At the same time, this intergenerational wealth-transfer tool enables you to provide for your heirs, while sharply reducing gift and estate taxes.  When the term ends, trust assets are transferred typically to your children or grandchildren.

The annual payments to Harvard can be based on a fixed schedule determined when you fund your gift, or can be based on a fixed percentage of the value of the trust assets, and fluctuate from year to year.

The donor may establish the trust with either Harvard or their preferred trust company.


  • Federal gift and estate-tax deductions for the value of annual trust payments to Harvard may enable you to transfer to your heirs a larger estate after tax than would otherwise be possible.
  • Any appreciation in the assets during the term of the trust, while subject to capital gains tax, is not subject to gift or estate tax at the trust’s termination. 
  • Harvard's planned giving partner, TIAA Kaspick, can invest and administer your trust, with no separate management fee.


  • A minimum of $1 million is needed to establish a lead trust.
  • Cash and high-basis marketable securities are the best assets to fund a lead trust.

Diversified Investment Strategy

Harvard lead trusts are invested in a diversified portfolio designed to provide exposure to a wide variety of domestic, foreign, and emerging markets.

Request a Personal Gift Illustration

Please contact us at 800-446-1277 or use our electronic form.

Contact University Planned Giving

Please contact our office for information on gift strategies that can help you support Harvard’s teaching and research and provide significant benefits to you and your family. 

124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 800-446-1277 
or 617-495-4647
Fax: 617-495-8130
Tax I.D. #: ‌04‑210‑3580

Contact Us

Gift Strategies

Gift Strategies Spring 2022 PDF

Planned Giving Information

Explore the benefits of a variety of gift options with our planned giving calculator.

The ninth edition of The Harvard Manual on Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving, written by Carolyn Osteen and Martin Hall of Ropes & Gray, LLP is available. Order your copy today.