Some gifts are more valuable than cash—and won’t cost you anything today.

Explore all the ways you can incorporate a gift for the California Academy of Sciences into your estate, will, living trust, retirement plan, or other financial asset. 

Prefer giving now? Make a donation in any amount, or join our Donor Circle with a gift of $1,500 or more.


Wills and trusts
Including the Academy in your will or living trust is an easy way to make a lasting difference for the future—and control your own financial security during your lifetime. You can choose to leave the Academy a specific amount or percentage of your estate, or the balance remaining after distributions have been made to other beneficiaries. Visit our Starting Your Planned Gift page for some sample language you can use when setting up your bequest.


Retirement plans and bank accounts
Make a plan to support science in the future by leaving all or part of the balance of your IRA, 401(k), or other financial account to the Academy. All you have to do is submit a simple form to your plan administrator naming us as a beneficiary. We’ll receive the assets tax-free; you’ll still be able to take withdrawals and modify your beneficiaries if your family’s needs change during your lifetime.



Required minimum distribution
Your retirement plan’s required minimum distribution (RMD) can be used to make a tax-free gift to the Academy, ensuring your hard-earned savings can be put to work at an organization that matters to you. If you are 70 ½ or older, up to $100,000 of your otherwise taxable RMD can be paid directly from your IRA to the Academy as a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), fulfilling your distribution requirement and eliminating taxable income.


Charitable gift annuities
Set up a simple contract to support the Academy’s future: We’ll invest your gift of cash or securities, and in return, you’ll receive fixed, recurring payments for life—and a tax deduction. Enjoy a reliable income stream during your lifetime, regardless of market fluctuations—and when the contract ends, the remaining balance of your gift annuity will go to the Academy.


Appreciated securities
Transfer appreciated stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares to the Academy and avoid capital gains. We’ll sell the securities and use the tax-free proceeds to support the Academy’s mission, and you’ll receive a tax deduction for the full value of the gift. Download a PDF of our transfer of assets form.



Donor-advised funds
Donor-advised funds (DAFs) let you set aside money or assets for future giving, enjoy an immediate tax deduction, and then decide how, when, and where to donate the resources. Many administrators of DAFs will also allow you to name the Academy as a beneficiary of your fund. Click below to open the DAFwidget, where you can give directly from your DAF.


More ways to give

There are as many ways to give as there are donors. Explore more options below—and let us know if there's another way you'd like to support the Academy.


By donating cryptocurrency directly to the Academy instead of selling it first, you can avoid paying capital gains on the donation, allowing you to make a larger gift with no extra cost to you—just like donations of appreciated securities.

Cryptocurrency is energy-intensive. If you wish to offset the carbon footprint of your gift, you can learn more at Climeworks. Have questions about the Academy's policy on cryptocurrency? Contact us. 

Please be aware that gifts of appreciated non-cash assets, including cryptocurrency, can involve complicated tax analysis and advanced planning. Please consult with your tax or legal advisor.

Life insurance

If you own a life insurance policy you no longer need, contact us to learn more about the different ways you can use it to regenerate the natural world today or for the future.

Wondering if planned giving is right for you?

View the top four reasons why making a future gift to the Academy is a great investment, or contact us for more information.

The Academy is not engaged in legal or tax advisory services and cannot provide legal or tax advice. Please ask your legal, financial, and/or tax professional to advise you on how to make a gift that is best for your unique needs and goals.