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Cindy Westerman

Cindy WestermanFor Wilderness Society member Cindy Westerman, science has been an integral part of her life. “I majored in astronomy at Wellesley and received a master’s in meteorology from Cornell,” Cindy shared. “I’ve always loved science and cared about our planet and the environment.”

Cindy recalls the first Earth Day in 1970 inspired her to get even more involved with environmental causes. A family friend recommended that she look into The Wilderness Society. “Even though I grew up in New York City surrounded by concrete, I am drawn to nature and wilderness,” Cindy said. “I was impressed that The Wilderness Society was fighting to keep wild places wild, so I became a member in 1976.”

One of Cindy’s her favorite wilderness areas to visit is Glacier Park in the Rocky Mountains. She has visited Glacier several times over the years and is concerned about the impact development and population growth is having on it and other wild places. “Because more and more people are going to these areas, we are seeing negative impacts like over used trails, excess structures and more forest fires,” Cindy explained. “I don’t want to see these beautiful places destroyed.”

In addition to her long-term membership, Cindy decided in 1988 to join the Robert Marshall Council by making a gift to The Wilderness Society in her will. Cindy stated, “Even though I don’t have children, I care about the future of this planet. I want to help ensure that there are plenty of wilderness areas, free from development.”

Cindy continued, “I have been an active environmentalist most of my life and support a number of eco-friendly organizations. In today’s political climate, they need all the help they can get. When I made my estate plans, I knew I wanted to include gifts to those groups that I believe will help the earth. Therefore, as well as my current support for the Society, I am making a gift to it in my will. It’s something I care deeply about.”

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Wilderness Society a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Wilderness Society, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to The Wilderness Society or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Wilderness Society as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Wilderness Society as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and The Wilderness Society where you agree to make a gift to The Wilderness Society and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.