Giving Navigation

Endowment Gifts


How can YOU help us make Scouting last forever?

For information regarding planned giving, please contact Stacey Dunphy at 815-397-0210 or

Read about all of our giving programs below and then find each application in this section:

Click here to support the Endowment and the various Endowment options

James E. West Fellowship

For gifts to local councils that are designated to a council endowment fund. There are four levels to James E. West Fellowship:

  • $1,000 Bronze Member Level
  • $5,000 Silver Member Level
  • $10,000 Gold Member Level
  • $15,000 Diamond Member Level

**All awards provided by the Blackhawk Area Council once the application and donation are received.

Become part of James E. West Fellowship:

James E. West Fellow Information and Application – YOU can help us make Scouting last forever!

Gifts at the $5,000, $10,000, and $15,000 levels may be cumulative. Also, individuals and corporations may designate these gifts in honor or memory of others. Lastly, you may add to your total gift level at any time.


Good Turn Society

All donors with new gifts of at least $25,000 are eligible for induction into the Good Turn Society at their lifetime cumulative giving level.

For more information on how to become a Good Turn Society member, please contact Sedrick Robinson ( or Alice Roby (

Other Gifting Options: Cash and Property Gifts, Annuities, Property, Wills and Bequests

The following will be a brief synopsis of each giving option. For full information, examples of calculating your taxes and return on the gift, please click the link for each category to go to our National Foundation website.

Securities and Other Assets

Starting in 2016, the opportunity to make tax free distributions to charity from your IRA is now permanent!

Donors age 70 ½ or older at the time of the distribution, may make distributions of up to $100,000 a year directly to charities and avoid paying any tax on the distributions.
Younger donors who do not qualify for the tax free IRA distributions may still make contributions from their IRA. They will be taxed on the withdrawal, but are entitled to a charitable tax deduction that often offsets the tax paid for the distribution.
Annual exclusion is now, $14,000 per year/per person and $28,000 for couples.
But please talk to your advisors – this may affect your tax bracket, it won’t work unless you itemize your deductions, etc.

As of 2016, the lifetime exclusion is $5,450,000 per person, during life OR through an estate without owing gift or estate taxes. A married couple may transfer unlimited amounts between them, and up to $10.9 million at any time to anyone else they want (e.g. children, grandchildren, etc). For over 99% of taxpayers, this eliminates concerns about owing estate taxes upon death, and reduces the need for trusts that are used solely to avoid transfer taxes.

Closely Held Stock

Often very highly appreciated in value (and expensive to sell), gifts of closely held stock offer the same tax advantages as a gift of common stock. In fact, some donors use these gifts as a way to indirectly transfer ownership to others such as family members, or regain control of the shares and establish a new cost basis for them. The advantages of closely held stock are similar to those of publicly traded stock gifts, but an appraisal may be required to establish market value of shares.

Stock Options
Stock options can be a valuable and often “painless” gifts to a local council, as you are giving away something you don’t actually own yet. But gifts of stock options can pose certain challenges. For example, gifts of stock options will not produce an immediate tax deduction. The value of the gift won’t be known until after the option is exercised: when it is, your deduction equals the difference between the option price and the stock value. In fact, some stock options may not be contributed, under the terms of the option. If considering such a gift, consult your governing option agreement and advisers.

Wills and Bequests

Click for BSA

A bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an advisor, you simply include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to Boy Scouts of America as part of your estate plan.  You can establish your legacy, and it remains revocable at any time during your life. For donors with taxable estates, charitable bequests are completely tax deductible when distributed. There are many types of bequests you can consider, including:

General—A designated amount of money, such as “$10,000.”
Specific—A certain item, such as “my 100 shares of IBM stock,” “my home at 123 Main Street,” “my original Norman Rockwell painting,” etc.
Percentage—A designated percentage of your estate, such as “10 percent.” This helps protect against inflation, reducing the value of your bequest.
Residuary—Gives Scouting all or a percentage of anything left after all general and specific bequests are satisfied.
Contingent Bequest—Only takes effect if another bequest fails, such as “If my father should predecease me, then this should go to the XYZ Council, BSA.”
Many donors establish “testamentary” charitable trusts in their wills. These are just like the “regular” annuity trusts or unitrusts—the only difference is they are funded or created in your will. Also, for donors who use living trusts, Scouting and other charities can easily be included in those.

Codicils – If you already have a will and want to make some simple changes, you can do so with a codicil. A codicil is a simple addition or amendment to an existing will. As with wills, codicils involve certain signing formalities and can be revoked or changed during your lifetime. But no matter what your charitable plans, make sure you have a valid will and regularly review it so it meets the changing needs of you and your family.

IRAs and Retirement Plans

Retirement fund assets can be one of the most significant assets left in an estate. Unfortunately, the gift of an IRA to a child or grandchild—or anyone other than a spouse or charity—can be one of the costliest gifts of all. Retirement funds given to children or grandchildren can be double taxed, or worse. The vast majority of an IRA could be eaten up by taxes, leaving only a fraction for your intended beneficiaries.

Estate Planning  Tip

Name a spouse or charity as a survivor beneficiary | The best way to deal with IRAs and other retirement assets in an estate plan is to name either a spouse or a charity (or both) as survivor beneficiary. Naming your local council as an alternate or contingent beneficiary of your retirement accounts is as simple as requesting a change-of-beneficiary form from your plan administrator. IRAs and other retirement accounts may also be used to fund a testamentary charitable trust.

Are you age 70 1/2 or older this year?  If so, there are special IRA gift opportunities for you.

Life Insurance

Do you have insurance policies no longer needed for their original purpose? Do you have a policy:

providing money for a spouse or children, who no longer need it?
covering a mortgage on a home or other property that’s now paid off?
covering educational expenses that no longer exist?
protecting a business you no longer own or that has other coverage at this point?
Donate a new or existing policy to Scouting and your tax deduction is about equal to the policy’s cash surrender value. | It may be beneficial to donate such policies and take the tax deduction. In general, you can also deduct any annual amounts paid to keep the policy in effect.

Income Generating Gifts

Gift Annuities

A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract between a donor and the BSA. In exchange for a gift, the BSA agrees to make payments to the donor or others chosen by the donor. These payments are made for life, to one or two individuals, and guaranteed by the general assets of the Boy Scouts of America. The donor also receives an income tax charitable deduction.

The gift may be of cash, stocks, bonds, or shares in a mutual fund. The minimum gift required to receive a charitable gift annuity from the BSA is $10,000. You cannot add to a charitable gift annuity once it is made, but you may set up as many as you wish. The donor may choose anyone to receive quarterly payments for life, though all beneficiaries must be at least 60 years of age at the time of the contract. Most donors select themselves and/or a spouse to receive the payments. The annual payout amount depends on the age of the beneficiaries. The older the beneficiary, the larger his or her payment. As of 2016, the gift annuity rates range from 4.4 percent to 9 percent for beneficiaries between the ages 60 and 90. Part of each payment is taxable income, but part of each payment is often tax-free as a partial return of principal. This may increase the effective rate of return, depending on your tax bracket and the cost basis of your gift.

At the end of the gift annuity term (the lifetime of the payment recipient(s)), the remaining value of the original gift is removed from the gift annuity fund and given to the council chosen by the donor. Charitable gift annuities are handled through the Charitable Gift Annuity Program at the BSA National Service Center; this relieves local councils from administrative burdens, state filings, and fees.

After making your gift to The Boy Scouts of America National Foundation, you receive a fixed annual dollar amount for life, along with an income tax deduction. The principal remaining at your death then passes on to The Boy Scouts of America National Foundation.

Deferred Gift Annuities

Some donors set up a gift annuity —to get the income tax deduction now—but defer the start of the payments until a later time. Payments may be deferred for as long as the donor wants. The annuity is often larger for deferred gift annuities. This strategy may be useful for donors currently in a high income bracket and planning for retirement. Unlike IRAs and other retirement alternatives with contribution limits, there is no limit as to how much you can place in a deferred gift annuity.

Charitable Lead Trusts

This option helps you avoid the heavy gift and estate tax burdens incurred by directly transferring property to family members. Unlike the other trust options, a lead trust pays income to The Boy Scouts of America National Foundation from the start for a specified term of years, and the principal eventually reverts back to you or other non-charitable beneficiaries. Under certain conditions, the lead trust will generate an immediate income tax deduction.

Some think of a lead trust as a partnership between themselves and a charity. Some see it as a “mirror image” of a charitable remainder trust. To others, it is a loan to charity. But most people agree that the lead trust is a great way to make a significant gift to Scouting using funds that eventually will return to you or your loved ones. It’s also a great way to pass assets to your loved ones at very little cost.

Your assets are placed in a lead trust for a period you choose—either a number of years or measured by someone’s lifetime. During this period, the income is paid to the council of your choice (and you determine how much that will be). Trust earnings not needed for income are accumulated in the trust principal. At the end of the trust, the principal (and any growth) is distributed either to the donor or to anyone selected by the donor—tax free. Tax deductions are largely determined by three factors: who eventually receives the principal, the term of the trust, and the annual payout. In general, if the trust returns to the donor, an income tax deduction is available. If the trust goes to someone other than the donor, only a gift tax deduction is available.