Join and Give/ Donate/ Planned Giving

Planned Giving

Contribute to The Met's future by planning for a special kind of gift. Although cash contributions are always appreciated, there are other creative and flexible options that can benefit you and the Museum. You can help ensure The Met's future by creating a trust while you are living or by including the Museum in your will.

  • Appreciated securities are an excellent way of funding many of these gifts, often unlocking greater income while eliminating, or at least reducing, capital gains tax. (See the Planned Giving Glossary for a definition of the capital gains tax and other relevant terms.)
  • Donors who contribute through a planned gift or make a provision for the Museum in their estate plans are eligible to join The Met William Society.
  • Our Flickr collection includes photos from recent The Met William Society events.

Estate Planning Tip

One easy way to include the Museum in your estate plan is to name The Met as a beneficiary of your donor advised fund, retirement plan, IRA, or life insurance policy. Doing so is as simple as filling out a beneficiary designation form from your plan provider or administrator.

Best of all, such a gift qualifies for membership in The Met William Society, a group that recognizes the generosity of donors who contribute to the Museum in this special way.


Ways to Give

Donors who have remembered the Museum in their wills have benefited the institution in many ways, helping to build and maintain its collection and providing indispensable support for exhibitions, scholarly publications, conservation efforts, and a range of educational activities. A bequest is one of the simplest ways to provide for The Met's future and can take many forms.

You may arrange for the Museum to receive:

  • a specific dollar amount
  • specified assets, such as securities, real estate, or tangible personal property
  • all or a percentage of the remainder of your estate after all other obligations (a residuary bequest)

You may make a bequest to the Metropolitan by preparing a new will or adding a codicil to your present will. An outright bequest to the Metropolitan is fully tax-deductible for estate-tax purposes.

How to Make a Bequest: Useful Language

The most useful bequest is an unrestricted bequest for the general purposes of the Museum. This permits the Museum to use your gift wherever it is most needed at the time.

Suggested language for making an unrestricted bequest: "I give, devise and bequeath [the sum of ____ dollars], [all or ____ percent of the rest, remainder and residue of my estate of every kind and description (including lapsed legacies and devises)] to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, for its general corporate purposes."

Suggested language for a specific purpose: "I give, devise and bequeath [the sum of ____ dollars], [all or ____ percent of the rest, remainder and residue of my estate of every kind and description (including lapsed legacies and devises)] to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, to create an endowment fund which, subject to the Museum's endowment spending rule, is to be used for the following purpose: [state the purpose]."

Important Note: If you do specify a use for your bequest, the following language will ensure that your gift will always remain productive: "If at any time in the judgment of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art the designated use of this bequest is no longer practicable or appropriate, then the Trustees shall use the bequest to further the general purposes of the Museum, giving consideration, where possible, to my special interest as described above."

The Met William Society recognizes and honors those friends and Members of The Metropolitan Museum of Art who have made a commitment to the future of this institution by including the Museum in their estate plans.

You may become a member of The Met William Society by:

  • Making a gift to the Metropolitan in your will or trust
  • Participating in a life income arrangement for the benefit of the Museum, such as a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity
  • Creating a lead trust for the benefit of the Metropolitan
  • Naming the Museum as a beneficiary of a retirement plan or life insurance policy
  • Promising a gift of a work of art that the Museum has agreed to accept

We hope that you will join us.

There are no dues or fees associated with membership in The Met William Society. With their permission, members are listed in the Museum's Annual Report and on the Museum's website, and also receive invitations to exclusive events at the Museum. Most important, members of The Met William Society know they are ensuring the Metropolitan's standard of excellence for future generations.

Who is William?

One of the most popular ancient Egyptian figures in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum—and sometimes referred to as the Museum's unofficial mascot—"William" was originally intended to provide protection and power in the afterlife. As the symbol of The Met William Society, this beloved hippopotamus embodies the enduring qualities of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In celebration of The Met William Society's twentieth anniversary, we are delighted to share a reprint of an article explaining the origins of William's name that appeared in the June 1931 Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin.

This agreement between you and The Met provides you with an annuity, an annual fixed payment for life, in exchange for irrevocably transferring assets to the Museum.

  • Gifts can be made with cash or marketable securities. The minimum gift is $10,000.
  • The fixed payment amount you receive will be determined by how much you contribute and your age at the time the gift is made.
  • Income for life may be paid to one or two annuitants. The minimum age at which an annuitant can receive payments is 65.
  • A portion of the payment is tax-free.
  • A charitable deduction is available for a portion of your contribution on your income tax return in the year you make the gift.
  • It is possible to defer receiving payments for one or more years. This will result in higher annuity payments, higher tax deduction (available in the year you make the gift), allowing you to enjoy increased retirement income.
  • Use our Planned Giving Calculator. The calculator is designed to provide you with an illustration of the income and tax benefits to which you may be entitled if you establish a charitable gift annuity to benefit The Met. When using the calculator, please list charitable gift annuity when asked for "gift type."

Example 1

Mrs. Butler, who is 75 years old, establishes a $10,000 gift annuity for the eventual benefit of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. At her age, she will receive payments fixed for life at 5.8% ($580 per year) paid in quarterly installments of $145, some portion of which will be tax free, and can claim an immediate charitable deduction of about $4,577 on her federal income tax.

Example 2

Ms. Wise, who is 55 years old, establishes a $10,000 gift annuity that defers payments for ten years. She can claim an immediate charitable deduction of about $3,794 on her federal income tax. When she turns 65, she will begin to receive payments fixed for life at 6.3% ($630 per year), some portion of which will be tax-free.

Ms. Wise can add significantly to her retirement income by establishing a new deferred-payment gift annuity each year for a number of years, creating a growing stream of income for her. She will be able to claim a charitable deduction on her income tax each year a new annuity is established.

Example 3

Mr. Young, who is 66 years old, has already retired. He is comfortable with his income at the moment but is concerned that he will outlive his resources. Therefore, he establishes a $100,000 gift annuity with payments deferred for six years. He can claim an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction of about $48,785 on his income tax. When he turns 72, he will begin to receive payments fixed for life at 6.3% ($6,300 per year), some portion of which will be tax-free.

The examples provided here are based on calculations as of July 2014 and are for illustration purposes only. The donors are composites and do not represent actual contributors to the Museum. Specific updated examples can be provided on request at no obligation.

This arrangement is an individually managed trust that may be tailored to meet your specific financial needs and can provide either a fixed or variable income for the life of the beneficiaries or for a set number of years, not to exceed 20.

The donated assets (typically cash, securities, and/or real property) are irrevocably transferred to a Trustee. There are two variations:

  • A charitable remainder annuity trust pays income as a fixed dollar amount that remains constant for the term of the trust.
  • A charitable remainder unitrust pays income that varies from year to year.

At the termination of the trust, the remaining assets pass to The Met for its general purposes or for the use you specify. A charitable deduction for a portion of your contribution is available on your income tax return in the year you make the gift.

Our Planned Giving Calculator is designed to provide you with an illustration of the income and tax benefits to which you may be entitled if you establish a charitable remainder trust to benefit The Met. Please use either charitable remainder annuity trust or charitable remainder unitrust (as defined on the calculator page) when indicating "gift type." For proper results, please indicate under "term type" either the birth date(s) of the income beneficiary(ies) or the number of years (up to 20) you wish the trust to last.

Example

Kim Willis is 72 years old and, while he would like to make a significant gift to The Met, he is concerned about providing for his 71-year-old wife. He decides he can do both, by creating a charitable remainder annuity trust from which she will receive the income during her lifetime. He takes $750,000 of appreciated securities and establishes a trust to pay 6% ($45,000) a year to his wife for her lifetime. Mr. Willis knows that if he sold the stock, the capital gains tax on the appreciation would consume a good portion of the proceeds. By establishing the trust, he ensures that his wife will enjoy income from the full $750,000 as well as be eligible to claim a federal income tax charitable deduction. Mr. Willis's greatest pleasure comes from knowing that The Met will receive the principal remaining when the trust ends—a much larger gift than he ever thought possible.

This example is for illustration purposes only. The donor is a composite and does not represent an actual contributor to the Museum. Specific updated examples can be provided on request at no obligation.

This arrangement operates somewhat like a mutual fund. The Fund accepts irrevocable gifts from many donors, manages them as a common fund, and then distributes the income proportionately to the beneficiaries.

  • You can make gifts with cash or marketable (but not tax-exempt) securities. The minimum gift is $10,000.
  • The income may be paid to one or two beneficiaries and will vary depending on the earnings of the fund.
  • You will receive an immediate income tax charitable deduction for some portion of your gift.
  • Upon the death of the beneficiary, the remaining principal passes to the Metropolitan for the purpose the donor has stipulated or for the Museum's general purposes.

Our Planned Giving Calculator is designed to provide you with an illustration of the income and tax benefits to which you may be entitled if you make a planned gift to benefit The Met.

Example

Mr. and Mrs. Deitch, who are 57 and 64 years old, have $10,000 worth of stock that they bought in 1974 for $6,000. Although it has appreciated, the annual income from the stock is quite low. If they sell the stock, however, they will have to pay capital gains tax. Instead, they use the stock to make a gift to the Metropolitan Museum Pooled Income Fund and receive the following income and tax benefits: payments to both spouses and then to the survivor, for life, at about 3.7% for the first year (future income will vary with fund earnings), based on the full $10,000; and an immediate charitable deduction of about $3,888 on their federal income tax.

The example provided here is based on calculations as of July 2014 and is for illustration purposes only. The donors are composites and do not represent actual contributors to the Museum. Specific updated examples can be provided on request at no obligation.

This arrangement provides income to The Met for a period of years, after which the trust property typically passes to the donor's heirs.

  • Income-producing assets that are expected to gain in value, such as stock or income-producing real estate, are irrevocably transferred to a trust. A minimum gift of $100,000 is recommended.
  • The Museum receives income from the trust for a specified number of years, after which the property in the trust is transferred to the heirs without the imposition of any additional taxes.
  • An immediate charitable deduction on your gift tax return is available for the present value of the total income stream the Museum will receive during the trust term.
  • This gift can reduce or effectively eliminate the gift and/or estate tax that would normally be payable on the transfer of these assets to your heirs.

Our Planned Giving Calculator is designed to provide you with an illustration of the income and tax benefits to which you may be entitled if you establish a charitable lead trust to benefit The Met.

Example

Mr. and Mrs. Wheeling, who wish to make a significant gift to the Museum, have a son to whom they would like to transfer a substantial block of stock. He is young and they do not wish to burden him with the management of these assets at this time. They have good reason to expect that the value of the stock will appreciate in the coming years, and would like to remove it from their estates so as to avoid estate tax in the future. Since they do not depend on the income from these assets, they decide that a charitable lead trust may be the way to fulfill both of these objectives.

With this plan, the Wheelings are able to ensure that:

  • The Museum can plan for the use of a stream of income for a number of years.
  • When the trust terminates, the assets in the trust will pass, with no additional tax, to their son.
  • The trust property has been removed from—and therefore is not taxable in—their estate.

This example is for illustration purposes only. The donors are composites and do not represent actual contributors to the Museum. Specific updated examples can be provided on request at no obligation.

With gifts involving retirement, life insurance, or real estate assets, there are many variables to consider. Please call the Planned Giving Program at 212-570-3796 or email planned.giving@metmuseum.org to discuss your particular situation.

Retirement Assets

Retirement account assets, if left to anyone other than a spouse, may be subject to very high taxation. However, by designating The Met as recipient of any benefits remaining in your retirement plan, you may effectively reduce the taxes on those assets.

Life Insurance

You may wish to make the Museum the beneficiary of a policy.

Real Estate

The gift of your home is a unique and meaningful way to support The Met. You can enjoy the satisfaction of making such a gift during your lifetime—without affecting your current lifestyle—by a special arrangement called a retained life estate. Real estate can also be a valuable asset when used to fund either a charitable remainder trust or a charitable lead trust.

The Planned Giving Calculator is easy to use!

The calculator is designed to provide you with an illustration of the income and tax benefits to which you may be entitled if you make a planned gift to benefit The Met. Simply enter the relevant information in the spaces provided and the calculator will estimate your benefits.

Options available for the "gift type" box are described below.

If you have questions as you enter the relevant information, please use the "Help" button below the calculator.

These calculations are for illustration only and are based on the information you provide. Your actual benefits may vary. The results do not obligate you in any way. Information contained in this website should not be considered legal, accounting, or other professional advice.

Annuitant: One who receives annual fixed payments from an annuity

Annuity: A fixed sum payable annually

Appreciated securities: Stocks and/or bonds that have increased in value since they were acquired

Beneficiary: The person named to receive the income from, or remaining assets of, a trust

Bequest: A gift through one's will

Capital gains tax: The tax imposed upon profits realized from the sale of financial assets that have increased in value since they were acquired

Codicil: An addition to a will that either modifies it or revokes part of it

Gift tax: A tax imposed on someone who gives money or property to another person without compensation

Irrevocable gift: A gift that cannot be annulled, undone, or changed

Mutual fund: An investment company that invests the money of its shareholders in a diverse group of securities of other corporations

Present value: The value, in today's dollars, of assets to be received at some future time

Principal: The initial sum invested or borrowed, or the remainder of that sum after payments have been made

Real property: Immovable property; land, together with all the property on it that cannot be moved, together with any attached rights; often referred to as "real estate"

Retained life estate: The right to use property for life (usually a residence or a farm) after contributing the remainder interest to a charitable institution

Retirement accounts: Qualified plans like IRAs and 401(k) accounts that permit individuals to accumulate savings tax-free for retirement

Tangible personal property: Includes movable objects (e.g. china, books, cars, clothes, art, etc.) but does not include land, buildings, or other forms of real estate (real property—see above), or stocks, bonds, copyrights, cash, or other "intangible" personal property

Trust property: Property held in trust by one person (trustee) for the benefit of another (beneficiary)

Variable income: Payments received on a regular basis that are subject to change, not fixed

Contact Us

For more information on how these gifts might work for you, please call Planned Giving at 212-570-3796 or email us.

Planned Giving
Development Office
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028-0198