used to support costs associated with financial aid, innovations in teaching, research equipment, facilities, and much more.
Directed gifts allow you to designate your gift to a specific school or program, a support group, or a priority area at the university. When you make a directed gift to USC, you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a program that is personally meaningful to you.
You also have the option of designating your gift for current use or for endowment. Current-use gifts provide funds and flexibility over the short term, whereas endowment gifts provide security over the long term by expanding the university’s permanent financial base and creating a predictable source of future income for such things as endowed faculty positions, student scholarships or fellowships, broad-based interdisciplinary research projects, or even entire academic programs.
Types of Gifts
When you make an outright gift to USC, your contribution can be put to work immediately — either providing funding for current programs or creating a reliable source of future income by expanding the university’s endowment. An outright gift may be composed of almost any asset of value:
- Cash gifts — the simplest and easiest gifts you can make — can be made through credit/debit card transactions, outright cash, or personal checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders made payable to the University of Southern California. The university also has a wire account; please contact a development officer from the area you wish to support (see Development Contacts) for details about making a wire transfer to USC.
- Gifts of appreciated securities, stocks, and bondsalso provide considerable tax advantages when transferred to USC before they are sold. If you have held your securities for more than one year, you may find that your gift will provide a twofold tax benefit, creating an income-tax deduction as well as helping avoid the capital-gains tax that would have been due on their sale.If you wish to transfer stocks from a broker’s account:
- USC has accounts with major brokerage firms. Have your broker call the USC Investment Office for further details and information.
- If stocks are to be delivered by DTC to the university’s bank, contact the USC Investment Office to have delivery instructions faxed or e-mailed to your broker or financial advisor.
If you wish to make a gift of physical securities on hand:
- Physical stock certificates may be sent by certified mail or overnight express, with endorsement on the back of the certificate(s) exactly as stated on the face of the certificate(s). Do not fill in any other blanks. No stock power is necessary as long as you do not fill in the university’s name on the back.
You also may make a gift of mutual funds, non-marketable stock, or closely held stock. Contact the USC Investment Office for information about giving these types of securities.
USC’s address in connection with gifts of securities is:
- University of Southern California
- Investment Office, HSH 101
- 851 Downey Way
- Los Angeles, CA 90089-1055
- (213) 740-5413 or 740-5414
- (213) 740-6827 (fax)
- Gifts of real estate — including personal residences, second homes, income property, and vacant land — offer a wide variety of tax and other benefits. Whereas most people give their entire interest away, it is also possible to give only a portion of the property (an undivided percentage interest) while retaining the rest for other purposes.
- Gifts of personal property — including rare books, works of art, valuable collectibles, and tangible items of demonstrable value — in some cases may enable you to make a significant gift to support USC with outstanding tax benefits to you. Likewise, gifts of intangible personal property, such as copyrights, patents, and mineral rights, can generate income for the program of your choice on a continuing basis.
To learn about deferred or planned gifts, including bequests, life-income plans, and other options for your estate — and for information about increasing your income, earning valuable income-tax deductions, and reducing your estate taxes — please visit the USC Office of Planned Giving Web site.
An easy way to double or even triple your donation to USC is to find out if your company has a matching-gift program. Such programs typically match all or a percentage of employee contributions to charitable organizations, making the employer a partner in employees’ personal philanthropy. Simply obtain a matching-gift form from your employer’s personnel office, fill it out, and provide it to USC with your contribution.
USC welcomes your gift through a pledge — a formal statement of intention to make a gift to the university. With a pledge, you may complete your gift by making regular payments over time, allowing you to give more generously than you originally may have considered. What is more, each payment on your pledge is eligible for an income-tax charitable deduction.