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Plan Your Gift

Leave a legacy of investing in our communities

Giving through your will photoYou can make 501 Commons and investing in your community part of your legacy. We can work with you on gifts to 501 Commons that cost you nothing now, that provide for your family long-term, or that offer flexibility to suit other specific needs and wishes. As part of gift planning, we recommend that you as a donor consult with your tax advisor, attorney, and family. Please contact Nancy Long for information about how your commitment can make a positive impact on individuals, families, and communities at


A gift to 501 Commons from your estate through a bequest designation is a method of giving that enables you to achieve your financial goals and leave a legacy to your community. Making 501 Commons a beneficiary in your estate planning takes just a few steps to implement and is equally easy to change should you ever need or wish to make a change during your lifetime.

Bequests are a good choice for donors who wish to leave a legacy gift to 501 Commons, reserve the flexibility to easily change one's mind or the terms of the gift, or keep control and access to gift assets, just in case they may ever be needed.

You can express your commitment to 501 Commons, through your estate planning. Bequests can be easily created by including one of the following paragraphs, or similar language recommended by your estate planning attorney, within your Last Will and Testament.

Specific Bequest
“I give to 501 Commons of Seattle, Washington the sum of $_________ (OR all my right, title and interest in the following described property) to be used in such manner as the 501 Board of Directors shall, in its sole discretion, determine.”

Residuary Bequest
“I give to 501 Commons of Seattle, Washington the residue of my estate to be used in such manner as the 501 Commons board of Directors shall, in its sole discretion, determine.”

Proportional Bequest
“I give to 501 Commons of Seattle, Washington (a stated percentage or a fraction of the residue of my estate) to be used in such manner as the 501 Commons Board of Directors shall, in its sole discretion, determine.”

Contingent Bequest
“In the event that _______________ (name of spouse, child, sibling, etc.) shall not survive me, then I give the same to 501 Commons of Seattle, Washington to be used in such manner as the 501 Commons Board of Directors shall, in its sole discretion, determine.”

Retirement Plan Assets

501 Commons accepts funds it receives as the designated beneficiary of a retirement plan (for example, an IRA, a 401(k) plan or a defined contribution plan). 501 Commons should be provided by the donor with an executed designation form submitted to the retirement plan administrator to name 501 Commons as the beneficiary.

Trusts and Life Income

Charitable Remainder Trust
If you wish to consider a gift to 501 Commons that provides greater flexibility than other life income plans, a Charitable Remainder Trust (unitrust) may be the gift planning option for you.

A charitable remainder unitrust can help you maintain or increase income for you and/or your loved ones while at the same time providing a significant gift to 501 Commons. When your charitable remainder unitrust grows, your life income payments grow too, providing a hedge against inflation and other factors. This type of unitrust offers the flexibility of providing life income, while at the same time, a plan for a significant charitable gift.

There are key features of a charitable remainder unitrust that could be a good fit for you as a donor if:

  • You wish to provide income for yourself and/or others.
  • Your goal is the possibility of income growth.
  • You need to save income taxes or capital gains taxes.
  • You want to maintain control and choose the person who administers your gift and guides its investments.

We advise you to be in touch with your attorney and tax advisor to determine entrust specifics. Generally, the process to set up a charitable remainder trust is as follows:

  1. You irrevocably transfer cash, securities, or other property to a trust.
  2. You receive an income tax deduction and pay no capital gains tax. During its term, the trust pays a percentage of its value each year to you or to anyone you name.
  3. When the trust ends, its remaining principal passes to 501 Commons as a legacy gift.

Life Insurance Policies

A gift of life insurance that you no longer need can be an option for a donor to provide significant support to 501 Commons while having the benefit of leaving your cash flow unchanged and saving on taxes.

A gift of life insurance could be right for you if:

  • Your life insurance policy is paid up or has substantial cash value.
  • There are no loans outstanding against the policy.
  • Your family is provided for through other assets.
  • You would like to make a gift to 501 Commons by leaving a legacy gift.

If you have interest in gifting a life insurance policy, the gift can be generally executed as follows:

  1. The policy must be reviewed as a first step by 501 Commons for possible acceptance.
  2. You designate 501 Commons as a primary beneficiary or contingent beneficiary. This designation also allows you the flexibility to change your decision at any time.
  3. You gift your policy to 501 Commons, and as both beneficiary and policy owner, 501 Commons is able to record the gift of the policy. Policies preferably are fully paid policies, but 501 Commons will also record gifts of cash by the donor to be used to pay premiums on the policy. 501 Commons will either cash in your policy and use the proceeds or maintain the policy until it ends and then receive its face amount for its mission.

John Pehrson's Story

John Pehrson has had a long and enriching relationship with 501 Commons that had an interesting start. About three years after retiring from The Boeing Company as a program manager in 1988, John conferred with his former boss and Executive Service Corps of Washington (ESCWA) co-founder, Fred Maxwell, about a volunteer opportunity through ESCWA, which is 501 Commons’ antecedent. Boeing and the Washington State Schools Association were funding ESCWA’s effort to deploy and support skilled-volunteer teams of retired executives and education planners charged with helping school districts to design strategies to achieve a higher level of student achievement. The project lasted over a decade, helped the planning within 40 school districts across Washington, and was a great success.

John volunteered hundreds of hours, in service to Washington communities, by completing many more Executive Service Corps consulting projects. His exemplary communitarianism and leadership inspired the creation of the John Pehrson Award, which annually recognizes a Service Corp member for the “contribution of time and talent on multiple projects, as well as the willingness to go beyond expectations.”

“My work with 501 Commons was a wonderful transition from work to retirement,” John said. His Executive Service Corps volunteerism “opened doors to organizations that are important to him to this day.” John continued his commitment to public education with assignments with the Association of Washington State Principals, MESA Washington, the City of Seattle’s Families and Education Levy oversight, and the initiation of the Seattle Pre-school program.

John says that he “admires 501 Commons’ growth and success under the leadership of Nancy Long,” and asserts that strengthening hundreds of nonprofits, each year, is “vitally important to Washington communities.” His history with 501 Commons and deep appreciation of its mission moves John to make a significant annual financial contribution toward 501 Commons’ continuing progress. John “likes staying connected and pertinent to the organization” and contends that he “gets more out of being part of 501 Commons than he gives.”

In complementing his annual philanthropic commitment, John has made provision for 501 Commons to receive a “specific bequest” through his will that will be paid out over three to five years. John based his decision to donate, through his estate planning, on the following considerations:
  • He is fortunate to have resources beyond his family obligations that he can allocate in his estate.
  • The bequest celebrates the success and joy he experienced in the past, while positively affecting 501 Commons’ mission accomplishment now, as well as in the future.
  • It is easy to do.
Learn more about how you, too, can benefit people, families, and communities, throughout Washington and beyond, with a gift through your will. Read more about bequests; or, contact Nancy Long at