by Catherine Roberts, Member, UUCW Stewardship Team
This week I looked at the UUA website and want to share a few sentences about how challenging it can be to openly discuss money: Just as we expect each person to find his or her own path in spiritual development, we must each develop our balance of consumption, saving, and giving. However, as we expect to learn from one another about spirituality, we should also expect to learn from one another about financial responsibility. This exchange can only happen when we are much more open about money and how we use it. (from https://www.uua.org/leaderlab/learning-center/governance/polity/47009.shtml)
I don’t know about you, but I am challenged by this notion – exactly because it is difficult to talk about money. I want to be clear that this article is not about how much you decide to give to UUCW financially. UUCW is for everyone! Your belonging is blind to any financial pledge to or engagement with the church. We are extremely grateful to those of you who pledge and again grateful for those who are able to give, because this impacts our ability to support the many programs and, equally importantly, our wonderful staff who help make all the magic happen.
This is my first year on the stewardship committee and I’ve learned a lot from Dave Schowalter and Moira Rouse. As we reached the point when we contacted folks we had not heard from, I found these conversations personally meaningful. I was reminded that many of our long-time church members continue to be placebound, even as pandemic restrictions are lifting. I spoke to several folks who have reached the age of 72, when they are required to take a minimum distribution from their individual retirement accounts. Some have chosen to direct a portion of that required minimum distribution (RMD) to the church, which reduces the amount of their RMD that is taxable while supporting UUCW. Other people asked me how this works, so I researched it and want to share what I found with you here.
When you receive your RMD, it is taxable. You can direct money from your IRA to avoid taxes. This is considered a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) and will not be taxed (you can donate up to $100,000 per year, even if that exceeds your RMD).
Basically, it works like this:
- You determine how much of your RMD you want to donate to UUCW each year. Then email the UUCW Pledge Secretary () to request the church’s Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- You contact your investment company (Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, Merrill Lynch, etc.) and direct your QCD check to be sent directly to UUCW with your name on the memo line. Provide them this: UUCW, 90 Holden Street Worcester, MA 01606 and the EIN you got from the collector.
- This is not a pledge, and cannot be recorded as one in church records. It’s a QCD or “Qualified Charitable Distribution.” Once your financial company begins processing each payment, email the pledge secretary again to say a check is coming, so we will look for it.
- Receive and keep a transaction summary/receipt from the financial company. Request a receipt from UUCW if you do not receive one promptly. If you don’t hear from UUCW, follow-up because sometimes QCD checks arrive without your name on the memo line and we aren’t sure who to credit for the charitable gift. Save both receipts/statements for this distribution. You’ll need both if you get audited.
- When you file your taxes for the year, include your QCD gift on the relevant tax document.
To summarize, if you go this route, you are no longer making a PLEDGE to UUCW but rather making a QCD from your RMD. For budgeting purposes, it is helpful for the church to know you plan to give a gift from your RMD, so we hope you’ll tell anyone on the Stewardship team the amount you intend to give. It will help us with budgeting purposes, but does not count as a pledge.