For more than thirty years, Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) has helped people transition from homelessness to permanent housing with dignity, inclusivity and compassion. As we see a growing need for homeless services in Northern California, we know that COTS has a vitally important role to play in, both now and in the future. We aim to end the epidemic of homelessness in Sonoma County, and we rely on the partnership our community to provide crucial help to families as they move beyond homelessness and toward self-sufficiency.

Legacy gifts – through a will or trust – demonstrate an enduring investment in COTS’ mission, ensuring that we will be there to help our neighbors in need for generations to come.

Our mission changes lives.
So will your bequest.

 

There are many ways to make a lasting impact on our community and join the ranks of COTS’ Legacy Society members. Below is an outline of some ways your estate might help sustain our programs and services long into the future.

For more information on supporting COTS through a legacy, contact your financial planner or Jamieson Bunn, Director of Development, at jbunn@cots.org or (707) 789-6380.

Types of Gifts


Charitable bequests are simple gifts made in a will or living trust and cost you nothing now. Your assets remain entirely under your control during your lifetime, and your bequest or trust designation will not be subject to any potential federal estate tax in the future. Donors may change their bequests at any time.

To make a charitable bequest, donors typically add a sentence like the one below to their estate plans.

“I give (describe dollar amount, property to be given or proportion of residuary estate) to the Committee on the Shelterless, a nonprofit California organization with its principal offices in Petaluma, California, in the County of Sonoma, to be used for the benefit of the organization in such a manner as the Board of Directors may elect.”*

*This sample language is intended only as a general guide for those preparing wills or trusts. COTS encourages individuals to retain competent counsel to assist in the development of an estate plan.

Charitable Gift Annuities
A charitable gift annuity is a contract with a non-profit like COTS that allows donors to transfer assets to the organization in return for a partial tax deduction and fixed payments for the donor’s lifetime. After the donor passes away, COTS keeps the remainder of the gift.

Charitable Trusts
Charitable trusts allow donors to transfer assets or property to a trust for a partial tax deduction and receive income from the trust for a set period of time. When the trust ends, the remaining assets go to a designated non-profit like COTS.

Charitable Lead Trusts
Charitable lead trusts work differently from the basic charitable trust above. Charitable lead trusts allow donors to transfer cash or other assets to a trust, which then makes payments to a non-profit on a fixed schedule for a term of years (typically the life of one or more individuals). When the trust term expires, the remaining trust assets are transferred to the donor’s family or other heirs.

Some assets, like IRAs, 401k’s, life insurance policies, bank and brokerage accounts, and donor-advised funds can be easily given to charity - once you no longer need them – by designation.

Gifts through an IRA Rollover
IRA Rollover gifts allow donors, 70 ½ or older, to use IRA assets to make charitable gifts. IRA Rollover gifts are immediate distributions from a donor’s IRA account made directly to charity – that count toward a donor’s required minimum distribution or RMD. By reducing taxable income, IRA Rollover gifts can lower a donor’s tax bill and may help donors avoid Medicare high-income surcharges.

Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets
By naming COTS as the beneficiary of your retirement account, you can make an impact on our community and reduce taxes to your loved ones.

To make a gift of retirement plan assets, simply ask your plan administrator for a beneficiary designation form and name COTS as a primary or contingent beneficiary of your retirement account.

Gifts of Other Assets
Life insurance: You may have a life insurance policy you purchased years ago and no longer need. You can name COTS as a full, partial or contingent beneficiary of your policy. You can also sign over a fully paid policy and receive a tax deduction for your gift.

Bank & brokerage accounts: Assets like certificates of deposit, savings bonds, bank and brokerage accounts can become wonderful charitable gifts – once you no longer need them. Simply name COTS as the pay-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiary.

Donor-advised funds: Final distribution of DAF’s is controlled by beneficiary designation. You can easily name COTS as the successor of your DAF account – or a portion of the account value – leaving the balance in your DAF to allow children and grandchildren to continue your philanthropy.

COTS Legacy Society


Once you have made a legacy investment in COTS through any of the vehicles above, your gift entitles you to membership in COTS’ Legacy Society. Legacy Society members are recognized in COTS’ Annual Report and at dedicated special events, including our Investor’s Update for major donors and the annual Legacy Society Luncheon. For more information or to confirm your membership in the Legacy Society, please contact Jamieson Bunn, Director of Development, at jbunn@cots.org or (707) 789-6380.

For more information on the options above, speak to your financial planner.
For more information on leaving a legacy at COTS, please contact Jamieson Bunn, Director of Development, at jbunn@cots.org or (707) 789-6380.


FAQ about Legacy Giving at COTS


Legal name: Committee on the Shelterless
Federal tax ID number: 68-0176855
Address: COTS, P.O. Box 2744, Petaluma, CA 94953

The foregoing sample language is intended only as a general guide for those preparing wills or trusts. COTS encourages individuals to retain competent counsel to assist in the development of an estate plan.

“I give (describe dollar amount, property to be given or proportion of residuary estate) to the Committee on the Shelterless, a nonprofit California organization with its principal offices in Petaluma, California, in the County of Sonoma, to be used for the benefit of the organization in such a manner as the Board of Directors may elect.”

Donors can fill out this brief form via Docusign, which signifies your intent to make a bequest or to make COTS the beneficiary of your estate in another way. Once submitted, the form is emailed to our Development Office. Jamieson Bunn, Director of Development, will then contact you to discuss your intentions and membership in our Legacy Society. Please contact Jamieson with any questions at jbunn@cots.org or (707) 789-6380.

By indicating your intent to make a planned gift to COTS, you have joined the COTS Legacy Society. This special society emphasizes the vital importance of planned gifts which secure the future of COTS. If you have questions about planned giving please contact Jamieson Bunn, Director of Development, with any questions: (707) 789-6380 or jbunn@cots.org.

Thank you for considering COTS in making your plans for your legacy. Please contact Jamieson Bunn, Director of Development, with any questions: (707) 789-6380 or jbunn@cots.org.