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Legacy Giving

Planned gifts help secure a thriving future for Holden Forests & Gardens, while also allowing you to leave a vibrant, meaningful legacy.

Planned giving provides donors with an opportunity to leave a legacy to Holden Forests & Gardens.  These gifts may provide you with additional income, help minimize taxes, and assure the long-term future of the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden.

In appreciation, all who include the Holden Arboretum in their estate plans are inducted into the Albert Fairchild Holden Society.  Those who include the Cleveland Botanical Garden in their estate plans are inducted into the Perennial Society.  Membership to both societies includes invitations to special programs and mentions in HF&G’s annual report (as permitted).

Holden Forests & Gardens is a collaboration of two affiliates, the Holden Arboretum (EIN: 34-0750346) and Cleveland Botanical Garden (EIN: 34-0239538). Holden Forests & Gardens represents that its affiliates are qualified as charitable organizations and IRS section 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit organizations.

Unless otherwise designated, planned gifts are placed into the respective organization’s endowment fund.

Charitable Bequest

One of the most popular and easiest ways to leave a legacy is to include the Cleveland Botanical Garden and/or Holden Arboretum (dba Holden Forests & Gardens) in your will or estate plan.  A bequest is a gift made by a provision in your will or living trust.  It can take the form of cash, securities, personal property, or real estate.  If you already have a will, it is not necessary to change it.  Your attorney can prepare a codicil (amendment) to your current will or living trust to include the Cleveland Botanical Garden or Holden Arboretum. 

Your bequest may be for a specific amount or a percentage of your estate.  It can be unrestricted (used where needed most), or it can be restricted for a specific program (research, horticulture, etc.).   A residuary bequest identifies a gift percentage of the estate remaining after all other specific bequests and obligations are met.

Giving by bequest costs nothing now but may provide a great deal of satisfaction knowing that your gift will live on.  By sharing your bequest intentions with us, HF&G can thank you for your future gift and use the information to plan for our future. 

Sample bequest language:

“I give to the Cleveland Botanical Garden/Holden Arboretum, Tax ID# 34-0239538/34-0750346 ($) or (%) of my estate.”

“I give to Cleveland Botanical Garden/Holden Arboretum, Tax ID# 34-0239538/34-0750346 ($) or (%) of my estate to be used for “specific program”.

Gifts of Appreciated Securities

Gifts of stock or other appreciated securities to Holden Forests & Gardens may be a wise choice due to tax benefits.  Not only might you be able to claim an income tax deduction for the fair market value of the donation, but you can also avoid capital gains tax from the sale of an appreciated asset.  Please contact Holden Forests & Gardens staff to receive our stock transfer instructions.

Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets

The value of an IRA, Keogh, 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan that passes to an individual beneficiary may be significantly reduced by income and estate taxes.  This may reduce the value to heirs up to 35 percent.  Also, recent tax law changes have shortened the timeframe in which anyone other than a spouse may receive distributions from qualified retirement plans.  Instead, consider leaving all or some of these accounts to the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden, which do not pay income tax and qualify for a full estate tax exemption.  Consider these gift options:

  • Designate the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden as the primary beneficiary for a percentage (1 to 100 percent) of your retirement plan assets.
  • Designate a specific amount to be paid to the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden before the remainder of your retirement plan assets are divided among family beneficiaries.
  • Make the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden the contingent beneficiary to receive the balance of your retirement plan only if your loved one, as primary beneficiary, doesn’t survive you.

To implement your wishes, simply advise your plan administrator of your decision and sign whatever forms are required.

Qualified (IRA) Charitable Distribution

If you are 70 ½ or older, you may make a gift of any amount (up to a maximum of $100,000) per year directly from your IRA to a qualified charity, such as the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden.  Unlike your required minimum distribution (RMD), direct transfers to charity are not taxable and satisfy your required minimum distribution (RMD).

Charitable Gift Annuity

Through a simple contract, you agree to make an irrevocable gift of cash, stocks or other assets to the Cleveland Botanical Garden or Holden Arboretum.  In return, you receive (and/or someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for life.  The payout rate is based on the income recipient’s age and set by the American Council on Gift Annuities.   The balance of the charitable gift annuity is distributed to the Cleveland Botanical Garden/Holden Arboretum at the end of the last beneficiary’s life.

In addition to providing a gift to Holden Forests & Gardens and receiving fixed payments for life, you also receive these benefits:

  • Your initial gift is partially income tax–deductible.
  • Your charitable gift annuity payments may be partially income tax–free throughout your estimated
    life expectancy.
  • Your annuity payments are not affected by ups and downs of your principal value.
  • The gift annuity can be for one or two people, so your spouse or another loved one can also receive
    payments for life.
  • If you use appreciated stock to make a gift, you can usually eliminate a portion of capital gains tax of the gift and spread the rest of the gain over your life expectancy.

Life Insurance

Your life insurance policy can serve a charitable purpose that both covers a generous donation and leverages the value of your policy.  You might consider one of these options:

  • Naming the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden as the beneficiary of an existing policy
  • Donating a paid-up whole life policy that you no longer need
  • Purchasing a new life insurance policy and naming the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden as owner and beneficiary

Charitable Remainder Trust

There are two types of Charitable Remainder Trusts:

  • Charitable Remainder Unitrust – can be established with any type of assets, including business assets.  The donor retains the right to receive payments for life or for a specified number of years based upon a fixed percentage of the principal, revalued annually. 
  • Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust – An annuity trust is similar to a unitrust except that it pays a fixed dollar amount each year.  The payment remains the same throughout the term of the trust and does not fluctuate with market value. 

After the lifetime or the fixed term, the assets of the trust go to the Holden Arboretum or Cleveland Botanical Garden and/or other charities of your choice.

Both types of trusts allow for:

  • A partial charitable income tax deduction
  • Potential for increased income compared to other investments
  • Up-front capital gains tax avoidance
  • Professional management of trust assets

Charitable Lead Trust

A Charitable Lead Trust is an excellent way to transfer assets to heirs at a reduced transfer tax rate.  With this type of trust, the Cleveland Botanical Garden or Holden Arboretum is the recipient of the income stream from the trust for a specified term, after which the trust assets pass to the remainder beneficiary, most often the donor’s heirs.

For more information

For more information on planned gifts, please contact Deborah Miller, vice president of development at 216.707.2807 or or Chris Keeney, major gifts officer at 216.707-2834 or

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