You may provide for Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, or the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in many ways, including:

  • a codicil to your will
  • an amendment to your revocable trust
  • a retirement plan beneficiary designation
  • naming Harvard the beneficiary of your life insurance plan
  • a donor-advised fund or private foundation succession plan

Estate plans should be prepared by and with the advice of an attorney to ensure that your intentions are carried out. The Office of Gift Planning staff is available for additional information on the various methods of designating a bequest to Harvard.

Sample Bequest Language

A general bequest, unrestricted as to purpose:

“I give (____ dollars) or (____ percent of my estate) to Harvard University, a Massachusetts educational, charitable corporation, for the benefit of [Harvard College] [the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences] [the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences] for its general purposes.”

An endowment bequest for a specific purpose:

“I give (____ dollars) or (____ percent of my estate) to Harvard University, a Massachusetts educational, charitable corporation, for the benefit of [Harvard College] [the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences] [the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences], the income to be used for (state the purpose). If, in the future, in the opinion of Harvard University, all or part of the income of this fund cannot be usefully applied to the above purpose (or in the above manner), it may be used for any purpose within the corporate powers of the University that will most nearly accomplish my wishes and purposes.”

Giving Through Retirement Plans

Designating Harvard as a beneficiary of your retirement plan is an especially tax-wise way to support the College or other programs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Harvard receives all or a part of the plan assets in full, undiminished by estate and gift taxes.

Retirement accounts can be the most highly taxed assets many people hold, as they may be subject to both income tax when distributed as well as estate taxes. In a large estate, these taxes can leave less than 30 cents on the dollar of these plans for your children or other heirs.

By naming the FAS as the beneficiary of your retirement plan, the full amount of your legacy gift is available for a designation that you specify such as financial aid, faculty research or teaching, or unrestricted funds that provide the dean with flexible support.

You can designate Harvard as a beneficiary of part or all the remainder of your IRA or retirement plan.

How it Works

  • Request a beneficiary designation form from your plan’s administrator. Many plans permit you to make the change directly online.
     
  • Complete the (printed or online) form using any of the following suggested language:
    • Harvard University, for the benefit of Harvard College*
    • Harvard University FBO Harvard College*
    • Harvard Univ. FBO its College*

*or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) or the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Harvard Paulson School)

Any individual who is 70½ or older can transfer tax-free gifts (maximum $100,000 each year) directly from their IRA to Harvard using the Qualified Charitable Distribution.

Legacy Pledge

A legacy pledge allows you to receive reunion gift credit for a pledge that combines an outright gift with a gift through your will. Y0u can establish a legacy pledge beginning at your 50th reunion, and your pledge may be designated for unrestricted use through the Dean's Leadership Fund, the Graduate School Fund, or for other priorities of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

You will have the opportunity to make a significant gift to Harvard, while retaining use of assets to meet life needs. 

How it Works

  • The Office of Gift Planning prepares an enforceable pledge agreement, in which you (and your spouse) agree to pay at least 20 percent of the total commitment within a specific number of years (as many as five).
  • You fulfill the remaining pledge balance during your (and your spouse's) lifetime or through a provision in your estate plan.  
  • A legacy pledge can be combined with an IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution as a tax-wise gift strategy for your reunion. 

For Professional Advisors

The Office of Gift Planning welcomes the opportunity to work with you and your clients on tax-efficient ways to support Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Harvard Paulson School) or other entities within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Please contact us directly for information or confidential assistance.

Legal Name

All charitable gifts should be directed to “Harvard University.”* It is important to include a further designation to Harvard College, GSAS, or the Harvard Paulson School to ensure that your client’s objectives are properly carried out within Harvard. 

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

Harvard’s federal taxpayer identification number is 04-2103580. 

For a copy of Harvard University’s 501(c)(3) IRS determination letter, please contact:

Harvard University
Alumni and Development Services
124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1750
gifts@harvard.edu

For assistance in drafting bequest provisions, please contact:

Harvard University
FAS Office of Gift Planning
124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-496-3205
ogp@harvard.edu

For assistance with realized gifts from trusts and estates to Harvard, please contact:

Harvard University
Alumni and Development Services
124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Attn: Elizabeth Kinsman, Estates and Special Investments
617-720-6582
estates@hmc.harvard.edu

*The corporate name of Harvard University is “President and Fellows of Harvard College.” Harvard University, a registered trademark for the corporation, may be used interchangeably with “President and Fellows of Harvard College.”

Contact Planned Giving

Email: ogp@harvard.edu
Phone: 617-496-3205 or
1-800-VERITAS (ask for the Office of Gift Planning)