Giving to the Pullman Foundation: Unique ways to make a difference

Marc Christman, board treasurer of the Pullman Foundation; and Cyrus Lau, Pullman Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign '21 at the annual Pullman Scholar Symposium

The new tax act passed in 2017 brought with it many changes to how you might file your taxes next year. This has led some to ask, “Will I still be able to deduct my charitable donations?”

Whether if you itemize your taxes or claim the standard deduction next year, there are unique ways in which you can maximize your giving. Last year, the Pullman Foundation reclassified its status with the IRS to become a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation. Not only does this classification mean that we are now committed to spending at least 85% of our annual budget on scholarships and educational support, but it also allows the Foundation to receive new types of gifts.

Below are a few popular options you may consider discussing with your accountant or financial planner. Feel free to email Patrick Murphy, the Foundation’s development and alumni relations director, to discuss more about any of the options below.



Memorialize your philanthropic interests and your legacy while providing for the next generation of Pullman Scholars by making a bequest to the Foundation for a specific amount or percentage of your estate. The Foundation recognizes bequest donors as part of the Foundation’s John H. Munger Planned Giving Society.


Donor-advised funds

Establishing a donor-advised fund may allow you to claim one large charitable gift deduction this year even though you advise annual gifts from your fund to support the Pullman Foundation over several years. Many funds can be established with as little as $5,000. If you already hold a donor-advised fund at a charitable trust (e.g. Fidelity, United Way, Schwab Charitable), please consider recommending grants from you fund to support the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation.


Charitable gift annuities

This type of donation is a way to make an extraordinary gift to support Pullman Scholars and receive a steady income for yourself or others for life. Learn more by contacting the Foundation office.


IRA charitable gift rollovers

Donors at least 70 ½ years of age can make a gift directly to the Foundation from their IRA without needing to claim the gift as taxable income. IRA charitable gift rollovers, up to $100,000, can be used to satisfy your annual minimum distribution. Whether if you itemize your taxes or claim the standard deduction, you can benefit from donating rollovers.


Retirement accounts and life insurance policies

Keep the American Dream on Track for today’s and future Pullman Scholars by naming the Pullman Foundation as a beneficiary of your 401(k), 403(b), IRA, other retirement account, or life insurance policy.


Stocks and securities

Savvy investors can maximize their philanthropy by donating gifts of appreciated securities. In addition to being able to claim a charitable gift deduction on donated stock, you avoid paying capital gains tax. Speak with your investor for more information.