Frequently Asked Questions

What is the John Harvard Society?
When was the Society founded?
How do I join the Society? What are the membership benefits?
May I join the Society but remain anonymous?
What kinds of legacy gifts qualify? Does the dollar amount of a gift matter?
How do JHS member spouses or partners qualify?
How do Harvard alumni and friends maintain membership in the John Harvard Society?
Where can I get additional information about making a planned gift?

What is the John Harvard Society?
The John Harvard Society (JHS) recognizes generous individuals who have made a legacy gift for Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, or other programs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Legacy gifts include bequests and other estate plan provisions, as well as charitable trusts, gift annuities, and other planned gifts.

When was the Society founded?
The Society was established in 1989.

How do I join the Society? What are the membership benefits?
Simply inform the Office of Gift Planning that you have included Harvard in your estate plan or have made another planned gift that will benefit Harvard in the future. Members are invited to celebratory events and receive the Society bookmark, symbolic of John Harvard’s Library, Harvard’s first legacy gift.

May I join the Society but remain anonymous?
Yes, you may remain anonymous. We encourage you to inform us if you prefer not to be listed.

What kinds of legacy gifts qualify? Does the dollar amount of a gift matter?
You qualify for membership by making a bequest intention through your will or revocable trust or by naming an FAS affiliate as the beneficiary of a retirement plan or insurance policy at any level. We also welcome donors of life income gifts and other charitable trusts.

How do JHS member spouses or partners qualify?
Recognizing that planning decisions are made by families, we include spouses and partners on the membership roster. Once you notify the Office of Gift Planning that you have established a legacy or planned gift, you (and your spouse) will remain a member for life.

How do Harvard alumni and friends maintain membership in the John Harvard Society?
Membership is ongoing. Once you notify the Office of Gift Planning that you have established a legacy or planned gift, you (and your spouse) will remain a member for life.

Where can I get additional information about making a planned gift?
The Office of Gift Planning website provides an overview of gift planning options, including suggested legal language for a bequest intention and the process to name Harvard the beneficiary of a retirement plan or insurance policy. You will also find details about life income plans and other gift options.