Gifts of Cash
Gifts of cash can be used immediately to support our work or deposited into one of the Museum's Endowment Funds. Checks should be made payable to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum with a note as to the designation of your contribution, particularly if you wish to restrict your gift to a specific program or Endowment Fund. Please contact us if you would like to discuss specific options.
Return to Planned Giving
Gifts of Securities
Gifts of securities that have appreciated in value are an excellent way to support Cooper-Hewitt. You can deduct the full fair market value of your appreciated securities (if owned more than one year) and you save again by avoiding all capital gains taxes.
A bequest is a gift made by will or trust. A bequest can allow you to make an important contribution to a charity without diminishing your assets during your lifetime. Here is sample bequest language to include a bequest to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum:
I give [the residue of my estate], or [_____________% of the residue of my estate], or [the sum of dollars] to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., for the benefit of its Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
If you have already prepared a will, your attorney can add Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum as a beneficiary through a simple amendment called a codicil.
In addition to cash, you can make a bequest of securities, real estate, or items for the Museum's collection. If you wish to bequeath an item for the collection or decide to designate your gift for a specific purpose, we strongly advise you to discuss your intentions with us to ensure we can fulfill your wishes. Our policy is to accept objects only if we intend to accession them into the collections.
A Charitable Remainder Trust provides you with income for either life or a fixed term from the date the gift is made. When the trust terminates, Cooper-Hewitt receives the trust's principal. An immediate income tax charitable deduction is available for an amount equal to the present value of what the Museum can be expected to receive when the trust terminates. You select the beneficiaries, trustees, and the distribution rate.
Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust – a trust that is planned to provide a fixed payout.
Charitable Remainder Unitrust – a trust that is planned to provide a variable payment that fluctuates with the value of the underlying assets.
A Charitable Lead Trust allows you to transfer assets to a trust that pays an annual amount to Cooper-Hewitt for a set number of years, with the assets in the trust ultimately passing on to another beneficiary, such as your children. With proper planning, the trust may be able to help you pass assets to a younger generation with significantly reduced gift or estate taxes.
Charitable Gift Annuities
This type of gift provides you and/or another beneficiary with fixed income for life in exchange for an irrevocable gift of cash or securities to Cooper-Hewitt. The rates of return depend on your age at the time of the gift, but rates are generally higher than those available from money market accounts, for example. Income payments can be given to you on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. You can start receiving income immediately or defer it until you retire. You will receive an income tax charitable deduction immediately upon making your gift, and a portion of each annuity payment is tax-free income.
Life insurance can offer an attractive way to make a major gift to Cooper-Hewitt. By naming the Museum as the beneficiary (or contingent beneficiary) of an existing policy, you retain lifetime ownership of the policy, keeping the right to cash it in, borrow against it, and change the beneficiary. Because you retain the ownership of your asset (the policy), your estate can take an estate tax charitable deduction, but you will not receive an income tax charitable deduction for this future gift or for any premium payments during your lifetime.
If you name Cooper-Hewitt as the irrevocable beneficiary and owner of a life insurance policy (by taking out a new policy or transferring ownership of an existing policy), you can obtain an immediate income tax charitable deduction equivalent to either the policy's cash surrender value or replacement value. If additional payments are due, you can also deduct those payments as charitable donations each year.
Retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s are subject to "double" taxation upon death. The combination of estate and income taxes can seriously erode the value of retirement savings if left to an individual other than a spouse. Naming Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum as the beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of all or a portion of these assets is an option to consider, while leaving other, less taxed assets to your heirs.
Gifts to the Collections
The Museum welcomes gifts of objects to the collections. We ask that gifts be made in the areas in which we collect and that you notify Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum of your intentions beforehand so that we may review and approve your gift. You may also choose to give a fractional interest in an object during your lifetime, which will allow for a current charitable gift deduction for the value of the percentage that is given to the Museum. Your remaining interest in the object would be promised to Cooper-Hewitt and could be given during your lifetime or through your will or trust.
The purpose of this web page is to provide information of a general nature only. Advice from your own legal and tax counsel should be sought when considering any gift arrangement.