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Charitable Real Estate Fund

A gift of real estate to Rancho Santa Fe Foundation could be the most significant charitable gift you ever make.

Considerable wealth is held in real estate, giving this asset significant charitable potential; however, the complexities, costs and liability issues surrounding gifts of real estate have typically restricted its use.

The Charitable Real Estate Fund (CREF), which gains public charity status by virtue of its affiliation with Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, is managed by a separate board of directors comprised of local leaders in the real estate profession, who may also serve on RSF Foundation’s board of directors. The CREF Board oversees the process that converts commercial and residential property into charitable dollars. Each potential gift of real estate is unique and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to the policies and standards set forth herein.

As a sophisticated investor, you could own one of any number of types of real estate that might be used to fund your charitable goals, perhaps into future generations.

What to Give:

  • Homes and second homes
  • Condos and townhomes
  • Vacation homes
  • Apartments
  • Commercial buildings
  • Rural and agricultural land


What is the Charitable Real Estate Fund (CREF) at Rancho Santa Fe Foundation?  

The CREF is a Type I Supporting Organization of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation. This means that the CREF is a separate legal 509(a)(3) entity (Tax ID # 32-0194805) that exists through an affiliation with the RSF Foundation. The CREF has been established to accept charitable gifts of real estate from donors that will provide a charitable deduction to the fullest extent of the law.

Who can donate to the CREF?  Anyone who is the legal owner of the property.

What is the minimum appraised value of a donated property?  $400,000.

What guidelines are in place to govern a donation of real estate to the CREF?  

The CREF has a Gift Acceptance Policy in place.

Besides the tax deduction, what are the other benefits of donating real estate?

  • A streamlined process
  • Reduced transactional costs
  • Avoid undue complications and risks
  • Helps to maximize the value upon sale

What is the role of RSF Foundation?  

The Foundation manages the day-to-day operations of the CREF. Whether you’re in a San Diego North County neighborhood like Cardiff or southern area such as Pacific Beach, all inquiries regarding potential gifts of real estate should be made directly to the Foundation.

How May I Use the Proceeds From the Sale of Gifted Property?  

Typically, donors will simultaneously establish a donor advised fund at Rancho Santa Fe Foundation. At such time as proceeds have been realized from the sale, and all carrying costs have been met (see Gift Acceptance Policy for more details), the funds will be transferred from the CREF to the RSF Foundation and placed in the donor advised fund. Immediately, you will be able to make grant recommendations from your fund. There are no annual “pay-out requirements” for a donor advised fund so this one gift might benefit family members for generations to come.

Donors may also choose to establish a permanent endowment at the Foundation from which annual grants will be made according to a donor’s wishes.

Donors may also donate real estate to the CREF and request that the proceeds be transferred immediately to one or more nonprofit organizations. Generally, this is preferable to donors who wish to make one-time only charitable gifts to the organizations of their choice which do not have the ability to accept gifts of real estate on their own. A fee will apply (see Gift Acceptance Policy for more details).

CREF Board of Directors

  • Richard Montaño, Board Liaison to CREF
  • Gregory R. Hillgren, Chairman
  • Ron Kimura
  • Don Oliphant
  • Christy Wilson, Executive Director


Our Mission

At Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, a San Diego community foundation, our mission is to connect donors with regional and global needs through visionary community leadership, personalized service and effective grant-making.

We’re proud that our donors and community are served on a local level. Many of our donations are provided by residents of the Coastal North County San Diego, which include Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Encinitas. In return, we work to give back to communities in need throughout San Diego County.

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