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Look Forward with a Legacy Gift

It's a great time to consider a charitable bequest to Duke Engineering

From DukEngineer 2013

Judge CarrSeveral issues ago I wrote to you about what a great time it was to consider a charitable bequest to Duke University for the Pratt School of Engineering. Well, it’s an even better time now.

As you may know, we are in the early stages of the Duke Forward campaign, which aims to raise $3.25 billion to enrich the Duke experience, activate Duke’s power for the world and sustain the university’s momentum (for more information, go to

This comprehensive campaign includes a new “legacy gifts” initiative and we urge you to take this opportunity as an additional way to support your alma mater.

The university has set an ambitious goal of 1,200 new legacy gifts during the campaign and the School of Engineering’s fair share of this number is 240. We hope that you will help us with this initiative by including a gift for Duke University in your long-term plans.

A legacy gift allows you to make a pledge to Duke that will take effect in the future. Many of these gifts offer a “tax wise” way for you to support the Pratt School while making a more significant gift than might otherwise be possible. For example, you can include a bequest in your will or trust, fund a life income gift such as a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust, leave an IRA or other tax-deferred plan (Duke will receive 100 percent of the assets, whereas an individual might net less than 50 percent after taxes), or fund a charitable lead trust to reduce estate or gift taxes (learn more at Duke’s Gift Planning Office can provide sample bequest language, beneficiary designation information for an IRA or retirement account, and other gift information for you to review and approve with your advisors.

You can acknowledge your current plans to benefit Duke in the future by sending us a letter that outlines the details of your gift or by simply completing a “Confirmation of Your Legacy Gift” form (available from our office). Signing this form does NOT bind you or your estate in any way. It simply provides us with guidance as to your wishes and helps ensure that endowment or other documentation is in proper order. After completing the form, please send us an original and keep a copy with your other estate documents.

An endowment is a permanent fund that is often established in the donor’s name. It makes distributions each year for purposes directed the donor, such as a scholarship, fellowship, professorship, or unrestricted use. If you already have an endowment that benefits some part of the Pratt School, you can direct that your legacy gift be added to your existing endowment. Likewise, you may choose to fund a new endowment with your estate gift or leave it “unrestricted” to be used for the most pressing needs of the school when the gift is received.

When you confirm your legacy gift, you will be invited to become a member of the Duke University Heritage Society. If you elect to join, your name will be listed with other alumni and friends who have established a legacy gift for Duke University. You will also be invited to Heritage Society events and receive a certificate that is suitable for framing (see photo).

As always, we are happy to talk with you about planned giving options and to help answer any questions you may have. Thank you for considering this as one more way that you might support your school in the Duke Forward campaign.