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Martin Dodge smilingFor Martin Dodge, nature has always been a haven. Growing up in Connecticut, Dodge said, "I gravitated to the woods as often as I could. There was steep gorge nearby with a perennial stream and big trees. I would build forts and treehouses and just escape into the wilderness." Dodge's love of nature continued when he attended Colby College in Maine, where he founded and coached the school's woodsmen team as he majored in chemistry. "Had it not been for the joy and outlet that I had with the woodsmen team I doubt I could have overcome the academic challenges of my chemistry major," he remarked.

Following graduation, Dodge spent two years teaching junior high science. "Teaching is something I was born to do," he said. "I'd found my calling." But duty also called in the form of a draft notice. Dodge spent 3½ years in the Coast Guard stationed in Alaska during the Vietnam War. "Even during that difficult time, the surroundings were unbelievably inspiring and beautiful."

After his service, Dodge received his graduate degree in forest recreation and returned to the classroom, this time at the college level. "I taught at Finger Lakes Community College for 39 marvelous years before I retired," Dodge noted. "I so enjoyed leading 14 month-long expeditions to Alaska to immerse the students in the biological and spiritual significance of wilderness. And I still volunteer as a coach for the woodsmen teams at Finger Lakes. They are the most successful collegiate team in the country."

Dodge has passed on his love of the wilderness to countless students as well as his two daughters. "Now I'm working to ensure that my three young grandsons will also gain a deeper appreciation of nature," Dodge said. Because of his passion for conservation and wildlife education, Dodge decided to support The Wilderness Society through a gift in his will.

"If you want to promote wilderness values and preserve wild places, it's necessary to join with the organizations that are fundamentally in a position to make a difference," Dodge explained. "The existence of wilderness is so significant to the soul and spirit of humanity. Thoreau said ‘In Wild is the preservation of the Earth.' That's why, when I recently updated my will, I decided to include a bequest to The Wilderness Society."

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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.