Washington Performing Arts homepage

BOX OFFICE 202.785.9727

The Legacy Society

The Legacy Society is a group of generous donors committed to the long-term future of the arts in our region and beyond. These members have each designated a planned gift to Washington Performing Arts through an estate planning vehicle such as a bequest in their will, charitable trust, IRA charitable beneficiary designation, or life insurance policy charitable beneficiary designation. These gifts help sustain Washington Performing Arts' wide-ranging performance, education, and community programs in perpetuity.

There is no minimum required financial commitment to be a Legacy Society member. If you would like to consider making a planned gift to Washington Performing Arts, or if you have any questions, contact Meiyu Tsung at (202) 533-1880 or email her at Friends@WashingtonPerformingArts.org.

Why Make a Planned Gift?

When you include Washington Performing Arts as a beneficiary under your will, trusts, life insurance policies, retirement plans, or other estate planning documents, you can receive a variety of financial benefits, along with the satisfaction of enhancing the cultural life in the Washington, D.C. area and supporting the education and training of the next generation of exceptionally gifted young artists. You will also be recognized as a member of the Legacy Society and receive distinctive recognition for your commitment and sustaining generosity.

Depending on the gift vehicle selected, you can expect to take advantage of some or all of the following:

Planned-giving arrangements call for careful consideration and a complete assessment of your financial situation. Washington Performing Arts encourages you to consult with your attorney, tax advisor, or financial advisor about the application of planned gifts to your particular situation.

Ways to Give:

A bequest is a provision made in your will or living trust that specifically sets forth the portion or actual dollar amount that you would like to direct to Washington Performing Arts. However, today the term is widely used to include charitable gifts from a variety of estate-planning arrangements, including:

Gifts of Life Insurance Policies
A gift of life insurance is an ideal vehicle for making a significant charitable gift.

By naming Washington Performing Arts as the owner and beneficiary of an insurance policy, you may deduct the annual premiums payable on the insurance as a charitable contribution. Washington Performing Arts would receive a substantial amount, usually many times the annual premium.

Charitable Remainder Trust
When you create a charitable remainder trust, you guarantee a gift to Washington Performing Arts in the future.  In return, you receive an annual income for your life or up to a period of 20 years of at least 5% of the amount you use to fund the trust, together with an immediate tax deduction.

Charitable Lead Trusts
A charitable lead trust is a vehicle for transferring substantial assets to your children, grandchildren, or others with a reduced estate tax by permitting the income from those assets to go to a charitable institution such as Washington Performing Arts for a fixed period of time or for the life of one or more individuals. The income is distributed to the charitable institution each year for a chosen number of years, and  the income can be the same amount each year (a charitable lead annuity trust) or a percentage of the trust's value, determined once a year (a charitable lead unitrust). When the term is up, the remaining trust principal is returned to the donor or paid to the donor's family, with estate and gift taxes reduced or even eliminated.

Real Estate Gifts
Real estate often becomes the most challenging asset to deal with in an estate plan. To begin with, real estate may be your most valuable asset. It may be located in a different state than your state of residence. It may be your most illiquid asset. And the capital gains tax breaks available when you sell your personal residence do not apply to non-residential properties. You may find that transferring ownership to Washington Performing Arts, now during your lifetime, or with a deferred arrangement such as a charitable remainder or a bequest, may give you significant benefits while helping support Washington Performing Arts.

Gifts of Appreciated Securities
If you’re holding marketable securities with long-term capital gains, it may be a good idea to contribute shares of stock, rather than cash. If you’ve owned the security for more than a year, the charitable deduction is the current market value of the security and you avoid Federal income tax on the long-term capital gain. When giving appreciated securities to Washington Performing Arts, you can deduct up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, instead of 50 to 60 percent when you contribute cash. Any unused charitable deduction can be carried forward for up to five years. Your broker or investment advisor can wire your gift to Washington Performing Arts quickly and safely by using the Depository Trust Company (DTC) wire transfer system.

Charitable IRA Rollover
The “IRA Charitable Rollover” is an attractive option for IRA owners who have reached age 70½ . Ordinarily, an IRA owner must report withdrawals as income and pay income tax on them. The charitable IRA rollover provisions allow IRA owners over age 70½ to direct gifts from their IRAs to qualified charities – gifts that would count toward the IRA owner’s required minimum distribution (RMD) and not be reportable as taxable income (up to $100,000).  Direct gifts to charity from the IRA will not qualify for a charitable deduction.  The result is a tax break for those who do not itemize deductions and for those whose charitable gifts may exceed the deduction limits.  Check with your tax advisors to see if this option would be good for you.

Donor-Advised Funds
The recent popularity of donor advised funds has been astounding. “More than 36 million federal income-tax returns for 2013 reported deductions for charitable contributions, according to the Internal Revenue Service” (The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2015).  If you have made gifts to a donor advised fund, such as the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the National Philanthropic Trust, the Schwab Charitable Fund, or the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, you can direct/advise grants from your account to Washington Performing Arts.

Beneficiary under Qualified Pension or Profit-Sharing Plan, IRA, 401(k), or Keogh Plan
The advantage of naming Washington Performing Arts is that there is no income tax or estate tax cost taken out when a charity is beneficiary. If the distributions go to a spouse, the marital deduction will usually apply for estate tax purposes, although income tax will be paid. If the distributions go to others, such as children or grandchildren, both an estate tax and an income tax will be due, the aggregate of which can be as much as 75%.

Pictured above: (Inset left) Past Board Chair Reginald Van Lee and guitarist Jason Vieaux at a Legacy Society event; (Inset center) WPA President & CEO Jenny Bilfield presents the 2014 Ambassador of the Arts Award to pianist Leon Fleisher at a Legacy Society event hosted by the Ambassador of Belgium; WPA presented the 2019 Ambassador of the Arts Award to flutist Sir James Galway at a Legacy Society event hosted by the Ambassador of Switzerland H.E. Martin Werner Dahinden and Mrs. Anita Dahinden (L-R: Legacy Society Chair Stefan Tucker, Board Chair Tom Gallagher, Ambassador Dahinden, Mrs. Dahinden, Sir James Galway, Lady Jeanne Galway, Douglas Wheeler, WETA host Nicole Lacroix, and Jenny Bilfield)