How a Life Income Plan Works

You can make a gift to Harvard through a trust or annuity that will pay you and/or another beneficiary annual income for life. At the death of the last income beneficiary, the remaining principal is transferred to Harvard. Gifts for Harvard’s general charitable purposes are most helpful in giving the University’s leaders the flexibility to apply the funds where needed most. However, it also is possible to designate your gift for a particular purpose.

How a Life Income Plan Works

  1. Donor transfers an asset to a life income plan.
  2. Donor/beneficiary receives annual income.
  3. When the plan terminates, the remainder principal passes to Harvard.

Additional Benefits

  • Savings on income, capital gain, gift, and/or estate taxes
  • The ability to convert low- or non-income producing assets into a gift with an attractive income stream
  • Professional management and investment diversification through Harvard Management Company

Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is a separate tax-exempt account into which you transfer your gift. Harvard Management Company will serve as trustee and thus handle the investment of the trust assets as well as legal and accounting administrative matters.

Harvard can pay you a percentage of the trust’s value as income, typically 5%. As the value of the trust changes, so too does your income.

Alternatively, the trustee can pay you a fixed payment each year, based on a percentage, typically 5%, of the funding amount of the trust.

Benefits

  • Quarterly income for life; support for your spouse or other beneficiaries
  • Potential for growth of income over time
  • Investment diversification
  • No capital gains tax on gifts of appreciated assets
  • Charitable income tax deduction
  • Gift and estate tax savings
  • Investment management services provided by Harvard Management Company with no separate management fee
  • Significant future support for Harvard’s research and teaching 

Trust Investment Options

Charitable remainder trusts can be invested with the Harvard endowment or in a manner geared to pay income taxed at lower rates.

Guidelines

  • Gift minimums are $150,000 for trusts with beneficiaries age 50 and older, and $250,000 for trusts with beneficiaries 45–49 years old.
  • You can donate a wide variety of assets to a unitrust—cash, publicly traded securities, closely held stock, real estate, art, antiques, collections, or intangible assets such as royalties.

Request a personal gift illustration

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

Performance History

Performance Return History (Annualized Return¹
Starting January 1, 2004, as a result of a special ruling from the IRS, qualifying trusts were able to invest in trust units with the University that provide each trust unit the exact same performance and distribution rate as the endowment.
Year Harvard Endowment Trust Tax Efficient Balanced Growth Tax Efficient Growth Tax Efficient Long Term/Aggressive Growth
1 Year 15.80% 16.26% 18.22% 19.20%
3 Year 10.10% 9.34% 10.29% 10.85%
5 Year 9.00% 10.27% 11.31% 12.21%
7 Year 7.70% 7.74% 8.53% 9.16%
10 Year 7.90% 7.71% 8.66% 9.27%
¹Model allocations live as of August 2020. Balanced Growth: CRT invested according to the historical model allocations in the Tax-Efficient strategy. Growth and Long Term Growth: Returns calculated using historical model. Tax-Efficient asset class returns at respective Growth and Long Term/Aggressive Growth Equity, Fixed Income and Gold strategic weights. Past performance is not any indication of future returns. Risk statistics 10 years, drawdowns since inception. As of December 31, 2020.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract between you and Harvard that offers a tax-advantaged way to provide for income during retirement. In the future your gift will provide support for Harvard’s mission.

You can begin to receive income right away, or at a predetermined future date. You also can decide when the income payments begin within a future time frame, determined when you make your gift. In any case, your income is taxed at a favorable blended rate.

Benefits

  • Steady, guaranteed lifetime payments, backed by the assets of the University
  • Charitable income tax deduction
  • Avoidance of capital gains tax
  • Savings on gift and estate taxes
  • Future support for Harvard 

Guidelines

  • Minimum gift of $25,000
  • Payments can begin at age 40 or later
  • Can be funded with cash, securities, or other property

Harvard University Gift Annuity Rates*

Income rates are based on your age or the age(s) of your beneficiary(ies) when quarterly payments begin.
 

Donor makes a gift today at current age(s)… …and annuity begins immediately at this rate... …or waits 5 years before annuity begins at this rate:
60 4.7% 6.3%
60/60 3.8% 4.8%
65 5.4% 7.3%
65/65 4.4% 5.8%
70 6.0% 8.1%
70/70 5.3% 7.2%
75 6.7% 9.4%
75/75 5.9% 7.9%
80 7.7% 10.6%
80/80 6.5% 9.1%

*Annuity Rates Current as of April 2021

Request a Personal Gift Illustration

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

For more information on charitable gift annuities please complete the form below.

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Pooled Income Funds

Pooled income funds consist of gifts from multiple donors that are combined into a trust invested by Harvard Management Company. Pooled income funds offer you income and tax benefits and ultimately support the work of the University.

A pooled income fund gift entitles you and/or your beneficiary to your proportional share of the quarterly income of the fund for life. On the death of the last income beneficiary, the principal of your gift will be used by Harvard.

Benefits

  • Quarterly income for life
  • Support for your spouse or other beneficiaries
  • Charitable income tax deduction
  • Avoidance of capital gains tax
  • Gift and estate tax savings
  • Future support for Harvard

Harvard Pooled Income Funds

  • Harvard Life Return Fund: Seeks to earn a sustained high rate of income over the long term and is invested primarily in fixed-income mutual funds.
  • Harvard Growth Fund: Generates modest income and seeks long-term growth of principal. The fund invests primarily in domestic equity securities.
  • Harvard Balanced Fund: Combines the strategies of the other two funds, and offers a moderate level of current income as well as opportunities for long-term growth of both principal and income.

Guidelines

  • A gift to a pooled income fund can be funded with cash or marketable securities.
  • Each of the funds requires a minimum initial gift of $25,000.
  • The minimum age for beneficiaries is 50 years old for the Life Return Fund, 25 for the Growth Fund, and 40 for the Balanced Fund.

Request a Personal Gift Illustration

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

Performance History

Harvard Life Return Fund

Harvard Balanced Fund

Harvard Growth Fund 

Harvard Life Return Fund

Year* Dividend Per Unit Average Dividend Yield
2000 $6.69 7.46%
2001 $5.46 6.00%
2002 $4.86 5.24%
2003 $4.85 5.03%
2004 $5.08 5.22%
2005 $5.40 5.38%
2006 $4.68 4.83%
2007 $5.01 5.28%
2008 $4.82 5.21%
2009 $4.14 4.46%
2010 $4.07 4.04%
2011 $4.29 4.16%
2012 $3.79 3.51%
2013 $3.27 3.07%
2014 $3.56 3.34%
2015 $2.94 2.77%
2016 $3.00 2.81%
2017  $3.02 2.84%
2018 $3.69 3.58%
2019 $3.59 3.38%
*Year ended December 31

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Harvard Balanced Fund

Year* Dividend Per Unit Average Dividend Yield
2000 $10.62 3.01%
2001 $10.26 3.18%
2002 $9.65 3.24%
2003 $9.27 3.09%
2004 $10.74 3.21%
2005 $10.89 3.03%
2006 $10.26 2.70%
2007 $10.75 2.58%
2008 $11.89 3.21%
2009 $10.68 3.08%
2010 $10.59 2.60%
2011 $12.26 2.72%
2012 $13.49 2.71%
2013 $12.13 2.14%
2014 $13.66 2.12%
2015 $13.25 1.95%
2016 $15.89 2.36%
2017 $14.96 1.99%
2018 $17.09 2.15%
*Year ended December 31

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Harvard Growth Fund

Year* Dividend Per Unit Average Dividend Yield
2000 $12.42 1.28%
2001 $12.53 1.45%
2002 $12.00 1.61%
2003 $10.12 1.38%
2004 $16.28 1.84%
2005 $18.11 1.87%
2006 $23.65 2.18%
2007 $23.85 1.89%
2008 $24.51 2.33%
2009 $21.75 1.94%
2010 $18.11 1.58%
2011 $20.67 1.56%
2012 $29.11 1.94%
2013 $28.23 1.54%
2014 $30.93 1.38%
2015 $36.31 1.49%
2016 $46.60 1.95%
2017 $40.61 1.44%
2018 $62.02 1.97%
*Year ended December 31   

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Contact Us

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. 

Planned Giving Information

Harvard's Tax I.D. number is 04‑210‑3580

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

University Planned Giving

124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 800-446-1277 
or 617-495-4647
Fax: 617-495-8130
Email: pgo@harvard.edu

Learn More

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
Email: pgo@harvard.edu
Tax I.D. #: ‌04‑210‑3580

Contact Us

Gift Strategies

Gift Strategies 2020 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.