Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Professional Advisors



Helping Clients Gift Hard-to-Value Assets: From Real Estate to Cryptocurrency

There are many benefits of giving non-cash assets, such as works of art and real estate, to a charity like Hawai‘i Community Foundation. These “hard-to-value” gifts offer significant tax advantages to both donors and charities.

With non-cash gifts, the donor typically can deduct the full fair market value of the asset given. If and when the charity sells the asset, , it does not pay capital gains tax. This means that more money goes to the community than if the donor had sold the asset on their own and then gifted the proceeds.

Real estate has long been a popular gift to charity, sometimes representing up to 3% of all philanthropic contributions in any given year. However, there are many other ways to take advantage of hard-to-value assets through charitable giving.

For example, when a business is sold, its owners may find themselves with artwork, insurance policies, or intellectual property on their hands, any of which can be donated to a donor-advised fund with the favorable tax treatment described above.

And the universe of non-cash assets continues to expand—perhaps unsurprisingly cryptocurrency is increasingly being given to charity. In particular advisors might not have expected NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to become viable charitable gifts, yet last year, the Washington, DC–based nonprofit Giving Block, which assists charities in accepting cryptocurrency, helped process more than $1 million in Giving Tuesday donations that were the result of NFT auctions.

We want to note that Hawai‘i Community Foundation is closely watching the environmental cost of ephemeral assets like Bitcoin. Organizations such as Greenpeace have already backed away from accepting gifts of cryptocurrency due to its high energy use. However, we recognize that with $23 billion in NFT sales in 2021 worldwide, philanthropy may see significant NFT activity in the years ahead.

At Hawai‘i Community Foundation, we can help your clients donate a wide variety of hard-to-value assets. To learn more, contact Jen-L W. Lyman, Director of Planned Giving & Advisor Relations, at (808) 566-5596 or jlyman@hcf-hawaii.org. We’re always available to answer your questions about philanthropy or schedule a personal consultation with you and your clients.