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Explore Planned Giving

Just as human beings’ need for the arts existed before our time, people will need to be uplifted, educated, and inspired long after we are gone. A carefully considered planned gift to ArtsFund ensures the arts that add so much to your life will continue.

To examine how a planned gift would benefit you and future generations, please ask for a confidential conversation with an ArtsFund staff member. We urge you to consider inviting your financial advisor to the meeting as well.

What can you accomplish with your gift? The possibilities are endless. Listed below, as examples, are short descriptions of some existing ArtsFund endowments. Following these descriptions is a list of some of the most common options for planned gifts.

ArtsFund Endowment Options

ArtsFund has established the following endowment fund options through which donors can achieve their arts charitable goals. The principal of all endowed funds is held permanently intact and is invested by the ArtsFund Foundation Board. Earnings are distributed through ArtsFund’s deeply informed and systematic allocations process to qualifying nonprofit cultural organizations as described on the Grants page of this site.

General Endowment Fund

Your gift of any size to the general endowment fund will join gifts from others in fulfilling ArtsFund’s mission of strengthening our community by supporting the arts through leadership, advocacy, and grant making. This Fund bears no individuals’ names and receives all undesignated bequests.

Management Excellence Funds

The following two named funds exemplify fulfillment of donors’ interests in making grants to arts groups demonstrating the highest managerial excellence. Each effectively employs ArtsFund’s sophisticated and comprehensive examination of applicant groups to identify and reward those groups that most effectively balance artistic aspiration with resource realities in addition to other criteria.

Ackerley Excellence Fund

Barry and Ginger Ackerley were very clear about their intent when describing their decision to create this Fund. Managerially high achieving arts groups should be acknowledged and rewarded, they felt, but their experience had been just the opposite. Community leaders were more likely called upon to save stumbling groups with large gifts. Therefore, the Ackerleys chose to employ ArtsFund’s allocations process to identify those demonstrating the highest managerial excellence so strong performers could receive meaningful recognition of their achievement in the form of add-on grants.

Peter F. Donnelly Merit Fund

In 2005, civic and arts patrons raised nearly $1.2 million to honor Peter Donnelly’s four-decade arts career. Grants are awarded to all beneficiaries based on management excellence. The Boeing Company committed to contribute $150,000 over five years so Donnelly Merit grants could begin in 2006 and continue while endowment earnings accumulated and pledges were fulfilled. Additional current and planned gifts to this Fund are welcome.

The Ned & Kayla Skinner Arts Enrichment Fund

Earnings from this Fund are directed to ArtsFund’s beneficiary organizations and to certain specific arts institutions based on the annual assessment of their performance. Should you share the Skinners’ interest in supporting the sometimes smaller, often more adventurous, arts groups typically found in these categories of recipients, you could add your contribution to this Fund, knowing that earnings from the combined total will make a greater impact.

Art Discipline Funds

By creating an endowment with a minimum gift of $500,000, you may direct earnings from your contribution – in equal proportions – to as many as three of the artistic disciplines identified below. Grant amounts will be spread across all ArtsFund beneficiaries in that (or those) discipline(s) regardless of organization size or county location. Please note that a fund created at the threshold level will not bear an individual donor’s name and gifts from other donors whose interests match will be comingled.

  • Dance
  • Music
  • Theatre & literary arts
  • Visual & media arts

Youth Arts Opportunity Fund

The Youth Arts Opportunity Fund aims to increase access to and participation in meaningful, robust, sustained arts experiences for youth with low socioeconomic status or who have historically lacked access to arts programs. The Fund provides flexible operating funds to arts organizations who demonstrate an authentic commitment to this work. Organizations that are currently members of ArtsFund’s Cultural Partners Network and have substantial programs that provide arts opportunities for underserved youth populations (grades K – 12) are invited to apply for funding.

Named Funds

ArtsFund Foundation donors of $1 million or more may name a fund for themselves or loved one(s) as well as its purpose. A named fund would make sense, for example, if you want to create an endowment to continue providing annual gifts to more than one specific organization you have nurtured during your lifetime. Your interest in creating a named fund may be fulfilled through a combination of current and irrevocable planned gifts of several forms, or by bequest. Given the permanency of endowed funds, we highly recommend talking with ArtsFund’s Vice President of Development Marlena Dzis-Corey ( or 206-788-3045) about your idea(s) so we can be certain we can fulfill your wishes.

Planned Gift Options

The most rewarding and enjoyable planned gifts fulfill both your charitable and financial management objectives. Most frequently, donors involve family members and trusted advisors in addition to a representative of the charity or charities they plan to support. The following information is provided to start your exploration, not to serve as your only source. We encourage your consultation with appropriate professionals.

Create A Bequest

Adding a designation to an existing will that creates or contributes to an endowed fund at ArtsFund can be a very easy decision to accomplish. Codicil language such as the following can be added to a completed will to adjust previously-defined plans:

“I add the following paragraph to Article ___________ of my Last Will:

I give the following to the ArtsFund Foundation, a Washington not-for-profit corporation, with its principal place of business at Seattle, Washington:

The sum of $__________________ [amount] AND/OR
_________% [percent] of the residue of my estate AND/OR
The following described property: [description]
I direct that these funds (following are options):

be added to ArtsFund’s existing general endowment fund to underwrite basic operations of dance, music theater, film and visual, literary and media arts in the Puget Sound region. OR
create the First Name (and First Name) Last Name Fund for Purpose (examples include: Theatre OR Dance OR Arts Education OR The Visual Arts, etc.). OR
create the First Name (and First Name) Last Name Fund, annual earnings from which are to be distributed equally to the following organizations: X, Y and Z.”
Some donors prefer contingent bequest language such as the following:

“If [name/s of primary beneficiary/ies] do not survive me, or die within ninety (90) days of my death, then I bequeath to The ArtsFund Foundation [describe property exactly as identified in bequest intended for named primary beneficiary].”

Donors who know exactly what they want some beneficiaries to receive but are uncertain as to the eventual value of their estates prefer residuary bequest language such as this:

“I give to The ArtsFund Foundation all [or a stated percentage] of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate.”

Designate a Beneficiary

Controlling the eventual size of your taxable estate while indicating charitable intent (beneficiary designations can be changed) is possible through establishing beneficiaries to receive asset transfers “Payable on Death (POD)” or “Transfer on Death (TOD).” Financial instruments for which this is possible include insurance policies, commercial annuities, certificates of deposit, and US savings bonds.

Retain Asset & Contribute Earnings

Charitable Lead Trusts enable you to retain ownership of your asset(s) while providing an annual income stream to support the arts. For example, such trusts have been used by donors interested in supporting a child or grandchild’s eventual college education through the sale of an appreciated asset. In addition to an income tax deduction at the trust’s creation, during the years the arts are supported with trust proceeds, the donor does not claim earnings.

Retain Earnings Stream & Contribute Asset

Charitable Remainder Trusts – either a Unitrust or Annuity Trust – receive a donor’s assets for the eventual benefit of the arts while creating scheduled variable or fixed lifetime returns respectively. Several variations are possible that meet different financial planning needs virtually requiring that this option be pursued through professional advisors. The important thing to know is that it is possible to achieve several objectives at once: create a perpetual source of arts support, secure a tax deduction, establish an income stream, and, if the donated property has appreciated value, avoid capital gains tax.

More Information

The key to a satisfying planned gift is in what the gift will accomplish – whatever specific structure you employ is only a means to that end. We encourage you to contact our Vice President of Development Marlena Dzis-Corey ( or 206-788-3045) to talk confidentially about your fondest dream for the perpetual support of the arts you love – ArtsFund will help you make it happen.