American Museum of Natural History


A Never-Ending Legacy

Throughout our lifetime, most of us strive to make a difference in the lives of others, providing gifts to the people and causes we value. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you could continue to change lives even after you are gone, creating a legacy of support for the causes most important to you? By creating an endowment with the American Museum of Natural History—or adding to our existing endowment—you can give a gift that lasts forever.

How It Works
You give cash, securities, or other assets to the Museum for a new or existing endowment.

Determine if your endowment will fund a specific program or service, or be given without restrictions—allowing the Museum to direct the funds to our most critical needs.

We use a small portion of the fund to support our mission, and the balance remains invested to perpetuate the endowment.

Tip: You can use an endowment gift to honor someone important to you who appreciates the work we do. Consider designating your endowment in his or her name as a way to celebrate them.


A Quick Example

Sam wants to support our annual needs by writing a check for $5,000 to the American Museum of Natural History each year. Sam qualifies for a $5,000 federal income tax charitable deduction (when itemizing taxes) each year the gift is made.

Sam would also like to leave a legacy and makes a generous estate gift of $125,000 to establish a new endowment at the Museum. This is the amount needed to ensure the Museum continues to receive the annual $5,000 into the future. (See chart.)

Sam is able to support our current needs while living with annual gifts. After Sam’s lifetime, we use a portion of the endowment each year to fund our programs and reinvest the remainder, allowing it to grow and support annual payouts indefinitely.

If your annual gift is: Amount needed to endow your gift forever*:
$2,500 $62,500
$5,000 $125,000
$10,000 $250,000
$20,000 $500,000
*At a 4 percent endowment spending level, 25 times an annual gift amount equals a perpetual gift.

4 Key Steps to
Creating an Endowed Gift

  1. Put It in Writing
    If you are creating an endowment through your will or living trust and want it to be for a specific purpose, in most cases, you must explicitly state this. If you are establishing one during your lifetime, the Museum will work with you to outline how you want it to be used.
  2. Determine the Amount Needed
    If you are creating an endowment today, the Museum can inform you of the minimum amount required. If you intend to create one through your estate, the Museum recommends you specify a set amount in your will or living trust, then include a provision directing your executor or personal representative to distribute more funds if needed, should minimums change.
  3. Include Safety Language
    Nationwide, millions of dollars directed to specific purposes sit idle in bank accounts because the funds are no longer needed. We encourage you to include a statement that allows the Museum to redistribute the funds to another area if the original purpose is no longer necessary.
  4. Lean on the Museum for Help
    We respect the personal nature of these decisions and have experience with the sensitive issues involved. the American Museum of Natural History would be glad to consult with you to help ensure that your wishes are satisfied.

Next Steps

We would love to work with you to help you create a lasting legacy that honors your values for many years to come. Please contact us today to learn more about establishing an endowment with the Museum.

American Museum of Natural History
John Matthews,
Director, Planned Giving

Phone: 212-769-5119
200 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

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