Gift Acceptance Policy
Pacific Legal Foundation solicits and accepts gifts that help advance our mission and purpose.
All gifts are subject to review by PLF’s Gift Acceptance Committee (GAC) which includes PLF’s General Counsel and other individuals appointed by the President/CEO, in consultation with the Board of Trustees and/or outside legal counsel when appropriate. We will not accept any gift that would result in our violating our corporate charter or losing our status as an I.R.C. § 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
We urge all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters related to their gifts, including tax and estate planning consequences.
Types of Gifts Accepted
Cash – Donors may contribute cash in any form, including by check (payable to Pacific Legal Foundation), credit card, cash, money order, electronic, or wire transfer.
Securities – Donors may contribute marketable securities electronically to an account maintained at our brokerage firm or physically deliver them with the transferor’s endorsement attached. PLF will promptly sell marketable securities upon receipt unless otherwise directed by the GAC. The GAC will review all gifts of closely held securities prior to acceptance.
Bequest – Donors may name PLF as a beneficiary of their wills and/or trusts. The GAC will review all restricted bequests prior to acceptance. PLF allocates unrestricted bequests in accordance with the current policies approved by its Board of Trustees. PLF does not serve as executor or personal representative for donor estates.
Retirement Plan or Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation – Donors may name PLF as a beneficiary of their retirement plans or life insurance policies. We will record such designations as gifts only when they become irrevocable. When the gift is irrevocable, but not due until a future date, we may record the present value of that gift at the time it becomes irrevocable.
Charitable Gift Annuity – A charitable gift annuity is an irrevocable transfer by a donor of cash other property in exchange for PLF’s commitment to pay a fixed amount for the lifetime of one or two beneficiaries. We offer charitable gift annuities in accordance with the requirements set by the Board of Trustees regarding minimum age, minimum gift level, payment schedule, etc. At present, the minimum gift level we accept is $10,000 and we generally do not issue gift annuities where the actuarial life expectancy of the annuitant exceeds 20 years (65 and under as of this writing) but exceptions will be considered by the Board if recommended by the GAC.
Charitable Remainder Trust and Charitable Lead Trust – These irrevocable trusts provide for and maintain two sets of beneficiaries: the donor determines whether to donate an interest in either the income or the principal and retains the other. Donors may designate PLF as a beneficiary of a charitable remainder or lead trust, subject to the approval of the GAC. We are not able to accept appointment as a trustee of a charitable remainder or lead trust.
Tangible Personal Property – The GAC will review all gifts of tangible personal property (e.g., collections, vehicles, furniture, equipment, artwork, jewelry, software) prior to acceptance. The donor is generally responsible for any costs associated with appraisals as required.
Real Estate – The GAC will review all gifts of real estate prior to acceptance. Criteria for acceptance of real estate include its marketability; the existence of covenants, conditions, restrictions, reservations, easements, encumbrances, or other limitations associated with the property; carrying costs including insurances, taxes, mortgages, notes, etc.; maintenance expenses; and any potential costs revealed by an environmental audit. For any gift of real estate, PLF requires an initial environmental review by a qualified firm. The donor is generally responsible for any costs associated with conducting necessary due diligence, including but not limited to environmental audits, appraisals, title binders, etc. Life estates in residential real estate require a donor’s written agreement to maintain and pay taxes on the property during the donor’s residence and are subject to approval by the GAC.
In-Kind Contribution – The GAC may review in-kind contributions—including, but not limited to, pro bono or reduced-rate professional services—prior to acceptance.
Acknowledgement of Gifts
Gift Confirmation – PLF provides timely acknowledgment and proper substantiation of all contributions in accordance with IRS guidelines.
Gift Value – Except for gifts of cash and publicly traded securities, PLF does not ascribe any value on any receipt or other form of gift substantiation. Under IRS guidelines, the donor is responsible for determining the value of any gift other than cash or publicly traded securities.
Donor Restrictions – PLF accepts and prefers unrestricted contributions in support of our overall mission and programs. We may also accept contributions that donors have restricted (either temporarily or permanently) to specific programs or purposes, contingent upon approval by the GAC. PLF uses restricted gifts for purposes consistent with the donor’s interests and intentions.
Compensation – PLF does not compensate, whether through commissions, finders’ fees, or other means, any third party for directing a gift or a donor to the Foundation.
Executor/Representative – PLF does not serve as executor or personal representative for donor estates.
Review and Revision of Policies – The GAC will periodically review these policies to update them as necessary. The GAC must approve any changes to, or deviations from, these gift acceptance policies.
Comments or Questions
For more information, contact John M. Groen, PLF’s General Counsel, at JMGroen@pacificlegal.org or (916) 419-7111.