Gift planning has never been easier with our experienced team of trust and legal professionals. As both an extension of development offices and a liaison to charitably minded individuals and their advisors, we recognize the immediate and future benefits creative gift planning allows. Beginning with a careful review of your donors’ specific planning objectives, assets and tax considerations, HighGround structures a personalized gift plan that enables them to achieve their personal goals while generating the greatest impact for your organization and the other charities of their choice.


Gift Development

We work with nonprofit staff, charitably minded individuals and professional advisors to develop and implement planned gifts. Our goal is to enhance the capabilities of our clients by educating, encouraging, planning and executing gift planning solutions. Your objectives are met by providing creative solutions and guidance in all aspects of gift planning, including compliance, taxation, technical accounting and audit support.

Gift Administration

We offer full-service gift administration to meet the wide-ranging needs of nonprofit organizations and their donors. Our clients benefit from investments that are tailored specifically for each gift plan. They also benefit from detailed reporting available to the nonprofit organization, donors and trust beneficiaries. Each trust and gift annuity has a dedicated account administrator, resulting in first-class customer service. 

Gift Education

We empower our clients with the information needed to steward or guide donors to make wise charitable giving decisions. We educate them on the latest and most comprehensive giving solutions. We enhance their knowledge about investment and planned giving options through group training and one-on-one consultation.

Monitor Legislation

Our expert team of five in-house lawyers specializes in nonprofit law and legislation unique to tax-exempt organizations. We provide important protective guidance on state and federal compliance to our nonprofit clients.

Donor Relations

We create long-term relationships by working with charitable organizations, their donors and donors’ legal and financial advisors to create strategies and plans to best accomplish their planned giving objectives. We also work with development professionals to provide personalized service tailored to fit their needs as they work with their donors.

Technical Resource

We offer a range of technical resources to those considering planned gifts including gift planning and design, calculation of charitable tax deductions, unique investment strategies that suit the specific planned gift instrument, gift or trust administration and gift substantiation information for donors.

Gift Planning Vehicles

Charitable Remainder Trusts provide an excellent opportunity for individuals to participate with charities of their choice, while retaining an income stream from the gifted property for the duration of their lifetime or for a specified term of years. Remainder trusts can be funded with almost any asset and provide donors with an income tax deductible donation in the year the gift is made. Charitable remainder trusts have several payment options:

  • Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT): donor retains an income interest that is either a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage (no less than 5%) of the initial fair market value of the trust.
  • Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT): donor retains an income interest that is a fixed percentage (no less than 5%) of the trust assets as revalued annually. There are several variations to the unitrust payment that can benefit donors depending on the specific circumstances of the gift.

Gift of noncash assets, such as retirement plans, tangible property, life insurance or virtual currency, provide various giving strategies to donors. These giving solutions allow donors to increase their giving potential while maximizing tax benefits. When noncash assets are contributed to a charitable organization, often the full fair market value of the asset is tax deductible and capital gains tax are not incurred upon its sale.

A revocable trust is a giving arrangement that contains a provision stating it may be altered or canceled by the grantor. During the life of the trust, the earned income is distributed to the donor and transfers to the charitable beneficiaries upon death. While more costly than other giving vehicles, this option is appealing because it allows the donor to control the principal and can be cancelled.

Individuals are able to make a gift of cash or marketable securities through HighGround Advisors for the benefit of charitable causes using a contractual agreement known as a qualified charitable gift annuity. The donor is guaranteed a set amount - an annuity - for life, and also receives a current income tax charitable deduction. The amount of the annuity is based upon the age of the income beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Please be aware that charitable gift annuities are regulated at the state level. Therefore, the laws and regulations governing the issuance of charitable gift annuities vary from state to state. HighGround Advisors will provide you with state-specific information in compliance with the laws of your state prior to issuing any charitable gift annuity.

If an individual selects a Charitable Lead Trust, the donation provides an immediate income stream to the charitable organization of the donor's choice. At the conclusion of the trust's term, the trust amount will be returned to the donor or the donor's family members. Using a charitable lead trust, assets are transferred to the donor's trust and a charitable organization is named to receive the income stream for a term of years or a lifetime - commonly measured by the donor's life. Lead trusts can be funded with almost any asset. Depending on the remainder beneficiary, donors receive either a gift or income tax charitable deduction.

Making a gift of a house or farm while retaining a life estate allows a donor to receive an income tax charitable deduction while retaining the use of the property for the duration of his or her lifetime. To carry out this gift, the donor would transfer their property to HighGround Advisors for the benefit of the charitable cause selected, while retaining a life estate in the gifted property. This means the donor can continue to use the property throughout the donor's lifetime, and upon the donor's death, the property automatically passes to the selected charitable organization. The individual who retains a life estate is responsible for the insurance, taxes and maintenance of the property until death. The donor also receives an income tax charitable deduction in the year the gift is made.

A will is a straightforward method for donors to continue a legacy of stewardship to a charitable organization upon their death. HighGround Advisors cannot draft wills for donors who wish to contribute to our nonprofit clients because it would constitute a conflict of interest. However, our staff will work with donors' attorneys to provide comprehensive language regarding the charitable gifts they wish to make.

Retirement assets, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, typically account for a significant portion of an individual's worth. These plans, however, do not usually receive good tax treatment upon the owner's death. In some cases, the assets can even be taxed more than once. You can avoid the tax implications if your retirement assets are designated to charity, which bypasses estate and income taxes from being imposed. When you designate your retirement assets to charity, 100 percent of the proceeds can be used toward a cause that is important to you.

A private family foundation is established with a family's assets and run under their instruction, which allows the family to facilitate charitable gifts. This giving strategy provides income tax and estate tax benefits, while also avoiding capital gains tax. Families can pass the control of the gifts to future generations. HighGround can serve as the administrator and Chief Investment Officer for private foundations.

One of the fastest-growing and most flexible giving vehicles, a donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving account that is sponsored by a public charity (e.g. HighGround Advisors) and funded by a donor’s tax-deductible contributions of cash, stock, mutual funds or other assets. Contributions to a DAF have the potential to grow, tax-free, over time and donors retain the right to recommend grants from the DAF to eligible charities of their choice. 

A DAF is an excellent vehicle for donors who wish to maximize their charitable impact, give in a tax-advantageous way, and streamline the administration of their donations.

Gift Planning Experts

Joe Hancock
Vice President and General Counsel
Randy K. Dixon
Senior Associate General Counsel
Jennifer Babisak
Associate General Counsel
Tommy Choi
Associate General Counsel