Philanthropy and Stewardship

Philanthropy and Stewardship

The Office of Philanthropy and Stewardship has several areas of focus:

Capital Campaign Services

New revenue to fund your church’s mission and ministry hopes may be accomplished through a capital campaign. The United Church of Christ Capital Campaign Services provides information, counsel, guidance, training and follow-up for a capital campaign or other major fundraising effort. For more information, please visit or contact the Church Building & Loan Fund at (866) 822-8224, extension 3834 for information.

Scholarships and Grants

The United Church of Christ provides scholarship and grant opportunities for ministerial preparation, higher education, continuing education for its authorized ministers, and for community outreach. For information on the variety of offerings please visit


The Stewardship Ministry offers resources to help grow generous giving and foster effective church finances to advance your church’s mission. Here you’ll find the annual stewardship campaign, electronic giving, best practices for handling money and much more, plus how to contact the Minister for Stewardship, Faith and Finance.



Current Gifts

We work with individuals who are interested in providing current support to the mission of conferences and national and global ministries. For more information: 800-846-6822 or See our Make a Gift page.

Planned Gifts

We work with individuals, churches and conferences to facilitate a variety of gifts which are planned and/or funded now, but whose benefit is not received by the Church until after the death of the donor(s). For more information: 800-846-6822 or

The types of Planned Gifts follow:

Wills and bequests
A properly executed Will or Living Trust is the only way to assure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, and is the most common way that deferred gifts to the Church are made. You can designate a percentage or a dollar amount, or direct that the Church receive the residual amount of your estate. A Will or Living Trust can also be used to set up life-income gifts that benefit heirs during their lifetimes, with the remaining principal constituting a gift to the Church. See Bequest Language.

Life-income gifts
Life-income gifts are those which pay you income for life, with the remaining principal paid to the UCC-related entity you designate. You receive a tax deduction for the charitable portion of the gift in the year the gift is made. Life-income gifts may significantly increase your spendable income. Such gifts may be established in a will for the benefit of heirs and ultimate benefit of the Church.

  • Charitable Gift Annuities
    A Gift Annuity's rate of return is based solely on your age at the time of the gift. Annuities may be funded with cash or appreciated securities, and provide fixed income payments for life to you and/or another person, successively. A significant portion of the income may be tax-free. You may defer income payments to a later date, such as retirement age, which may produce a substantial increase in the rate of return. Minimum gift is $1,000; current maximum is $138,000, based on the fair market value of the Gift Annuity Fund (contact Philanthropy and Stewardship for updates).

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
    Trusts may be funded with cash, securities or real estate and income payments may be fixed or flexible. The most common type, the Unitrust, is valued annually and the donor is paid a fixed percentage of the value over the following year. Minimum gift is $50,000.

  • Pooled Income Fund
    The Pooled Income Fund is like a mutual fund; it accepts gifts from many donors, manages them, and distributes each gift's portion of the earnings to the designated one or two life-income beneficiaries, successively. Minimum gift is $2,000.

Life insurance
The Church can be named as the beneficiary of your life insurance, or the policy itself can be donated to the church. If the policy is paid up, your tax deduction will generally be the replacement cost of the policy at the time it is donated.

Retirement assets
Retirement assets may be expensive for heirs to inherit. Naming the Church as the beneficiary of your retirement fund may provide a significant tax savings to your estate.

Charitable lead trust
This gift provides current income to the Church during your lifetime or for a specified term of years, after which the remaining principal is returned to you or your heirs. Payments to the Church may be fixed or variable, depending on the terms of the Trust. Minimum gift is $100,000.

The United Church of Christ Endowment Fund
The United Church of Christ Endowment Fund was established in 2003 to provide long-term financial support to the national and global ministries of the Church. Its function is to receive and administer temporarily restricted and unrestricted gifts from capital assets, and to distribute the financial return on investments for the support of the mission and ministry of the United Church of Christ. Permanent endowments - including named funds - may be established with gifts of $10,000 or more.

Methods of funding

Cash (all Outright and Planned Gifts)
Cash gifts provide an immediate and direct benefit to the Church, and are usually fully tax deductible by the donor, subject to IRS limits of 50% of Adjusted Gross Income.

Securities (all Outright and Planned Gifts)
Appreciated securities (those which have increased in value since they were purchased) are transferred to the United Church of Christ to avoid capital gain tax on the appreciation. Depreciated securities are sold by the donor so the loss may be deducted from on his/her tax return, and the cash proceeds are donated. Gifts of securities are generally tax deductible at fair market value if owned for longer than a year, in amounts up to 30% of Adjusted Gross Income.

Real Estate (some Outright and Planned Gifts)
Donation of real estate that has appreciated in value provides a charitable tax deduction for the appraised value of the property, and avoidance of capital-gains tax. As with appreciated securities, appreciated real estate must be transferred to the United Church of Christ, not sold by the donor.

How does it work?

First of all, we urge you to do your gift planning within the context of family and professional advisors; discuss your charitable goals with your family; consult your attorney, financial planner, accountant.

We provide the following:

  • Detailed information on each gift type
  • Bequest language
  • Instructions for stock transfer
  • Life-Income Gift illustrations
  • Gift Annuity Agreements (other life-income gift contracts are produced in conjunction with our Planned Giving attorney in Boston)
  • Documentation for income tax filing
  • Liaison with national and global ministries, and other UCC-related entities whose work you wish to support

The Office of Philanthropy and Stewardship does not offer legal, tax, or financial/estate planning services.

Please don't hesitate to contact us - we welcome your phone calls and e-mail!

"Gifts" for the giver

People choose to make charitable gifts for a variety or reasons, primary of which is a desire to support work they believe in. Giving also provides benefits to you, the donor. A gift to the Church may include some or all of the following:

  • Fulfillment of charitable goals
  • Charitable tax deduction
  • Avoidance or reduction of capital-gain tax
  • Income payments for life
  • Tax-free income
  • Reduction of federal estate tax
  • Expert investment management by the United Church Funds
    Socially responsible investment

The United Church of Christ is exceedingly grateful for the inspired generosity of its members and friends. You have provided millions of dollars to assure and enhance the mission and ministry of the United Church of Christ now and into the future. Your support is vital in continuing the work of the United Church of Christ in all its settings and the Office of Philanthropy and Stewardship Team is eager to assist you in developing financial resources for the mission and ministry dear to your heart! Contact us at (800) 846-6822 or


Contact Info

Cheryl Williams
Director Philanthropy & Stewardship
700 Prospect Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115