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Southern California Railway Museum is turning 68 this year!

Southern California Railway Museum (SCRM) was founded June 10th 1956 by fourteen young members of the Southern California Division Of The Electric Railroaders’ Association (SC/ERA). Their goal was the preservation of electric rail interurban and streetcars, and today the Museum has grown to the largest railway museum in the western United States, with over 200 pieces of full scale rolling stock that represent not only electric rail, but diesel, steam, passenger, and freight. It is truly a remarkable collection that the Museum works hard to preserve for future generations.

This year marks the Museum’s 68th Birthday – and SCRM is truly looking great! We appreciate your help and support in this campaign, as well as all throughout the year with your membership, donations, and event ticket purchases. All funds will go to help the continued operation of SCRM, its historic train and trolley rides, and ongoing restoration work of its collections.

We invite all those who donate to join us on Friday, June 21st from 5-7pm for Birthday Cake in Town Hall during our Third Friday Event. We look forward to seeing you!

DONATE TODAY

Legacy Giving

As part of your estate planning, your legacy gift to the Museum provides a way to honor you or a loved one for future generations. Legacy gifts are designations in you will or other financial planning documents.  For more information on how you can leave a Legacy Gift, contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail info@socalrailway.org.  Thank you for your consideration.

Endowments

Money is often donated to the Museum for its ongoing support. Frequently, the donation is spent quickly for a specific purpose but sometimes it’s placed in an endowment fund where it’s invested, and the earnings are used by the Museum. Most endowments are structured so that the principal amount is kept intact while the investment income is available for use. They can be set up to release part of the principal each year, allowing the donation to have a larger impact than using only investment earnings. Endowments often come with restrictions on their use.

The museum has four endowment funds:

  • The Richards-Smith Endowment, which is unrestricted and can be used to support any need that the board designates.
  • The Niedrich Endowment, which is restricted to support of museum rolling stock collection
  • The Kagy Endowment, which is restricted to support of the Red Car/PE collection.
  • The Gagnon Endowment, which is restricted to support of the operating steam program.

There is also a board-directed investment fund that is treated like an endowment. It is unrestricted; its earnings can be used as the board deems appropriate. For more information on how you can leave a Legacy Gift, contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail info@socalrailway.org.

Using your IRA RMD to donate to the Museum

If you are having to deal with a Required Minimum Distribution from your IRA and want to avoid some tax, here is way. If you are over 70 ½ and you have traditional IRA, you can direct all or part of the distribution be paid directly to the Museum in the form of a Qualified Charitable Distribution. This only applies to traditional IRAs, not Roth, Simple, or SEP.

The maximum allowed each year is $100,000.00 per taxpayer. The mechanics of the transaction is you direct the IRA custodian to issue and mail a check to the Museum. You cannot receive the funds. You must get an acknowledgement or receipt for tax purposes.

The acknowledgment or receipt must meet these tests:

  1. It must be written.
  2. It must include the amount of cash you contributed and whether the Museum gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain token items and membership benefits.)

The 1099 will be issued under your social security number by your IRA custodian. You will have to note on your tax return that you made a Qualified Charitable Distribution and match the dollar figure to the receipt.

As in any tax transaction, please consult your tax adviser first.

Monthly Giving

Need to spread out your financial gift? The Museum is able accept recurring donations. Simply let us know the amount and frequency. Whether the amount is $5 or $5,000, every dollar is put to work.

DONATION FORM (PDF)

In-Kind

We welcome in-kind donations including much needed materials as well as professional services.  Although the Museum is expansive, we very little coverer storage space.   To coordinate in-kind donations, please contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail info@socalrailway.org.

Wish List – Items

Palletainers (wire baskets)
We could use ten wire basket (stackable) palletainers or something similar in the 1,000-4,000 lb. capacity range. They will help us organize parts and better utilize space inside storage containers and car barns. If you are able to donate, please contact us.

Storage Containers
We could use more 20-foot or 40-foot containers in reasonable condition. Containers with roll-up doors would be particularly useful.

Self-Dumping Hopper
We need a new self-dumping hopper for trash collection. These hoppers are lifted by a forklift and tilt forward to dump their load into our large roll-off dumpsters when their locking pin is pulled by a person on the ground. The Stor-Quip Premium Series 2,000 lb. capacity hopper would be a good choice.

Golf Carts
At the Museum, electric golf carts and utility vehicles are very useful. Docents use them for giving guided tours, special event volunteers move supplies through a crowded venue, and maintenance volunteers transport their tools and material throughout the grounds.

Wish List – Professional Services

Transportation Services
The Museum is regularly offered valuable material donations from around the country. Small items are easy to ship, but for larger items, we need trucking services. We also have an ongoing need to move railcars and materials on the Museum property.

Signage Services
Our exhibit development programs can always use professional signage services.

Tax Information

The Museum is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

You may download a copy of the IRS Letter confirming the Museum’s non-profit status.

There are two IRS publications that may be useful:

The Form 990s that the Museum files with the IRS every year are available on Guidestar. For more information or questions, please contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail info@socalrailway.org.