Ways to Donate


Sherry Shaffer


(928) 714-7777

Donor Advised Funds

Giving through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a convenient option for some. A DAF is a philanthropic vehicle established at a public charity. It allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend grants from the fund over time. An easy way to think about a DAF is like a charitable savings account: a donor contributes to the fund as frequently as they like and then recommends grants to their favorite charity when they are ready. Several investment management companies, such as Fidelity and Vanguard, have established nonprofit DAFs as a service to their clients and others. Contact your investment advisor to learn more about DAFs.



Gifts of Stock and Securities

Gifts of securities are a smart and simple way to maximize the effectiveness of your charitable giving. You may find that you can make a larger contribution to Lowell Observatory by giving stock — particularly stock which has appreciated in value — than you can by giving cash.

A gift of securities offers you a number of advantages. Your gift is the full market value of the securities, and you may deduct this amount from your taxable income for federal income tax purposes, as long as the stock has been held for at least one year. Moreover, you do not have to pay capital gains tax on the increased value of the securities, as you would if you sold them and donated cash.

Please click here for stock transfer instructions.




Tangible gifts such as property and equipment can be donated to the Lowell Observatory Foundation for use by our scientists or for us to resell.




Memorial and Honorary Gifts

You may make a memorial or honorary gift to the Lowell Observatory Foundation to honor a loved one or to commemorate a significant event such as an anniversary or birthday. Click here to learn more.




Create a FreeWill

FreeWill is a no-cost estate planning service made possible by the support of hundreds of nonprofit organizations working on meaningful issues, such as medical research, human rights, environmental conservation, and education. You can write your own will using FreeWill. As you create your will, please consider leaving a gift in support of Lowell Observatory.

How to Leave a Gift for Lowell Observatory When You Create a FreeWill: 

  1. Enter the requested information on the form until you reach the ‘Residuaries’ section.
  2. Under ‘What do you care about?,’ scroll to the bottom of the ’suggestions’ tab and select ‘choose other nonprofit.’
  3. Enter the following information:
    – Nonprofit Name: Lowell Observatory
    – EIN: 86-0098918
    – Street Address: 1400 W Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
  4. Choose the percentage of your residuary estate that you would like to leave to Lowell, or specify a fixed cash amount.
  5. Continue following prompts to complete your will.

Start building your will here.




IRA Rollover

In January 2020, new IRS rules went into effect regarding Individual Retirement Accounts. Now, if you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and you are 72 years of age or older, Federal rules require you to make an annual minimum withdrawal. This is an increase in age from previous years.

Many people choose to rollover all or a portion of the required minimum distribution to charitable organizations, partially because doing so can reduce their taxable income. That means Lowell Observatory donors can give more with less! This may be an attractive giving option for you if you are:

  • Over 72 and now receiving minimum IRA distributions—but do not need the extra income.
  • Interested in making a significant gift to impact Lowell Observatory.
  • Want to make a gift to Lowell annually.

Those who meet the age requirement can transfer up to $100,000 per year directly to an eligible charity without paying income tax on the transaction.

An annual IRA gift to Lowell Observatory helps continue our mission of astronomical exploration, public education and preserving Lowell’s scientific legacy.

Check with your retirement account manager to find out how you can support Lowell Observatory through an IRA gift and enjoy a substantial tax advantage.




Matching Gifts

Many companies offer matching gift programs that allow their employees to match, double, or triple their gifts to the Lowell Observatory Foundation. Contact your employer or click here to find out your company’s matching gift policy.





Much like a gift of stock, donating cryptocurrency is a non-taxable event, meaning you do not owe capital gains tax on the appreciated amount and can deduct it on your taxes. This makes cryptocurrency donations one of the most tax-efficient ways to support our mission. Lowell Observatory works with the Our Change Foundation to process your donation. Click here to make your crypto gift.