Gift Planning: Forward Thinking for Greater Impact


Director of Gift Planning

E-mail Dorea


Welcome to the Office of Gift Planning. We are here to help you make a difference for Sarah Lawrence College.

Planned, or deferred, gifts are a way to effect your twin goals of providing support for Sarah Lawrence and staying within your particular financial parameters. There are a number of ways you can maximize your support for Sarah Lawrence, while ensuring that your, and your family's, needs are being met.

Whatever your financial objectives, the IRS has provided vehicles for charitable giving that can address most situations.

For more detailed information on making a planned gift, contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Ways to Give

There are a number of ways you can maximize your support for Sarah Lawrence while ensuring that personal and family needs are met.

Gifts of Securities/Stock

Sarah Lawrence will benefit from the full value of your gift and you will not be liable for any capital gains or investment income tax on the investment’s gain. Please review the securities transfer instructions and gifts of stock authorization form, or contact Rosemarie Gherardi at 914.813.9293 or via e-mail.


One of the easiest and least expensive ways to benefit Sarah Lawrence and reduce estate taxes is to include a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust. Since updating or revising your will is simple, bequests allow you the most flexibility and security should your circumstances or plans change.

Types of Bequests
  • Outright: Funded with specified assets such as cash, securities, real estate, or personal property
  • Residual: Provides a share of the remainder of your estate after your heirs have been provided for
  • Contingent: Distributes property only if you outlive your heirs
  • Testamentary Trusts: Provides one or more heirs with income for life, after which the assets are transferred to Sarah Lawrence
Make a Bequest
  • You can provide a bequest for Sarah Lawrence by revising your will, adding a codicil to your existing will, or including the College in a revocable trust. Sample wording: "I hereby give, devise and bequeath to Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, the _____% of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate (or $_____, or property) to be used for general purposes (or your purpose here)."
  • If you designate your bequest for a specific purpose, consider including a provision that will ensure your gift will continue to provide for the College's needs. Sample wording: "If the trustees of Sarah Lawrence College determine at any time that such purpose is obsolete, inappropriate, or unfeasible, the trustees may use this bequest for any purpose that will most nearly accomplish my wishes."

For more information about bequests, download the information sheet,or contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A charitable gift annuity is a contract between Sarah Lawrence and a donor specifying that in return for a gift of cash or marketable securities, the College will provide the donor and/or another beneficiary fixed payments for life. The payment rate is based on the age of the beneficiaries at the time the gift is established and the value of the gift.

A deferred gift annuity permits the donor to delay gift annuity payments at least a year from the date of gift. This permits a higher payment rate than would be earned on an “immediate payment” gift annuity.

Gift annuities provide:

  • Fixed lifetime payments
  • An income tax charitable deduction
  • Favorable taxation

Shirley Bourquin ’60, on why she uses charitable gift annuities to give to Sarah Lawrence: “I get payments for life. It turned out, financially, to be a smart move. The payment rate I receive from the Sarah Lawrence gift annuity is far better than interest or dividends right now. It makes me feel good knowing that Sarah Lawrence will enrich someone else’s life the way it enriched mine.”

For more information about charitable gift annuities, please try the gift planning calculator, download the information sheet, or contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust is a legal entity that receives, holds, and invests assets, providing income to beneficiaries designated by the donor for life or a term of years. At the end of that time, the trust ceases to exist and the assets remaining in the trust are distributed to Sarah Lawrence.

As a donor, you have great flexibility in designing a charitable remainder trust. You determine the age and number of beneficiaries; you set the payment rate (the minimum is 5%) and other parameters. Charitable remainder trusts can be designed to make fixed (annuity) payments or variable (unitrust) payments.

When a charitable remainder trust is made irrevocable to Sarah Lawrence, it can be credited to the College as a gift at full current value.

Cash, marketable securities, or any other asset (income-producing or not), including real estate, can be used to establish a charitable remainder trust. Most charitable remainder trusts are created with a minimum of $100,000.

Your estate-planning or tax advisor can help create a charitable remainder trust with your personal interests and needs in mind.

Jean Chandler Miller CCE ’88, and her husband Lewis, worked with the Office of Gift Planning to structure a gift that best met their financial needs and philanthropic goals. Jean and Lewis benefit from the generous payments from the charitable remainder trust they established. Eventually, the trust will create The Lewis and Jean Chandler Miller CCE ’88 Endowed Scholarship at the Center for Continuing Education, giving future generations of deserving CCE students a life-changing education.

For more information about charitable remainder trusts, please try the gift planning calculator or contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Charitable Lead Trusts

A charitable lead trust receives, holds, and invests assets, providing gifts to a charity designated by the donor for a term of years. At the end of that designated time, the assets remaining in the trust are distributed to the donor’s beneficiaries. A charitable lead trust enables a donor to make a significant current gift to Sarah Lawrence and ultimately transfer the assets in that trust to heirs.

For example, a donor could create a named, endowed scholarship fund at Sarah Lawrence with gifts from a charitable lead trust. Because an important feature of a lead trust is that it makes current gifts to the College, students would begin benefiting from that generosity with the first gift.

There are many ways to design a charitable lead trust, depending on your financial situation. Most charitable lead trusts are created with a minimum of $1,000,000. Your estate-planning or tax advisor can help you create a charitable lead trust with your personal interests and needs in mind.

For more information about charitable lead trusts, contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Retirement Plans

Assets in a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) can make a wonderful gift to Sarah Lawrence College.

Lifetime Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets

The Charitable IRA Rollover is now permanent. If you or your spouse are age 70½ or older and must take distributions from your IRA, you are permitted to distribute up to $100,000 annually directly from your IRA to charity, without incurring federal income tax liability on the distribution. This distribution will count toward your required minimum.

Please note that not every financial institution identifies the donor on the IRA Rollover check. Include a copy of the IRA Distribution Request you send your fund manager or e-mail us to let us know to expect your gift, so we can thank you promptly.

Donors between ages 59 ½ and 70 ½ are permitted to take distributions from their traditional retirement plans with no early-withdrawal penalty. These funds can be used as a gift to Sarah Lawrence either outright or as a life income gift. The income tax liability you incur on this IRA withdrawal is partially offset by the charitable income tax deduction you will earn by making your gift. Please consult your tax advisor to make sure this type of gift works with your financial situation.

Executing your gift:

  • For your gift to qualify under the IRA Rollover rules, your IRA/401K plan administrator must write a check from your IRA account directly to Sarah Lawrence College. Please direct the fund administrator to identify you as donor on the check.
  • You may ask the administrator to mail the check to you. (The fund administrator may require a Medallion Signature Guarantee, obtainable from a commercial bank. If so, the commercial bank will require a recent statement for your IRA account.) Then please send the check to us with a copy of your IRA Distribution Request Form and/or a cover letter explaining that it is an IRA Rollover gift and identify the fund you wish to credit.
  • Unfortunately, many plan administrators send IRA Rollover gifts to charities without identifying the donor. Regardless of whether your plan administrator or you send the check to us, please notify us via e-mail

Managing the paperwork:

  • You will need your Sarah Lawrence receipt to help your tax advisor reconcile your required minimum distribution and the 1099's you will receive from your plan administrator. Keep your IRA Gift Rollover Gift Receipt in the folder where you keep your IRA and pension 1099's.
  • You may also wish to keep records of your total charitable giving but remember to segregate your IRA Rollover gift from ordinary charitable gifts. While the IRA Rollover is not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes, you will not be taxed at all on the distribution.
Estate Charitable Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets

Estate gifts of traditional IRA assets made outright to Sarah Lawrence are free of both estate and income taxes. There is an unlimited federal income tax charitable deduction: every gift to charity from an estate reduces the size of the estate and the potential estate tax.

Traditional IRA assets left to heirs are subject to both income and estate taxes. Left to your estate or to heirs, an IRA may be worth less than 30 cents on the dollar. Heirs are better off if you use your IRA as an estate charitable gift, with other assets left to the heirs.

A traditional IRA can be used to fund a testamentary charitable remainder trust, free of income tax and with substantial savings of estate taxes. There may be no estate tax due at all on this gift if a spouse is the beneficiary of the trust. As always, please consult your estate-planning or tax advisor for guidance on the best way to use your retirement plan as a charitable gift.

For more information about giving to Sarah Lawrence through retirement plans, please contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Life Insurance

Sarah Lawrence welcomes gifts of paid-up life insurance policies that may no longer be needed to protect your family.

Many employers provide life insurance as a benefit of employment. You can name Sarah Lawrence as a beneficiary of that policy. The value of your gift to Sarah Lawrence would be the cash-surrender value of the policy.

For more information about giving to Sarah Lawrence through life insurance policies, please contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, at 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Wealth Replacement Plan

A wealth replacement plan uses payments and/or tax savings from a life income gift to pay the premiums on a life insurance policy that replaces the assets used to make the gift.

For example, a donor can create a life income gift such as a charitable gift annuity. The gift annuity is designed to generate gifts to heirs in an amount equivalent to the life insurance premiums. The heirs take out a policy on the life of the donor, using the gift annuity payments to pay the premiums. Since the heirs own the policy, not the donor, it is not included in the donor’s estate and is therefore not subject to estate taxes. Upon the demise of the income beneficiary/insured, the charity receives the gift annuity remainder and the donor’s heirs receive the life insurance benefit.

If a donor were to create a charitable remainder trust as part of a wealth replacement plan, the donor might also set up a non-charitable insurance trust (Crummey trust). In this case, the Crummey trust takes out a policy on the donor’s life to benefit the heirs. The trust, not the donor, is the legal owner of the life insurance policy, which is not included in the donor’s estate. Since life insurance benefits are also not subject to income tax, the heirs receive the benefits of the policy free of tax.

Another approach to a wealth replacement plan is to have the payments from the life income gift used by the heirs to invest in growth instruments. The heirs will pay capital gains tax on any appreciation, but the capital gains tax rate is favorable compared to the ordinary income tax rate.

Your estate-planning or tax advisor is your best resource to determine whether a wealth replacement plan is right for you.

For more information about wealth replacement plans, please contact Dorea Ferris, Director of Gift Planning, a 914.813.9251 or via e-mail.

Legacy News

Legacy News: The William & Sarah Lawrence Society recognizes the many alumni and friends who have informed the College that they have included Sarah Lawrence in their estate planning. It is named for William Van Duzer Lawrence, and his wife Sarah Bates Lawrence, in whose memory he created the College.

Current Issue: Fall 2017

In this Issue

  • Creating a Legacy
  • Charitable IRA Rollovers Help Fund Student Scholarships
  • Her Bequest Plans Made More Possible
  • Sarah Lawrence Welcomes President Cristle Collins Judd
  • Making the Most of IRA Rollover Gifts
  • Sarah Lawrence is Most Grateful to Our William & Sarah Lawrence Society Members
  • Passion + Purpose: Internships Help Students Focus on Careers

Read the Fall 2017 issue (PDF)