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Good Counsel

The benefits of charitable gift annuities

By Carol Kersten, Philanthropic Advisor, Stanford Medicine 

During her lifetime, Marion Shikamura Osborne, ’51, MA ’52, MD ’56, who is featured in the Spring 2023 issue of Remember Stanford, established 12 charitable gift annuities at Stanford, knowing that her gifts would support future undergrads and medical students. I had the honor of working with Marion, and witnessing firsthand her satisfaction with knowing how these gifts would carry out her commitment to education and research. 

What is a charitable gift annuity? In the simplest terms, it is an arrangement where, in exchange for an outright gift, Stanford provides fixed annual payments to the donor, or someone they designate, for their lifetime. The donor is entitled to an immediate charitable income tax deduction for a portion of the gift, and the donor's gift will support Stanford when they pass away.

Establishing a charitable gift annuity at Stanford can be a relatively straightforward process:

  • You and Stanford sign a charitable gift annuity contract. In exchange for your gift of cash or publicly traded securities (minimum $20,000), Stanford agrees to make fixed annual payments to you, or someone you designate, for life. 

  • You designate how the remaining funds will be used at Stanford after your lifetime.

Your benefits may include:  

  • An immediate charitable income tax deduction for a portion of the gift.

  • Lifetime payments backed by Stanford’s assets, which may even include tax-free income for a period of time.

  • For gifts of long-term appreciated securities, possible avoidance or deferral of recognition of capital gains with potential savings as a result.

If you create a charitable gift annuity with Stanford, you will be welcomed as a member of Stanford’s Founding Grant Society, a legacy society which honors those who have made a planned gift to the university. 

Most nonprofits, including Stanford, use the payout rates suggested by the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA). These rates vary depending on the age of the annuitant and other factors. For example, if John, who is 75 years old, makes a gift of $100,000 to establish a charitable gift annuity for himself as the annuitant, he will receive an annual payment of $6,660 based on current rates (6.6 percent of $100,000; rates are subject to change).

My colleagues and I would be happy to work with you and your advisors to help you consider whether a Stanford charitable gift annuity or other type of life income gift is right for you. To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at (650) 725-4358.


This is not legal advice. As always, we recommend you discuss any life income gifts with your professional advisors. California residents: Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. Stanford is unable to offer gift annuities to residents in certain states. If you live outside of California, please contact the Office of Planned Giving for information.