Why Give?

Why is supporting Memphis Theological Seminary with your gifts important?
What difference will it make?
Why should you give?

You want your pastor to be a good preacher, sharing the Gospel every week in such a way that inspires your more mature Christian journey while also leading others to Christ.
Every course at MTS is part of the process that leads to good preaching, from Introduction to Interpreting the New Testament to the more specific courses on Homiletics & Liturgics. Every student takes a course called Preaching Practicum, where the skills needed for good preaching are fine-tuned. MTS prepares preachers for the churches of today and tomorrow. Will you support this mission?

You want your pastor to have a deep understanding of the meaning of communion. When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” he called us to share the bread and cup as living signs of his ongoing presence in our midst. In Holy Communion, God nourishes us spiritually for our discipleship, and feeds us with the Bread of Life, so that we might go out from our places of worship to nourish a spiritually hungry, sometimes even starving, world.
MTS prepares pastors who know how to lead sacramental services that nourish disciples for real ministry. Will you support this ministry?

You want your Bible study and Sunday school lesson leader to know how to present the world behind the text, what was happening that led to the writing of the text, and how it can be interpreted for us today.
MTS teaches students to be good readers of the Bible, a process called exegesis. As a result, they are strong, knowledgeable teachers. Will you support this teaching?

You want the youth leader of your congregation to understand the needs of young people and how to lead them to Christ.
MTS now offers a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree – a direct response to the needs expressed by you and so many others in the church. The first MAYM graduates received their diplomas at graduation in May 2013, with many more to follow in the years to come. Will you support this degree?

You want the counselor who is working with your child to be effective.
MTS offers a Drug & Alcohol Addiction Counseling certificate that prepares students to take their state’s licensing exam. Will you support this certificate?

You want your family baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This requires ordained clergy. MTS prepares students for ordination in their denomination, offering specific courses, as needed. Will you support this work in the classroom?

You want your mother buried, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
MTS places a heavy emphasis on pastoral care, offering specific courses and requiring a Parish Practicum, where students are faced with practical, real-life situations. Will you support this instruction?

Your gifts make a difference in the Church by ensuring that this seminary, located in the Bible belt, that reaches out to communities in a 200-mile radius and countries 20,000 miles away, that serves students from over 30 denominations, continues to teach.

Your gift today will make a difference by supporting technology in the classroom, professors who care and teach practical ministry with excellence, a safe, attractive campus and scholarships to ensure the classrooms are filled with those whom God has called to ministry.

Your gift to Memphis Theological Seminary will spread the Gospel to the nations. I believe that makes MTS a ministry worth your support.

Ways to Give


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Memphis Theological Seminary welcomes and appreciates gifts of cash, including checks, money orders or bank drafts. If you would like to restrict your gift to a specific program or purpose, please indicate this in the memo portion of your check or in a note accompanying your gift. Gifts by check should be made payable to:

Memphis Theological Seminary

Please mail your gift to:

Office of Advancement Memphis Theological Seminary

168 East Parkway South

Memphis, TN 38104-4395


Memphis Theological Seminary accepts gifts of real estate. To speak with someone in depth about a gift of real estate, please contact the Office of Advancement at (901) 334-5811


Gifts of personal property, also known as gifts-in-kind, include:

Automobiles Books Artwork Jewelry

Should you decide to donate personal items, it is best to contact the Office of Advancement at (901) 334-5811 to see how your gift can best benefit those we serve.


MTS accepts gifts of securities. These may be appreciated or depreciated, and you may receive some tax benefits for either kind.

Gifts of long-term appreciated stocks or bonds entitle you to two benefits: There is no capital gains tax payable, and you may use the securities’ fair market value on the date of the gift to compute the income tax charitable deduction.

With depreciated securities, you will benefit the most if they are sold first and the proceeds contributed to Memphis Theological Seminary.

To learn more about giving securities, please call the Office of Advancement at (901) 334-5811

** Please always consult your tax advisor before making any decisions regarding gifts of securities.


There are many benefits to creating a planned gift, such as a trust or annuity. Not only does it create security for you, but you can also give security to your family as well. A bequest in your will or codicil in your living trust is another way you can help us accomplish our mission.

To learn more about planned gift options with Memphis Theological Seminary please call our Planned Giving Office at (901) 334-5811.

Gifts to Endowment
Endowment funds are invested by the Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Stewardship and only the interest from these investments is used to support the current operation of the seminary. The corpus of the endowment is retained and reinvested to help ensure the future financial viability of the institution.

For as little as $5,000 a named endowment fund can be established. Please contact the Office of the President or the Advancement Office for more details on how you can establish or add to an endowment fund.

Honorary & Memorial Gifts
Gifts to the Annual Fund or the Endowment are wonderful ways to honor someone special. When submitting the contribution, indicate the name of the person(s) the gift is honoring. The seminary will notify that person, or their family in the case of a memorial gift, by means of a letter identifying the donor and the fund to which the contribution was made.
Planned Gifts
Many are experiencing the satisfaction of arranging for future support of the Memphis Theological Seminary through bequests and life income plans. This means of making future contributions is known as planned giving.

Planned gifts include gifts made through wills or life income plans such as, charitable trusts, charitable gift annuities, life insurance, and a variety of other programs. Most people find that the use of these planned vehicles results in a larger gift than was first thought possible, while at the same time enhancing the donor’s stream of lifetime income.

The benefits include:

  • the satisfaction of making an investment in life and ministry that will help provide future leadership for the church
  • income for life (or, in some cases, a term of years) with the option of providing for a beneficiary as well
  • a charitable deduction for income tax purposes in the year of the gift, with carryover privileges for up to five additional years
  • reduction or elimination of the capital gains tax when funded with appreciated property held longer than one year
  • freedom from investment and management responsibilities
  • estate tax benefits
  • the avoidance of probate and estate administration expenses

For more information about planned gifts consult your financial advisor or the Office of Advancement, Memphis Theological Seminary. The phone number is 901-458-8232. You may also use the email address: advancement@MemphisSeminary.edu.

Wills and Bequests

By remembering Memphis Theological Seminary in your will or living trust, you are ensuring that we can continue our mission for years to come. Your gift also entitles your estate to an unlimited federal estate tax charitable deduction. For sample bequest language see the Bequest Language section on this page.

Beneficiary Designation

If you are interested in supporting MTS, but are looking for something that’s easy to do? Consider a beneficiary designation. Just name Memphis Theological Seminary as a beneficiary to receive assets such as retirement plans and life insurance policies after you’re gone. You simply fill out a form that is entirely separate from your will—which makes this approach an easy way to give. It’s also flexible—you aren’t locked into the choices you make today and you can change beneficiary designations anytime you want.

Gifts that Provide Income 

Charitable Gift Annuity
One gift that allows you to support Memphis Theological Seminary’s work while receiving fixed payments for life is a charitable gift annuity. A charitable gift annuity will give you regular payments for one or two lives, it will allow us to further our mission and education, and you can receive a variety of tax benefits, including a federal income tax charitable deduction.
Charitable Remainder Trust.
If you have built up a significant estate and are also looking for ways to receive reliable income, you may want to check out the benefits of setting up a charitable remainder trust. The benefits of a charitable remainder trust include: a partial charitable income tax deduction, potential for increased income, and up-front capital gains tax avoidance.
There are two ways to receive payments with charitable remainder trusts:
The annuity trust pays you each year the same dollar amount you choose at the start. Your payments stay the same, regardless of fluctuations in the market or trust investments.
The unitrust pays you each year an adjustable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. The amount of your payments is redetermined annually. If the value of the trust rises, so do your payments. If the value declines, however, so will your payments.

Additional Gift Options

Charitable Lead Trust (CLT)
Do you want to benefit from the tax savings that come supporting MTS, yet you don’t want to give up any resources that you’d like your heirs to receive someday? You can do both with a charitable lead trust.
There are two types of charitable lead trusts:
A charitable lead annuity trust pays a fixed amount each year to MTS and is more attractive when interest rates are low.
A charitable lead unitrust pays a variable amount each year based on the value of the assets in the trust. With a unitrust, if the trust’s assets go up in value, for example, the payments to MTS will go up as well.
Here’s how it works: You set up a trust that will make annualized payments to MTS over 15-20 years. At the end of the trust period the assets will revert back to you or your heirs. You will receive an income tax deduction each year for the amount of the annual payment. Your heirs will receive an amount equal to the initial trust deposit. The CLT greatly reduces income tax liability and transfers assets to heirs with ease.

Real Estate

Want to make a large gift to Memphis Theological Seminary without touching your bank account? Consider giving us real estate. Such a gift helps us continue our work for years to come. And a gift of real estate also helps you. When you give us appreciated property you have held longer than one year, you get a federal income tax charitable deduction. You avoid paying capital gains tax. And you no longer have to deal with that property’s maintenance costs, property taxes or insurance.
Another benefit: You don’t have to hassle with selling the real estate. You can deed the property directly to Memphis Theological Seminary or ask your attorney to add a few sentences in your will or trust agreement.

Ways To Give Real Estate. 

You can give real estate to Memphis Theological Seminary in the following ways:
An outright gift. When you make a gift today of real estate you have owned longer than one year, you obtain a federal income tax charitable deduction equal to the property’s full fair market value. This deduction lets you reduce the cost of making the gift and frees cash that otherwise would have been used to pay taxes. By donating the property to us, you also eliminate capital gains tax on its appreciation. Furthermore, the transfer is not subject to the gift tax, and the gift reduces your future taxable estate.
A gift in your will or living trust allows you the ability to change your mind and the potential to support our work with a larger gift than you could during your lifetime. In as little as one sentence or two, you can ensure that your support for Memphis Theological Seminary continues after your lifetime and that your estate will benefit from a federal estate tax charitable deduction. A retained life estate. Perhaps you like the tax advantages a gift of real estate to our organization would offer, but you want to continue living in your personal residence for your lifetime. You can transfer your personal residence or farm to Memphis Theological Seminary but keep the right to occupy (or rent out) the home for the rest of your life. You continue to pay real estate taxes, maintenance fees and insurance on the property. Even though we would not actually take possession of the residence until after your lifetime, since your gift cannot be revoked, you receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction for a portion of your home’s value.
A deferred charitable gift annuity. Are you weary of taking care your property such as paying taxes, utilities and repair bills? Consider giving the property to Memphis Theological Seminary in exchange for dependable payments for life for you (and someone else, if you choose). With a charitable gift annuity, you’re allowed a federal income tax deduction in the year you set up the gift annuity when you itemize on your taxes. If you use appreciated real estate to make a gift, you can usually eliminate capital gains tax on a portion of the gift and spread the rest of the gain over your life expectancy.
A bargain sale. When you make a bargain sale, you sell your property to MTS for less than what it’s worth. The difference between the actual value and the sale price is considered a gift. A bargain sale can be a great way to move real estate that has appreciated, and it is the only gift vehicle that can give you a cash payment and a charitable deduction at the same time.
A charitable remainder unitrust. You can contribute any real estate you’ve owned for more than one year, provided it’s unmortgaged, in exchange for an income stream for life or a term of up to 20 years. The gifted property may be a home (a personal residence must be vacant upon contribution), undeveloped land, a farm or commercial real estate.
A charitable lead trust. This gift can be a wonderful way for you to benefit Memphis Theological Seminary and simultaneously transfer appreciated real estate to your family tax-free. You should consider funding the charitable lead trust with real estate that is income-producing and expected to increase in value over the term of the trust. A memorial or endowed gift. A gift of real estate may be a perfect way to honor your loved one forever. When you make an endowed gift of real estate, your contribution is invested with and becomes part of our endowment. An annual distribution is made for the purpose you designate. Because the principal remains intact, the fund will generate support for scholarships, operations or any area you chose in perpetuity.
A donor advised fund. When you transfer real estate to your donor advised fund, you avoid capital gains taxes and receive a federal income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the property.

Memorials or in Honorarium

If you, or a loved one, has been impacted by Memphis Theological Seminary, consider establishing a memorial or honoraria as a meaningful way to celebrate your loved one or to celebrate the incredible impact that MTS has made in your life. Your memorial or
tribute gift will make a lasting impact for the community of believers that we serve.

Endowed Gifts

You have the power to strategically invest in the future of Memphis Theological Seminary. How? By making an endowed gift. Your gift is an investment in our future, helping us grow and thrive for years to come. You can select any area you would like to impact. Typically scholarships and operations are the two areas where most often endowed.

Memphis Theological Bequest Language

Legal Name:

Memphis Theological Seminary of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Tax ID#:  62-6012228

Outright bequest, unrestricted as to purpose:

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the Memphis Theological Seminary, a not-for-profit Tennessee Corporation, (% of estate or $ amount).”

Outright bequest to establish endowment fund with income to be restricted:

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the Memphis Theological Seminary, a not-for-profit Tennessee Corporation, (% of estate or $ amount), to constitute the (name of endowment) Fund.

This fund shall be added to the Seminary’s endowment to be held in perpetuity with the spendable income therefrom to be utilized for (description of restricted purpose specified by testator – i.e. scholarships; to benefit a specific department or program; faculty award; chair, etc.).”

Bequest of residuary estate:

“All the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal property of whatever kind and whosesoever situated, which I may own at the time of my death, I give, devise, and bequeath to the Memphis Theological Seminary a not-for-profit Tennessee Corporation, for unrestricted use (or for other purpose specified by the testator.”