Giving Communities

Always United

Help keep our mission alive
for generations to come.

Your support of our local United Way can continue long past retirement. Our Always United community offers flexible giving options from annual gifts to long-term planned gifts. This group also helps you stay involved through volunteer engagement and advocacy.

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Pledges are a great option if you are considering a larger gift and wish to establish a schedule of payments stretched over a period of months or years. Statements can be sent at regular intervals as requested. 

Annual gifts can be made in a variety of ways. The United Way team is available to consult with you about your preferred method and timing for your gift and can offer annual meetings and updates to touch base on the status of your contribution. 

If you want to support United Way without dipping into your cash reserves, consider donating appreciated assets such as stocks or real estate directly. This strategy can eliminate capital gains taxes you would incur by selling them separately before donating the cash, therefore ensuring that United Way receives the full value of the asset.

As you consider your yearly gift to United Way, all or a portion of your contribution can be distributed from your retirement plan assets. In order to donate retirement plan assets during your lifetime you would need to take a distribution from the retirement account, include the distribution in your income for that year, account for any taxes associated with the distribution and then contribute cash to the charity—with one exception.  

Depending on your age and current tax law you may be eligible to contribute from an IRA directly to a charity and avoid paying income taxes on the distribution. This is known as a qualified charitable distribution. It is limited to IRAs, and there are other exclusions and considerations as well. 

When you name United Way as a beneficiary to receive your IRA or other retirement assets upon your death, rather than donating retirement assets during your lifetime, the benefits multiply: 

  • Your heirs and estate will avoid paying income taxes on the distribution of the assets.
  • Your estate will need to include the value of the assets as part of the gross estate but will receive a tax deduction for the charitable contribution, which can be used to offset the estate taxes.
  • Because charities do not pay income tax, the full amount of your retirement account will directly benefit the charity of your choice.
  • It’s possible to divide your retirement assets between charities and heirs according to any percentages you choose.

Although designating any qualified charity as a beneficiary usually allows an estate to claim a charitable contribution deduction, naming a public charity with a donor-advised fund program as beneficiary of a tax-deferred retirement account such as an IRA or 401(k) gives clients and heirs more flexibility. A donor-advised fund is a program of a public charity that functions like a tax-advantaged charitable checking account that can be used solely for giving. 

Upon death, your IRA assets can fund the donor-advised fund, which can then be distributed to charities immediately or over time through an endowed giving program. Or, you can let a trusted friend or family member make the choice—a designated account successor can then make grant recommendations over time to the charities they would like to support. 

Alternatively, you can use your assets to provide multiple heirs with a fund to support their individual charitable giving by specifying that the IRA be allocated across multiple Giving Accounts. In that case, individuals will have their own Giving Account, creating a legacy of giving that can stretch far into the future. 

Fill out a designated beneficiary form through your employer or your plan administrator. Most banks and financial services firms also have beneficiary forms, or they can provide you with suggested language for naming beneficiaries to these accounts. 

Once the designated beneficiary forms are in place, the retirement assets will generally pass directly to your beneficiaries (including charities) without going through probate. If you are married, ask the plan administrator whether your spouse is required to consent. If required but not done, this could result in a disqualification of the charity as your beneficiary. 

Be clear about your wishes with your spouse, lawyer and any financial advisors, giving a copy of the completed beneficiary forms as necessary and notifying United Way of your decision. 

Including United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg in your will cements and celebrates your legacy of generosity and service to others by leaving a permanent mark as well as inspiring current and future generations through your example. You can easily add United Way to a new will or include a provision in an existing will through a codicil and make changes at any time, leaving a lasting legacy.

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Creating a will is one of the most impactful ways to support the people and causes you love, and everyone needs one. United Way has partnered with FreeWill to offer you a free and easy way to write your legal will today. In an effort to perpetuate their legacy, many individuals include a gift through their will to their local United Way. 

The service is free whether or not you choose to leave a gift. You can also use the tools found here to start your will and document your wishes before consulting with a legal advisor.

Stay Connected

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We have a variety of monthly newsletters highlighting our work and ways you can stay involved. Make sure your email is up to date by contacting us.


For information on Always United, contact Heather Farber, Director of Major Gifts.