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California Institute of Arts and Letters is a 501(c)3 organization. It is through your generous donations that we are able to fund our organization. We appreciate all levels of giving and we thank you in advance for including us in your charitable plans. To make a gift in the form of stock or physical asset, please contact us at All gifts are tax deductible.

IRS Determination Letter

To make a donation online, please click on the link below. Thank you!



Planned Giving

A planned gift to the California Institute of Arts and Letters can offer you, and possibly your spouse and your heirs, lifetime income with significant estate and income tax savings, as well as the satisfaction of realizing your charitable goals.

Benefits of a Planned Gift:

  • Offers substantial income tax savings
  • Can produce secure, lifetime income for donor or heirs
  • Usually created with capital, not current income
  • Creates a lasting philanthropic legacy in the community

Developing an estate plan with the help of a professional advisor ensures that the distribution of your estate will be consistent with your wishes and philanthropic vision. We highly recommend that you seek the services of qualified and experienced estate planning professional who can best address the various steps involved in developing your plan. The 2001 Tax Act resulted in such extensive federal tax changes that it is now essential that you work closely with an advisor who is familiar with current tax law to achieve an effective charitable design for your financial and estate plans.

A charitable bequest to the California Institute of Arts and Letters is the easiest way to make a charitable gift, and offers significant estate tax savings. Bequests can be created by will or revocable living trust. A charitable bequest may be made with a gift of a specific sum of money, a percentage of the estate, or a particular asset such as stocks or real estate. The Institute may be named as residual beneficiary of all or part of the estate, or as a contingent beneficiary in the event the other named beneficiaries do not outlive the donor. Click here for an example of standard testamentary language that may be helpful in directing a charitable bequest to the Institute.

Charitable Remainder Trusts
The greatest opportunity to create a significant charitable contribution occurs when strategizing estate business and major financial decisions. In writing or revising a will, when considering the sale of a business or appreciated assets, or when planning for retirement, a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) can be a valuable tool for generating lifetime income, while also providing substantial tax savings. What remains in the trust beyond the lives of the income beneficiaries can become your charitable gift to the Institute.

Here's how it works: an irrevocable CRT is created using cash, appreciated stock, real estate, or other assets valued at $100,000 or more. The trust assets and receipts are invested and managed by the trustee as a single fund that generates life-long income to the donor. The charitable design of the trust allows for substantial income tax and estate tax deductions, and bypasses capital gains for any appreciated assets used in its creation. Designing and investing a trust for growth, rather than income, will result in reduced tax on your income payments. Upon signing the trust agreement and transferring the asset, you will begin to receive income payments according to the terms of the trust, and realize the significant tax advantages provided by this charitable gift. Upon your death, and any secondary designees, the remainder of the trust passes without probate to the California Institute of Arts and Letters. Your gift may be directed to a specific program or be unrestricted, depending on the terms of the trust agreement.

A Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT) provides lifelong income to you or your named beneficiaries. This is determined as a percentage of the fair market value of the trust, as re-valued annually, usually between five percent (the minimum required by law), and nine percent. With the help of skilled estate planners, a CRUT can be a versatile instrument that provides income, addresses specific events or family needs in your estate plan, and provides significant tax savings. CRUTs are one of the most popular estate planning tools used by savvy donors with charitable intent, and are often incorporated into a will to benefit a surviving spouse or partner.

A Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT) is similar to a CRUT in scope, but provides lifelong income in a fixed dollar amount rather than as a percentage of the trust value, even if the trust earns less (or more) than that amount. The payment amount remains the same, despite volatile trends in the stock market. Senior donors find this option especially appealing for the predictable and secure lifelong income it provides.

Charitable Lead Trusts
The basic premise of a Charitable Lead Trust (CLT) is the reverse of a charitable remainder trust. With a CLT, your create an irrevocable trust in which the California Institute of Arts and Letters receives the income from the trust for the duration of your lifetime, or a specified number of years, after which the remaining principal of the trust is distributed to your designated beneficiaries. The CLT is most beneficial to individuals in high federal gift and estate tax brackets who seek favorable tax savings by benefiting charity when transferring assets to named beneficiaries. The delayed transfer of assets to your beneficiaries under the terms of this trust significantly lowers applicable estate and gift taxes, preserves your estate for the benefit of family or heirs. The added value to you get to enjoy the satisfaction of charitable giving in your lifetime. One of the most important changes in the 2001 Tax Act is the gradual elimination of federal estate tax by the year 2010. Gift tax and transfer tax, though lowered, have not been repealed. However, a sunset provision was included in the legislation that will repeal all of the changes effective 2011, unless Congress acts to continue the tax cuts.

Retirement Plans

Diligent investors spend years of careful retirement planning to generate a sizeable nest egg that they plan to leave behind to loved ones. This is usually in the form of IRAs or other qualified retirement plans, savings bonds or long-term certificates of deposit with accrued interest. Often, these investments add up to become the largest assets in the estate. Income in Respect of a Decedent, or IRD, is how the Internal Revenue Service classifies these assets once you die. What is IRD? Simply put, IRD is income generated from an inherited asset on which the inheriting party must pay income taxes. Assets subject to IRD include: deferred annuities, immediate annuity payments made to beneficiaries, IRAs, pension plans including 401(K)s and similar plans, EE bonds, and any other income that would have been taxable to the deceased owner. IRD is included in the recipient's personal income for the year in which it was received and can cause a jump into a higher tax bracket. The income taxes due on IRD can cause an additional significant loss of inheritance on top of the estate tax cost. Careful attention to IRD is required when designing an effective tax-wise estate plan. Thoughtful planning can significantly reduce the taxes on IRD assets. By using IRD assets for charitable gift planning, you can make a significant gift to charity from an asset that would otherwise be subject to both income and estate tax. A significant charitable gift can be made at the cost of only a nominal reduction in the inheritance for your heirs. In some cases, IRD can be used to fund a CRT to provide an income stream to heirs.


  • Donor Advised Funds allow you to become a philanthropist and name your own fund with a minimum gift of $10,000. You receive a charitable deduction at the time of the contribution and can recommend grants for projects of your choice, immediately or in the future. You can also continue your philanthropy by adding to the fund at any time. For individuals and families seeking active involvement in philanthropy, Donor Advised Funds create a working partnership with the Institute. You are able to chart the course of your giving according to your own principles and convictions by making specific recommendations for grants for specific projects. You may establish the fund in your own or your family's name. Or, you may select a different name to protect your confidentiality.
  • Unrestricted Funds preserve your legacy as permanent named funds that provide the California Institute of Arts and Letters the flexibility it needs to meet ever-changing needs.


To open a fund, you can give from a range of assets, depending on your financial circumstances:

  • Outright Gifts - include cash, securities, real estate, or other assets
  • Bequests - all, or a portion of, an estate
  • Other Planned Gifts - These are vehicles that allow assets to be committed now and received by the Institute at a specified future date or upon your death