Recent tax law changes have made gifting via an Individual Retirement Plan (IRA) a popular method for those 70.5 and older. Once reaching that age most users are required to take out a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from their plan. Gifting the funds directly to a non-profit like Mercyhurst University means that an individual will not pay income tax on the gift amount - most frequently representing a substantial tax savings. The process is very simple and Mercyhurst is happy to work closely with you or your advisor to answer any questions you might have. In advance, please take a moment to review some frequently asked questions below. Contact information for a Mercyhurst staff member follows to get the process started or to help with any unanswered questions.

IRA Rollover FAQs

  • Can I transfer funds to my checking account and then send a check from there?
    No – the gift must be sent directly from your IRA custodian to Mercyhurst University. Please notify us that it will be coming, and we ask that you kindly request your custodian to include “University Advancement” on the envelope so the check is routed to the right place!
  • Can I use my IRA to satisfy a pledge?
    Yes, in most instances you may use IRA rollover gifts to satisfy open pledges at Mercyhurst.  There are some restrictions for deferred income gifts – contact us if you have questions.
  • Is the $100,000 limit for just me or both myself and my spouse combined?
    The maximum amount from an individual donor is $100,000 per year, and that amount is specific to each individual, so if both you and your spouse wished to transfer funds you could send up to $200,000.
  • Does a Roth IRA qualify? How about a 403(b)?
    Rollover gifts can be made from a traditional or Roth IRA, but unfortunately gifts from 401(k), 403(b), SEP, and most other retirement plans are ineligible. Consult your financial planner to inquire about options to adjust your plan to become eligible.
  • Can I restrict how my gift is used?
    Yes, you may! While we’re always grateful for unrestricted gifts to help the university’s greatest needs, we are happy to work with you to designated your gift for a particular program, team, or scholarship. Additionally, we are glad to discuss new gifting opportunities that may be created by using this giving vehicle.
  • Do I need to fill out forms or paperwork?
    Maybe – this varies based upon your individual broker or account administrator. In many cases a simple call or email to your advisor is enough to get the process started. A sample gift intention letter can be found here. Providing them with contact information for Ryan Palm listed below may help expedite the process in case they are in need of any tax forms.

Any other questions you might have can be directed to Ryan Palm ’07, associate vice president for advancement, at 814-824-3320 or