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Getting Started
Going Further

Meet Our Staff

Contact Us

Office of Trusts, Estates, and Gift Planning
Cornell University
130 E Seneca Street, Suite 400
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-800-481-1865
Fax: 607-254-1204


Frequently Asked Questions


Regarding Gifts of Privately Held, Family, Restricted, or Venture Securities

Is Cornell interested in receiving gifts of nonmarketable securities or very early-stage venture companies with little or no value?

Cornell has a special account dedicated to holding securities that are not immediately marketable and early-stage, low-value securities that may appreciate over the long term. The Office of Trusts, Estates, and Gift Planning will consult with a donor on a regular basis to track company progress and prepare an eventual sale strategy.

Because of SEC restrictions like Rule 144 and volume-sale restrictions, is it too complicated and time-consuming to make a gift of SEC-restricted shares to Cornell?

Cornell has worked effectively on numerous occasions with SEC-restricted stock and has a streamlined and efficient procedure so as not to delay or encumber the donor’s corporate activity. Cornell is immediately responsive and knowledgeable in working with donors and their attorneys in the transfer and administration of SEC-restricted securities.

Should I wait until my stock reaches its full potential before giving it to Cornell?

Cornell will hold securities in negotiable form as agent for a donor so that all the paperwork is completed. The donor can determine the exact timing of a gift with a fax or phone call at the moment when the donor believes the security has reached its full potential. This is particularly useful for highly volatile securities.

What if I can’t make a gift now because I haven’t decided what charities besides Cornell that I want to benefit from my gift?

The Cornell University Foundation—A Donor-Advised Fund allows donors to make deductible charitable gifts with one charitable vehicle and have an advisory privilege at a later date to make gifts to both Cornell and other charities. This is particularly helpful in allowing a donor to carefully concentrate on charitable planning at a time most convenient.

Are there reduced tax benefits for gifts of these types of securities?

Generally, gifts of these securities are deductible at full fair-market value with complete avoidance of long-term capital-gain tax. In some cases there may be some discount due to the time and nature of the restriction. An appraisal of the securities may be required to support a tax deduction, but this is often a less complicated process than perceived by the donor. These securities can be contributed to fund life-income arrangements such as charitable remainder trusts.

Will my gift of stock cause family voting control problems?

While it is true that a donor cannot legally restrict Cornell from selling the stock to an outside purchaser, Cornell is cooperative in sales decisions and will make every effort to exercise sales decisions in a manner consistent with the wishes of the donor and the donor’s company. Often a donor will transfer nonvoting stock shares to avoid control issues.

Will a bequest of these securities to Cornell complicate estate administration and delay estate settlement?

Cornell has worked effectively with many estate situations involving privately held, restricted, or family business securities that produced very significant tax savings for both the estate and family members.

How can Cornell’s Office of Gift Planning be of assistance?

We are charitable-planning specialists and have resources available to fully support both your investigation and implementation of gift-planning techniques. Our services are professional, confidential, collaborative, and provided without cost or obligation. We encourage you to call on us to assist you, your family, and your advisors in exploring financial, estate, and charitable planning.