Real Estate

Transforming Realty to Gift Reality

You may gift appreciated homes, farms and other property—sometimes even a percentage of ownership or mineral rights—to support the ELCA, your congregation, your synod and/or the ministries or organizations you specify. If the property is debt-free, the gift is tax-deductible at the property’s appraised value.

And in some cases, you can enjoy the tax benefits of a current gift while retaining use of the property through a retained life estate. In this arrangement, you donate your personal residence or farm but keep the right to occupy (or rent out) the home for the rest of your life. 


Minimum gift amount: $100,000


Here’s how it works: A gift of real estate can be used to support the ELCA ministries you care most about, including your congregation. A portion of the gift can also be directed toward other qualified charities.

Your real estate gift can be used as an outright gift to a charity, to fund a donor-advised fund, a named endowment, charitable remainder trust or any combination of these gift types.

In many cases a gift of real estate with the ELCA Foundation may hold a variety of benefits for the donor(s) in addition to potential tax savings:

  • It can provide lifetime income to donor(s) when used to fund a charitable remainder trust.
  • Donor(s) can enjoy the tax benefits of a current gift while retaining use of the property through a retained life estate.
  • It can provide income at the time of contribution through a bargain sale.

The first step in exploring any potential gift of real estate is to contact your regional gift planner to explore potential benefits and begin the gift evaluation process. Your regional gift planner can guide you through the process of evaluating gift options for your home, property, or even vacation home to help determine what is best suited to your individual needs.

Make a Gift Today

Learn more about the many ways to use real estate to support the ELCA Foundation in the FREE guide Ways to Donate Real Estate.

An Example of How It Works

Woman smiling Janet purchased a rental property years ago and has watched it grow steadily in value. Still active in her career and traveling frequently, she is beginning to find management of the property more and more of a hassle. Janet sees this as an opportunity to give her rental property to support her ELCA congregation while realizing valuable tax benefits.

Janet avoids capital gains tax on the appreciation and qualifies for a federal income tax charitable deduction for the property’s fair market value. Janet loves knowing that the gift of her property will make a big difference supporting our mission.

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Personal Estate Planning Kit

Our Top Free Resource

This comprehensive estate planning kit helps you protect your family and establish your legacy. FREE!

Download My Kit

Next Steps

  1. Contact your regional gift planner to discuss the possibility of giving real estate to support the ELCA, your congregation or the ministries you specify. If the property is debt-free, the gift is tax-deductible at the property’s appraised value.
  2. Seek the advice of your financial or legal advisor to make sure this gift fits your goals.