Frequently Asked Questions

The Wharton Fund

Wharton’s Fiscal Year is July 1–June 30.

What is the Benjamin Franklin Society?

The Benjamin Franklin Society is the University’s leadership unrestricted annual giving group. Leadership giving to The Wharton Fund starts at $2,500 (with an exemption for recent graduates, 0–4 years out, at $1,000). Philanthropy at this level has been fundamental to the School since the founding gift from Joseph Wharton in 1881. Visit Wharton’s Benjamin Franklin Society website to learn more about its importance, impact, and levels of giving.

Why is it important to support The Wharton Fund?

The Wharton Fund helps cover the 44 percent of Wharton’s operating costs not met by tuition. It provides resources essential to the excellence of the education Wharton provides and to the global strength of the Wharton brand.

How is Wharton Fund support used?

The Wharton Fund advances every aspect of Wharton’s mission and operation, with investment in the latest instructional technology, cutting-edge student programming, influential faculty research, updated facilities that foster student learning, lifelong learning and career services for alumni, and so much more. Everything Wharton does The Wharton Fund supports.

Who benefits from gifts to The Wharton Fund?

All of Wharton benefits from your generosity. Every Wharton student—graduate and undergraduate—benefits from resources The Wharton Fund provides, as do all Wharton faculty. Gifts to The Wharton Fund truly have a global reach, supporting Wharton’s campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco, international research and education opportunities, and the dissemination of Wharton’s thought leadership across the business landscape.

If I can make only a modest gift, is it still worth doing?

The power of The Wharton Fund is in participation, and gifts at every level—from $100 to $100,000—are vital to its success. In addition to helping The Wharton Fund reach its dollar goal, high levels of participation in unrestricted giving are a key indicator of the strength of the institution, influencing rankings and decision-makers considering other major forms of support.

Why is unrestricted giving important?

While endowed gifts are important, unrestricted funds—funds Wharton can use when and where the School needs them most—are vital. The Wharton Fund allows the administration to respond to immediate needs and opportunities that may arise and continually builds the School’s financial foundation. It provides the broadest possible base for alumni and friends of the School to participate in supporting Wharton.

Why did I receive a request for support from another University of Pennsylvania school or center as well as a request from The Wharton Fund?

If you hold multiple academic degrees or have an affiliation with other schools or centers at the University, you might receive solicitations for their respective annual funds, programs or other initiatives. Each school and center funds its own operating budget.

Does my gift to Wharton subsidize the University?

Your entire gift to The Wharton Fund will benefit Wharton directly.

I am giving from outside the U.S., how can I give?

If you live outside the United States and are considering a gift to Wharton, please visit Penn’s Giving from Outside the U.S. website. If you are a taxpayer in one of the following areas, please visit our country-specific giving pages before making your gift.

Canada Europe Hong Kong Israel Mexico United Kingdom

What Can You Give?

Wharton’s Fiscal Year is July 1–June 30.

Gifts of Cash

Cash gifts can be made by check or charged to a credit card. Charitable gifts of cash are deductible up to 50% of the donor’s adjusted gross income in the year of the gift with any balance carried forward up to five more years. In valuing any charitable gift for tax purposes, the donor must reduce the gift amount by the fair market value of any goods or services received from the charity.

Strategy Tip:
If you come to the end of a calendar year and determine that you will have a greater income that year than expected, a charitable gift made by credit card is one way to accelerate a deduction into one calendar year and actually pay for the gift in the following year.

Appreciated Securities

For a gift of appreciated securities, a donor is entitled to an income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the securities up to 30% of adjusted gross income, with any balance carried forward up to an additional five years. In order for the gift to be fully deductible, the donor must have held the asset for more than one year. The value of the gift is the average of the high and low market prices on the date the securities are transferred to Wharton.

The transfer of stock from a donor to Wharton is a fairly simple transaction. Morgan Stanley serves as the University’s main brokerage firm. The donor will need to work directly with his or her broker to initiate a transfer of stock to The Wharton School. If the donor holds certificates, it is best if those certificates remain unendorsed and the donor completes a separate stock power form authorizing transfer of ownership from the donor to Wharton. Remember to notify the Office of Gift Planning at 215.898.6171 and the University’s Treasurer’s Office at 215.898.7254 when transferring securities.

Strategy Tip:
If a donor wishes to maintain stock holdings in a specific company, it may make sense to give appreciated shares to Wharton and then buy an equivalent number of shares with cash, thus establishing a new, higher cost basis.

Retirement Assets

Designating The Wharton School as the beneficiary of retirement assets is one of the smartest ways for donors to make a gift to Wharton and bypass multiple levels of taxation. First, qualified retirement savings are generally subject to federal income tax as they are withdrawn from the plan. Second, failure to take the required minimum distribution after age 70 1/2 results in a 50% tax on the undistributed amount. Third, at death, any remaining account balance is included in the calculation of the gross estate and may be subject to both income and estate taxes. Fourth, a generation-skipping tax may apply to substantial account balances that pass to grandchildren or to other remote generations. These taxes can consume up to 75% of the retirement assets.

However, careful planning for the disposition of retirement plan assets can help to avoid undesirable tax costs. Naming Wharton as the beneficiary of a retirement plan will reduce the size of a taxable estate and avoid income taxation on those funds. In certain situations, a charitable gift of a retirement account can improve the donor’s overall tax consequences, increase the amounts passing to heirs, and escape income and estate taxes.

Strategy Tip:
A simple form from the manager of the retirement fund is all that is required to name the Wharton School as a beneficiary.

Gifts of Real Estate

There are a number of ways to structure a gift of real estate, each with its own advantages. For example, some gifts may be set up to provide an income stream. Real estate gifts can be made in the form of undeveloped property, a personal residence or farm, rental property, or commercial property. The owner of the property may be entitled to an income tax deduction based on the appraised value of the property.

The donor must submit a copy of a qualified appraisal with his/her income tax return for the year of the gift. Also, IRS Form 8283 must be submitted and signed by Wharton acknowledging receipt of the gift. The University of Pennsylvania carefully examines each piece of real estate prior to its acceptance as a gift in order to ensure its usefulness to the University.

Strategy Tip:
Real estate gifts take a number of steps to complete. Contact the Wharton early in your planning to facilitate the efficient gathering of information.

Life Insurance

Life Insurance can provide a great giving opportunity in at least two simple ways:
Donating a fully paid-up life insurance policy naming Wharton as irrevocable owner and beneficiary entitles the donor to a charitable income tax deduction for the cash surrender value of the policy. Naming Wharton as beneficiary, without changing ownership of the policy, does not generate an income tax deduction, but it is eligible for the estate tax charitable deduction.

Gifts of Personal Property

Artworks and other personal property may be given for the unrestricted use of The Wharton School. These items are reviewed for acceptance by the Curator or other appropriate University representative. The donor may be able to deduct the fair market value of the item at the time of the donation, as established by the donor’s independent appraisal. In order to deduct the property’s full fair market value, it must be for a use related to the educational mission of Wharton and have been held by the donor for more than one year.

If the property is valued at more than $5,000, the donor must obtain a qualified appraisal and file IRS Form 8283 with his/her income tax return. Penn must also sign Form 8283 indicating receipt of the gift. If the property is valued at more than $500 but less than $5,000, an appraisal is not required but Form 8283 must still be completed and submitted with the donor’s income tax return.

Strategy Tip:
The cost of obtaining a qualified appraisal for a gift of personal property may be a deductible miscellaneous expense for income tax purposes, subject to IRS limitations.

Ways to Give

Wharton’s Fiscal Year is July 1–June 30.

Give Online

Give by Phone

Call The Wharton Fund at +1.215.898.7868

Give by Mail

The Wharton Fund
344 Vance Hall
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104.6360

Make checks payable to
“The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania”

Matching Gifts

Don’t miss the unique opportunity to increase the impact of your giving through a matching gift program. To find out if your employer participates and learn more about how to apply a match to your Wharton Fund gift, visit Penn’s matching gifts database. Most matching gifts are made by companies employing Wharton alumni, including:

 

  • Bank of America
  • Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Wells Fargo

And many more

For more information concerning the Matching Gifts Program, you can call +1.215.898.5069 or contact devgifts@dev.upenn.edu.

Giving from Outside the U.S.

If you live outside the United States and are considering a gift to Wharton, please visit Penn’s Giving from Outside the U.S. site.

If you are a taxpayer in one of the following areas, please visit our country-specific giving pages before making your gift.

 

Need further assistance in making your gift?

Please contact our Gifts Accounting Manager Philomena Rhoades at +1.215.746.2099 or email The Wharton Fund at whartonfund@wharton.upenn.edu.

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