Becoming A Legacy Donor



Many of us consider the importance of buying local and supporting community businesses; the same is true with giving to United Way of Marion County. Local volunteers govern the gift you make and ensure your donation stays in the community. I hope you will consider supporting United Way of Marion County and other organizations you have invested in during your lifetime by utilizing gifts of assets and bequests. Let the recipient organization know your intent when considering a gift of assets, estate beneficiaries or wills.  They will want to thank you and recognize your legacy and generosity while you can accept their gratitude.


Donors who may not be 70 ½ who support charities by dipping into their cash reserves should consider donating appreciated assets such as stocks or, in some cases, privately held business interests. When donating appreciated assets directly, you can eliminate capital gains taxes with the charity receiving the total value of the donation and the donor receiving the value of the gift as a charitable contribution, depending on their tax situation.  Donors can also make legacy gifts by naming a charity as a beneficiary in their life insurance policies, IRA, or 401(k). Once beneficiary forms are in place, the asset will pass directly to your assignee, including charities. Donors should always work with their financial advisory as tax laws change.


Estimations predict almost 3 million Americans will turn 70 this year.  These individuals worked hard to support their families, built businesses, served in the military, volunteered on community boards of directors, and helped many of our most incredible charitable organizations and their places of worship.  According to a 2021 report in the Wall Street Journal, "The greatest wealth transfer in modern history has begun." Many of these individuals are thinking about their families' future and legacy.  The Federal Reserve estimates that Americans in their 70s and older have a total net worth of about $35 trillion. It anticipates that by 2042, over $70 trillion will be transferred, with $9 trillion going to charitable organizations they supported during their lifetime.


Individuals of this generation often do not think of themselves as wealthy because they lived modestly and saved. People who are 70 ½ can contribute up to $100,000 from their IRA directly to charity and avoid paying income tax on the distribution. A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) is limited to IRA funds directed to a qualified charity. Charitable donations of retirement assets can minimize the taxes imposed on both their heirs and their estate. A donor should seek the advice of an investment/tax advisor to implement these strategies correctly.


United Way of Marion County encourages all donors to consider gifts of appreciated assets and the respective tax benefits when considering their support of our work in education, financial stability, and health.  When supporting United Way of Marion County, you can support local children and families in the following way:


      • As legacy donors and volunteers, you can impact our children needing reading mentors, giving them the opportunity for lifelong learning.  When we invest in our children, we invest in our future workforce and society. 


      • Strong Families Powered by United Way of Marion County is a foundational way of impacting generations.  When you support United Way of Marion County, you are a part of a group of donors annually helping 90 families begin their journey of breaking the cycle of generational poverty.  Strong Families graduates improve their income, increase their credit scores, decrease debt, and move from homelessness to sustainable housing. 


      • United Way of Marion County supports nutrition programs for seniors, needed dental services for children, and access to mental health treatment and prevention services.



I want to thank this generation of donors for their dedication to service.  If you want to learn more about United Way of Marion County and our impact, please visit our website or contact me, Robert Haight, at



*About the author, Robert Haight has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a master's degree in Social Science Administration.  He has worked in philanthropy and nonprofits for more than 40 years, assisting donors in making an impact with their charitable giving and volunteerism. He currently serves the United Way of Marion County as Vice President of Resource Development.