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Planned Giving to GWS

Helping You Care for Special Places
in Perpetuity

You care about the world’s special places. You want them to be cared for — forever. We do too. When you include the George Wright Society in your estate planning, you are helping to ensure a vibrant community of park-focused researchers, managers, educators, practitioners, and activists will continue to support interdisciplinary place-based conservation for generations to come.

Whether your gift is large or small, remembering the GWS in your estate planning is meaningful because it shows you care deeply about the world’s natural and cultural heritage. And you can be assured that we’ll steward your final act of generosity in the same spirit and with the same care that you devote to protecting your favorite protected/conserved places.

Already included GWS in your estate plans?

Yes, it is — no matter how much you have in the bank, or how old you are. If you have possessions, you have an estate. Every day, you manage your affairs carefully to protect your interests and those of your loved ones. Estate planning is simply the extension of this care to how your physical possessions and financial wealth are distributed after your lifetime. Here are some of the most popular means of managing your estate via planned giving.


Wills and living trusts.

Making a bequest to GWS through your will or trust is the easiest way for you to support our mission of protecting and conserving the world’s parks, protected/conserved areas, and cultural sites.  And it makes a lasting statement about what matters most to you. You can give money, securities, real estate, or other kinds of tangible property. You can specify an amount or a percentage of your estate — and we have sample language you can use. Making a gift through your will or trust won’t cost you anything during your lifetime, and you retain complete control — you can change your gift at any time. After your death, your estate may realize tax benefits by virtue of your planned gift.

Beneficiary designations.

If you’d rather make a gift another way, you can name GWS as a beneficiary of your:


  • IRA or other retirement plan

  • Life insurance policy

  • Donor-advised fund

  • Commercial annuity


It’s easy. Start by requesting a change-of-beneficiary form from your policy administrator, insurance agent, or bank representative, or download the form from your provider’s website. Make your desired changes and return the form to establish your gift. Your assets pass directly to GWS with no legal fees, and your estate may realize tax benefits. You can change your mind at any time, so you retain complete control and flexibility.

Make a tax-saving immediate impact by giving to GWS from your IRA.

  • If you are 70½ years old or older, you can give any amount (up to a maximum of $100,000) per year from your IRA directly to GWS without having to pay income taxes. This popular gift option is called the IRA charitable rollover, but it’s also referred to as a qualified charitable distribution, or QCD for short. Your QCD gift will be put to use right away, allowing you to see the difference your donation is making.

  • If you are 72 or older, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution (RMD).

  • Either way, you pay no income taxes on the gift, and you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions. This may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.

  • If you’re at least 59½ years old, you can take a distribution and then make a gift from your IRA without penalty. If you itemize your deductions, you can take a charitable deduction for the amount of your gift.


In memoriam: Give to GWS to remember or honor a loved one.
Providing a memorial or tribute gift to GWS is a meaningful way to honor a loved one who has passed away or to celebrate a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, of a living relative or friend. Either way, you are making a statement about that person and their values while making a lasting impact by supporting our conservation mission.  

Give to the GWS Dedicated Fund for Operations.
Established in 2020 through a generous gift from a family of long-standing supporters, the GWS Dedicated Fund for Operations (DFO) is a separate portfolio of investments managed by the Board of Directors as a quasi-endowment. This means that, barring an emergency need, only a small percentage of the value of the DFO is tapped (on an annual basis) to underwrite GWS’s general operations. The vast majority is left in the DFO to accrue value, helping us to continue to provide programs and services in perpetuity.

To earmark a bequest or other gift for the DFO, simply use this sample language.


Other options.
There are numerous other ways to provide for GWS in your estate: charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, gifts from your donor-advised fund, gifts of real estate and valuables. and more. Explore them with your financial and legal advisors, or call us at 906-487-9722 and we’ll help get you started.

Already included GWS in your estate plan? Let us know!
If you have already made provisions for a planned gift to GWS, please let us know. We would like to thank you for your generosity. And, if you aren’t already a member of the George Meléndez Wright Circle, our senior advisory group made up of our most dedicated supporters, we will welcome you to its ranks, too. By letting us know, we can ensure that we fulfill your gift exactly as you intend. Please complete this form or contact us at 906-487-9722 to let us know. Information you share will be kept strictly confidential and we respect any desire to remain anonymous.

IMPORTANT: When making a bequest or other gift of any kind, please specify that you are donating to The George Wright Society, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose address is P.O. Box 65, Hancock, MI 49930-0065 USA, federal tax ID 38-2360876.


The material we provide here is for informational purposes only. Before making any changes or commitments that would affect your charitable contributions or estate planning, always seek professional financial and legal advice to make sure any gift you make to GWS will fit your goals. Questions? Write us at — we’ll be happy to help.


Thank you for your generosity!

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