Planned and Legacy Giving

The Foundation has always helped donors steward their philanthropy throughout and beyond their own lives.

Planned and legacy giving through the Boston Foundation is an excellent way to establish a charitable legacy. We offer many avenues to incorporate charitable giving into your estate planning—and we can help you decide which type of gift is right for you. 

Donors who have made or intend to make planned or legacy gifts to support the work of the Foundation are invited to join one of the Foundation’s legacy societies, which unite donors with similar planned giving intents.

    Did you know you can expand your philanthropy with a paid-up whole life insurance policy that you no longer need? Find out how in this 90-second video from the Boston Foundation.

    Planning for the Future

    Planned giving combines financial, estate and tax planning to help donors make charitable gifts, often with dramatic tax and financial benefits. 

    Many Boston Foundation donors put in place succession plans for their Donor Advised Funds. These plans can be crafted to reflect your personal charitable goals. For example, a portion or all of your Donor Advised Fund may be used to establish a permanent fund that is either unrestricted (meeting the most pressing needs of Greater Boston) or benefits broad areas of interest most meaningful to you, or benefits one or more named charities. Of course, you can also name successor advisors so that your fund continues as a Donor Advised Fund.

    The Boston Foundation offers a range of planned giving vehicles—and planned and legacy gifts can be made to benefit any type of fund at the Foundation. Email our Director of Estate and Gift Planning or call 617-338-2340 for more information.

    Planned Giving Tip from the desk of:

    Emma B. Penick, MBA
    Director of Estate and Gift Planning
    The Boston Foundation

    Thinking of Selling a Rental Property?

    Did you know…that appreciated rental property from which you’ve deducted depreciation expense makes a doubly great gift to charity? 

    This is because…the capital gains tax on this property can be on practically the full value, but if you give the property to charity, you may get a deduction for the full market value and pay $0 in capital gains tax.

    More detail: The depreciated amount lowers your cost basis, in some cases close to $0. This means if you were to sell the property yourself, you would have to pay capital gains tax on the entire fair market value. But if you instead give the rental property to charity, you get a deduction for the fair market value, the charity sells the property, and because the charity is exempt, no capital gains tax is owed. Note that if the property has been subject to accelerated depreciation rather than straight-line depreciation, your deduction will be for the fair market value minus any excess in accelerated depreciation over straight-line depreciation.

    We advise you to seek your own legal, tax and financial advice in connection with gift and planning matters.  The Boston Foundation and its staff do not provide legal, tax or financial advice. 

    Emma Penick headshot

    Contact Director of Estate and Gift Planning Emma Penick to learn more about planned and legacy giving.

    Legacy Giving

    Leaving a legacy can include bequests, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, gifts of life insurance and gifts of retirement plan assets. Legacy gifts also may include "complex assets," which include gifts of real estate, restricted stock, tangible personal property and other illiquid assets.


    A bequest to the Boston Foundation is a wonderful way to ensure that the charitable causes that are important to you and your family continue to be supported beyond your lifetime. Bequests can be made by will or revocable trust. A bequest to the Boston Foundation ensures that the charitable causes important to you and your family continue to be supported beyond your lifetime. Bequests can be made by will, trust or beneficiary designation.

    Charitable Lead Trusts

    With a charitable lead trust, income payments are made initially to a charitable fund at the Boston Foundation for a term of years or for the lives of individuals. At the end of the term, the remaining assets pass to heirs or other individuals you designate. Charitable lead trusts can be established during life or by will.

    Boston Foundation Director of Estate and Gift Planning Emma B. Penick, MBA, shares the basics on turning required IRA distributions into charitable gifts in this one and a half minute video.

    Charitable Remainder Trusts

    Charitable remainder trusts are flexible vehicles that allow the donor to make a charitable gift but retain an income stream for the donor and/or others for life or a fixed number of years (up to 20). These trusts are particularly well suited for gifts of appreciated securities and other assets such as real estate producing little or no income at the time of the gift.

    Gifts of Life Insurance

    You can make a gift to the Boston Foundation by naming the Boston Foundation as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

    Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets

    When retirement assets pass to your heirs, they can be subject to both estate and income taxes. Many donors are electing to avoid these taxes by designating the Boston Foundation as the beneficiary of their retirement accounts and designating other assets (such as stock or real estate) to their heirs.

    There are other ways to plan your legacy giving; see our list of giving vehicles. For more information on gift policies, please contact the Office of Development and Donor Services at 617-338-1700.