Asset-Based Giving

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod   •   Mission Advancement

Contributing using an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Under federal law, individuals age 70½ or older who own traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are required to take an annual, minimum distribution.

Are you aware that you may redirect some or all of that required minimum distribution (RMD), up to $100,000 annually, and possibly enhance your standard deduction while preserving more liquid assets for other, equally important uses?

The LCMS joyfully receives IRA gifts that can send missionaries, fund national and international mission work, prepare and care for church workers, and carry out other aspects of our Lord’s mission.

To learn more about making an IRA charitable distribution to support the LCMS work you care most about, contact either LCMS Mission Advancement (, 888-930-4438) or the LCMS Foundation (, 800-325-7912).


Mobius Wherever you see this symbol on our website, the opportunity exists to endow your support — your values — either in perpetuity or for a pre-selected number of years, leaving a lasting and meaningful witness about the work that is an important focus of your Christian stewardship.

Establishing an endowment (perpetual or multi-year gift)

Endowments aren’t just for colleges and universities. Even congregations can benefit from establishing an endowment fund.

An endowment, given during your lifetime or as part of your Christian estate plan, gives witness to your faith and provides an annual gift to the work you care about most — even after the Lord calls you to our real home with Him.

Endowments are easy to establish with assistance from LCMS Mission Advancement and the LCMS Foundation. A formal document ensures your wishes will be honored, and prudent management of your gift is practiced.

Here’s how an endowment works:

John creates an endowment with the LCMS or the LCMS Foundation through a special endowment agreement. His desire is to provide annual, ongoing support for official LCMS called or appointed missionaries.

He funds the endowment through a combination of appreciated stock and cash, over a period of time, for a total of $100,000. Those dollars are not spent; rather, the LCMS Foundation wisely invests them to earn annual interest that is put back into the endowment fund.

Then 4 percent of the balance of the fund is “released” as the annual gift to support the LCMS mission work John created the fund to support.

If John’s endowment earned 7 percent over the year, the first 4 percent is released as a gift for missionary support. The remaining 3 percent stays in the endowment to offset the effects of inflation over time.

The following year, the balance is $103,500, and it earns additional returns to make the next gift and offset the cost of inflation.

The LCMS Foundation prudently manages both the investment and the release rate to ensure John’s endowment can continue to fund LCMS missionaries.

And John, his family and his descendants can add gifts to the endowment fund at any time.

Even after the Lord decides to bring John to our real home with Him, the endowment John established continues to support missionaries, just as John did during his life on this earth.

Other contributors and groups may establish endowments to support disaster response/relief, our Synod’s works of mercy, pastoral education, the care of our workers or whatever matters most to that contributor.

Each person’s interests and charitable goals can be incorporated into an endowment to fulfill our Lord’s ONE mission to make Christian disciples for life.

Endowments can also be established at the direction of the contributor working with other investment managers, such as Legacy Deo (the foundation of the LCMS Texas District) or Thrivent Financial/In Faith Community Foundation.

To begin a conversation about establishing an endowment, contact LCMS Mission Advancement (, 888-930-4438) or visit the LCMS International Center in St. Louis.


Giving through a donor-advised fund

A donor-advised fund (DAF) can be a powerful philanthropic tool in the hands of anyone committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. It allows an individual, couple or family to make charitable gifts while maximizing potential tax benefits.

Distributions out of a DAF can be made at the time of the donor’s choosing, in the amount of their choosing, to do the work they care most about (disaster relief, missionary support, pastoral formation, church planting, etc.). The benefits of a donor-advised fund go well beyond timing, taxes and impact.

View the LCMS Foundation’s FAQ about donor-advised funds.

To learn more, contact LCMS Mission Advancement (, 888-930-4438) or the LCMS Foundation (800-248-1930) and ask to speak with a specialist in the area of donor-advised funds.

If you have already established a DAF and wish to make a distribution to support God’s mission through the LCMS, contact Mission Advancement for guidance.


Using stock and other non-cash assets

There are situations in which making a donation using non-cash assets carries more benefits than giving out of cash flow. Examples of non-cash assets include:

  • Appreciated stock
  • Depreciated stock
  • Mutual funds
  • Real estate (land, buildings, etc.)
  • Life insurance
  • Private collections (collectables, art, etc.)

For example, a person holding appreciated stock would have to pay capital gains tax if the stocks were sold and then the cash proceeds were donated. However, stock shares that are directly transferred from the contributor to the charity (the LCMS, the LCMS Foundation, etc.) eliminate the capital gains tax requirement, thereby providing more resources for use in the Lord’s mission.

On the flip side, a person holding depreciated stock can sell the shares and claim the loss on a tax return before giving the cash proceeds for the Lord’s work and receiving an income tax deduction.

Using assets such as these to fund an endowment or a donor-advised fund often makes sense depending on a donor’s unique personal goals and circumstances.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and LCMS Mission Advancement rely on the special expertise of the LCMS Foundation to receive and administer non-cash contributions.

We encourage you to speak with a foundation specialist, as well as your own advisors, about the benefits of giving non-cash assets or to arrange a non-cash contribution. Call the LCMS Foundation at 800-248-1930.

Contact LCMS Mission Advancement (, 888-930-4438) if you are considering giving a non-cash contribution and have questions about the LCMS mission and ministry programs (missionaries, mission projects, pastoral education including the LCMS Joint Seminary Fund, LCMS Disaster Response, mercy/human care, etc.) you may be considering as the beneficiary.

Note: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod currently does not accept donations of used vehicles, clothing, furniture and other types of personal property. We encourage contributors in those situations to consider contacting one or more of our Recognized Service Organizations, such as Orphan Grain Train, who may have the ability to receive and administer such donations.

Join us on the journey

Lutherans Engage the World

Lutheran Engage the WorldEngaging the Church in the work of witness and mercy across the globe in our life together.

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The Lutheran Witness

The Lutheran WitnessInterpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective

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Concordia Publishing House

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  Church Info Center: 888-843-5267
  Staff Switchboard: 800-248-1930
  Donor Care Line: 888-930-4438

 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7226


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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution differently. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent. Consistent with Synod Board policy, no more than 13.5 percent of a charitable contribution may be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors. Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

Our Tax Identification Number: 43-0658188

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