Planned Giving and the Founder's Society

Your Legacy of Music

Founded in 1924, the Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. By retaining the highest musical standards and nurturing the world’s most promising musical talent, Curtis continues to make a significant contribution to the future of classical music. By including Curtis as a beneficiary under your will, trust, retirement account, donor advised fund or life insurance, you can receive the satisfaction of contributing to the school and future generations of Curtis students. With your planned gift to Curtis, you can create your “Legacy of Music” with one of most selective and respected schools in the United States.

The Founder's Society

Named in honor the school’s founder, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, the Founder’s Society recognizes individuals who have included Curtis in their wills, trusts, retirement plans or other estate-planning arrangements. When you include Curtis in your estate plan, Curtis will recognize you as a member of the Founder’s Society and keep you informed of performances and events during the school year. You can join the Founder’s Society by completing our non-legally binding Letter of Intent, or by contacting the Curtis Advancement Office.


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

  • lifetime revocable trusts, including “living trusts”
  • “payable on death” or “transfer on death” arrangements
  • beneficiary designations under retirement plans, such as IRAs, 401(k) plans, and 403(b) plans
  • life insurance proceeds, including term, whole-life and group plans

An example of a bequest to Curtis would be, “I give to the Curtis Institute of Music, now having its principal offices at 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [a percentage of the estate or specific dollar amount] to be used for its general support and charitable purposes without restriction.” Although Curtis does not provide legal advice, we invite you to contact the Curtis Advancement Office for more information about bequests, endowments, and naming opportunities.

Life-Income Gifts

Life income gifts include a number of charitable giving arrangement that pay you, or someone you designate, regular income for life, or for a term of years, after which the remainder of the gift is paid to Curtis. As deferred gifts to Curtis, life-income arrangements help to build the school’s endowment. They can be used to endow student fellowships, scholarships, and faculty chairs.

  • Charitable Gift Annuity
    For donors over age 65 who live in an eligible state, a contribution of $20,000 or more to establish a charitable gift annuity can generate a current tax deduction and a quarterly annuity payment for the rest of your life. With a gift annuity, Curtis agrees to pay an annuity to you, or to you and your spouse, for the rest of your life, or lives. The annuity amount is based on your age and the amount of the gift, and a portion of the annuity paid to you may be tax-free. A personalized illustration, based on your age and the amount of the gift you are considering, is available on request from the Curtis advancement office.
  • Charitable Remainder Trust
    A charitable remainder trust produces either variable or fixed income payments for life and a gift to Curtis of all remaining trust assets. It typically provides attractive tax benefits. For example, funding the trust with highly appreciated securities may significantly reduce capital gains. Restrictions apply when Curtis is asked to serve as trustee, including a minimum initial gift of $100,000. Contact the Advancement office at Curtis for more detailed information.

Charitable Lead Trusts

With a charitable lead trust, a donor transfers property to a trust that pays income to Curtis for a 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 of the trust is up, the trust’s assets are returned to the donor or paid to the donor’s family. A charitable lead trust may provide attractive gift and estate tax benefits for families with significant assets.

Real Estate Gifts with a Reserved Life Estate

If you intend to bequeath your personal residence, or vacation residence, to Curtis, you can obtain the same result and receive a current income tax deduction by giving the property to Curtis, retaining the use of the property during your lifetime. Some restrictions apply, as do the school’s policies for accepting real estate gifts. Please contact the Curtis Advancement Office for more details.

Your Planned Gift to Curtis

Planned giving arrangements call for careful consideration and a thorough 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.

For additional information, please call the planned giving office at (215) 717-3131 or email