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One of the most common ways to make a gift to Carnegie Mellon University is to write a check, make a payment by a credit card, or donate online.

gift of cash could be right for you if:

  • You want the easiest way to donate to Carnegie Mellon. 
  • You want the largest possible tax deduction for your gift.
  • You would like to make a gift to Carnegie Mellon that has the greatest immediate impact.

How it works
You make a gift of cash directly to Carnegie Mellon and you receive an income tax deduction.

What is an outright gift of cash?
An outright gift is any gift where you make an immediate gift to Carnegie Mellon University.  The most common way for donors to make an outright gift is to write a check payable to the University.

Gift provides immediate support
Unlike some other gift arrangements, your outright gift will provide resources that Carnegie Mellon can put to immediate use.  If you prefer to restrict CMU's use of your gift in any way, please contact us so that we can be sure that we carry out your wishes.   

A gift of cash is the simplest way to make an outright gift. All you need to do is write a check payable to Carnegie Mellon University, and drop it in the mail. You may deduct the full amount of your donation up to 60% of your adjusted gross income. You may carry forward all unused deduction for up to five additional years. When asked for a gift, most people think of the amount available to them in their checking or savings accounts.  However, you may also make a cash gift using your credit card.


Erma Hubbard would like to make an immediate $15,000 gift to Carnegie Mellon University. Erma could write a check for this amount and earn a charitable deduction equal to $15,000. Alternatively, Erma could make a gift using her credit card by calling CMU's gift planning department on the phone, responding to a mailing, or by donating online through Carnegie Mellon's website. Gifts of checks and those made via credit cards are considered cash gifts.


  • Erma may deduct up to 60% of her adjusted gross income for her gift of cash, providing tax savings if she itemizes.
  • If Erma itemizes deductions but cannot use the entire deduction in the year of gift, she may carry the balance forward for up to five additional years. 
  • Assuming Erma itemizes deductions and can use her entire income tax charitable deduction of $15,000, she will save her $5,550 (37% tax).
  • Erma will gain the satisfaction of supporting the immediate priorities of Carnegie Mellon.