Planned Giving

Leave a legacy for Curtis

Deferred giving arrangements such as bequests and life-income gifts assure the continuation of Curtis’s celebrated musical tradition and esteemed legacy.

When you include Curtis as a beneficiary under your will, trusts, life insurance policies, retirement plans, and other estate plans, you can receive a variety of financial benefits along with the satisfaction of supporting the education and training of the next generation of exceptionally gifted young musicians at Curtis. You will also be recognized as a member of the Founder’s Society and receive distinctive recognition for your sustaining generosity...

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

To learn more, contact Charles Sterne III, director of principal gifts and planned giving, at or (215) 717-3126.

Ways to make a planned gift


Although a bequest is literally a gift specified in your will or codicil, today the term is widely used to include charitable gifts from a variety of estate-planning arrangements, including:

    • lifetime revocable trusts, also called "living trusts"
    • "payable on death" or "transfer on death" arrangements
    • retirement plans, such as IRAs, 401(k) plans, and 403(b) plans
    • life insurance policies, including whole-life and group plans

Life-Income Gifts

Life-income gifts are those which pay the donor (or other designated individual) regular income while helping Curtis build a stronger endowment to support the education and training of exceptionally gifted musicians. As deferred gifts to the school's endowment, life-income gifts ensure the continuation of full-tuition scholarships for all Curtis students.

Charitable Lead Trusts

With a charitable lead trust, the donor transfers property to a trust that pays income to Curtis for a specific number of years or for the life of one or more individuals. 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 Curtis, 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 Curtis.

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 Curtis, you can deduct up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, instead of 50 percent when you contribute cash; however, any excess charitable deduction can be carried forward for up to five years. Your broker or investment advisor can wire your gift to Curtis quickly and safely by using the Depository Trust Company (DTC) wire transfer system. Please refer to our Wire Transfer Instructions for more details. 

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 70 ½ to direct gifts from their IRAs to qualified charities – gifts that would count toward the IRA owner’s minimum distribution requirement (MRD)  andnot 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 Curtis. If you do so, please remember that gifts received from donor-advised funds cannot be applied against a legally binding pledge, and you cannot receive benefits (goods or services) from Curtis in return for the gift.