Beginning in 1994, Berks County Community Foundation has provided a straightforward, powerful, and highly personal approach to charitable giving. Our philosophy is simple  – improve our community by making philanthropy easy.

We offer:

  • Streamlined giving services for donors that make charitable giving easy, effective and enjoyable
  • Responsible and attentive management of charitable funds
  • Knowledge of our community and the nonprofit sector

Many people who consider establishing a private foundation or charitable trust discover that the Community Foundation is a more efficient, flexible and personal alternative.

There are many ways to give through the Community Foundation. Read on for more information, or feel free to contact us, or consult your financial advisor.

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Cash is the easiest way to contribute, whether by check, credit card or actual cash. Donors who make gifts of cash are eligible for a charitable deduction in the year the gift was made. You can make a credit card donation to any fund at Berks County Community Foundation or to our general operations.

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Please make checks payable to Berks County Community Foundation and note the fund name, if applicable, in the memo line. Mail checks to:

Berks County Community Foundation
237 Court Street
Reading, PA 19601

Publicly traded stocks owned for more than one year may be donated to the Community Foundation as a charitable gift. Donors are eligible for a tax deduction for the fair market value of the appreciated stock. By donating appreciated stock to the Community Foundation, you can avoid capital gains taxes that would otherwise occur at the sale of the stock.

A bequest is the most common form of planned giving. By including a charitable contribution in your will, you are able to make a gift that is simple, and in many cases larger than you could make during your lifetime. A bequest can take the form of a specific item (such as a home) or a specific amount of money, or may serve as a “residual bequest,” where the remainder of your assets become a gift after all other specific bequests have been paid out. Gifts made to charity by bequest are deducted from the donor’s federal estate tax. Guidelines for making a bequest are here.

You can use assets held in an individual retirement account (IRA), 401(k), 403(b) or similar account to start a fund at the Community Foundation at the time of your death. Retirement accounts, while very attractive from a tax standpoint during lifetime, are the most heavily taxed assets in an estate at death. To make a gift using retirement assets, you need to fill out a form with your retirement plan administrator designating the Community Foundation as the new beneficiary. There is no cost, and the beneficiary can be changed at any time.

You may make a deferred gift of life insurance to the Community Foundation in several ways. For example, you may make a gift of a life insurance policy by irrevocably designating the Community Foundation as the owner and beneficiary of the policy. Alternately, you may designate the Community Foundation as a percentage beneficiary of a life insurance policy you own.

When the Community Foundation is named the owner and beneficiary of a policy, it will retain the original policy in its offices. For policies in which premiums are still being paid, donors have the option of either paying the premium directly or making a contribution to the Community Foundation in the amount of the premium at least ten days prior to the premium due date.

Each method has different tax consequences and the donor should determine the best method for payment in consultation with his/her financial advisor. At the death of the donor, insurance proceeds, if $50,000 or greater, will be used to establish a permanent named fund. If the donor does not provide recommendations during his/her lifetime as to the eventual purpose of the fund, or if the face value of the policy is less than $50,000, it will be used for unrestricted purposes of the Community Foundation.

Charitable Remainder Trusts allow you to transfer assets to a trust, take an immediate tax deduction and receive an income for your lifetime. The size of the deduction varies with the age of the income beneficiaries.

Charitable Remainder Trusts are used to guarantee a retirement income while making a significant charitable gift. They usually require a minimum of $100,000 in initial contribution, though many banks have higher minimums if they are serving as a trustee. The donor may serve as the trustee of the trust if they choose, and in some cases, Berks County Community Foundation will be willing to serve as a trustee. For most people, a bank trust department or other corporate trustee is the best choice.

Residential property, commercial or industrial sites, and undeveloped land are attractive assets for charitable giving. You can contribute a piece of real estate, or a partial interest in a piece of real estate through Berks County Community Foundation Properties, Inc., a separate nonprofit corporation. Some donors chose to contribute property through BCCF Properties, Inc. while retaining the right to live there during their lifetime.

When you make a gift of property through BCCF Properties, Inc., you get an immediate tax deduction and can use the proceeds from the sale of the property to:

  • establish a charitable fund to support a cause you care about;
  • supplement an existing charitable fund;
  • help a nonprofit agency directly by making a lump-sum gift to them.

Donors are entitled to deduct the value of the asset, though the determination of that value may require independent assistance.

Virtually anything of value can be donated to charity. Boats, cars, artwork, even horses have been used to establish philanthropic legacies. There are special rules that apply to the donation of personal property, and you should discuss your plans with the Community Foundation ahead of time.

The needs of each donor are different, and these are only a few of the many ways that a charitable plan may be established. For more information, including a free consultation about your own planning, please contact Berks County Community Foundation at 610.685.2223 or via email at info@bccf.org.

The Community Foundation has partnered with the AmazonSmile Foundation, which donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. To participate, shop at Amazon Smile’s website at www.amazonsmile.com. The first time you shop through the link you’ll be asked to select a charity to support.

If you’d like to support the Community Foundation, this is our direct link to the program: Berks County Community Foundation’s Amazon Smile link.

Tip: Make it easier to donate by using the browser extension Smilematic, which will automatically redirect you to AmazonSmile whenever you shop at Amazon!

Statement regarding hand delivery of grant checks:

From time to time, individuals who created or serve as advisors to charitable funds at Berks County Community Foundation ask to hand-deliver checks to recipients. Please note that this is not permissible: All grant and scholarship distributions from funds at Berks County Community Foundation must be sent via electronic transfer, or mailed to the recipient from the Community Foundation via USPS, or, when necessary, a courier service.

Other information to note:

To determine the method, or mix of methods, that make the most sense for structuring a gift through Berks County Community Foundation, this information should be reviewed with a competent financial, tax or estate planner.

Berks County Community Foundation does not actively seek donations from outside of Pennsylvania. All information on this website related to seeking donations to Berks County Community Foundation is void where prohibited by law.

Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that develops, manages and distributes funds for charitable purposes in the community. The official registration and financial information of Berks County Community Foundation may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999.