Legacy Giving

Legacy Giving

The Peabody Essex Museum is grateful to those patrons and friends who consider making provisions for the museum in their estate plans. There are many ways a planned gift to the museum can be mutually beneficial to the donor and the institution.

We are happy to work with you, your family and your advisor to answer questions about plans and help explore scenarios that could provide income for life, favorable tax advantages and other opportunities for you and people you wish to provide for.

Request information on how you and PEM can benefit from legacy gifts.
View our sample bequest language.
For more information, email legacygiving@pem.org.

Nathaniel Bowditch Society

Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) was a founding member of the East India Marine Society (the progenitor of today’s Peabody Essex Museum) and among the most brilliant mathematicians and astronomers of early America. His book The New American Practical Navigator is considered a classic and is still in use today.

Through his will, Nathaniel Bowditch left many of his personal effects and the then-handsome sum of $1,000 to the East India Marine Society. His planned gift was one of the first such bequests to the Society. Given almost two hundred years ago, it continues to help sustain the museum today — figuratively and literally connecting the past to the future.

Mr. Bowditch’s example is the inspiration for today’s Nathaniel Bowditch Society. The Peabody Essex Museum established the Nathaniel Bowditch Society to recognize and honor individuals and families who support the future of the museum by making a legacy gift such as a bequest or life income gift. Nathaniel Bowditch Society Members meet annually and are invited to all special museum events.

Members of the museum staff and its advisors are available to assist you in achieving your tax, estate planning, and charitable giving objectives. As in all situations involving financial and estate planning, you should consult with your own legal and financial advisors.

For more information please call the Development Office at 978-542-1628, or email us.

Nathaniel Bowditch Society Members Listing

The Peabody Essex Museum gratefully acknowledges the following individuals and families who have made a legacy gift or bequest to support our future:

  • Anonymous (2)
  • Estate of Helen Alconis
  • Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel
  • B. Devereux Barker III
  • Mr. and Mrs. Randolph P. Barton
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Basler
  • Mr. and Mrs. Scott M. Beatty
  • Judy and Leonard* Berkal
  • Mr.* and Mrs. Ben Beyea
  • Dr. Alan Bezan
  • Nathaniel H. and Susan W. Bowditch
  • Judge Thaddeus Buczko
  • Elisabeth Shrigley Bundy
  • Mr. Stafford Campbell
  • Mr. and Mrs. C. Richard Carlson
  • Dean Forrester Cobos and Nancy B. Cobos
  • Harold and Virginia Cogger
  • Lawrence Coolidge and Nancy Myers Coolidge
  • Mr. and Mrs. Albert M. Creighton Jr.
  • Mary E. Darmstaetter
  • Ms. Geleta Fenton
  • Dr.* and Mrs.* H.A. Crosby Forbes
  • Merry Glosband
  • Mr. David R. Godine
  • Paul S. Goodof
  • Richard J. Gordon
  • Constance R. Grayson
  • John R. and Beth G. Grimes
  • Estate of Henry E. Haley
  • Carter H. and Sallie B.* Harrison
  • Mr.* and Mrs. Theodore R. Haskell
  • Carla and David Herwitz
  • Richard and Polly Hill
  • Mr.* and Mrs. Joseph Hinkle
  • Mrs. Dana Ward Hoskins
  • Alexander Revell Ingraham
  • Joanie V. Ingraham
  • Mr. Al Richard Ireton
  • Estate of Anne H. Karri-Davies
  • Mary S. Kingsbery
  • Estate of Russell W. and Martha T. Knight
  • George Lewis
  • Jonathan B. Loring
  • Elizabeth Cabot Lyman
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jacek Makowski
  • Thomas D. McKiernan
  • Christina H. Nelson
  • Joan Goldhammer-O'Neil
  • Christa and David Pannorfi
  • Mr. and Mrs. John O. Parker
  • Susanne LaC. Phippen
  • Mr. and Mrs.* Charles W. Pingree
  • Nancy and George Putnam
  • Estate of Sarah W. Richards
  • Theodore and Caroline Robbins
  • Donald Guy Ross
  • Estate of Mr. William L. Saltonstall
  • A. Varela Santos
  • Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Milton Sargent Jr.
  • Barbara and Michael Schaefer
  • Anne and Peter* Seamans
  • Mr. Robert N. Shapiro
  • Minerva C. Shreve
  • Susan P. Sloan
  • Dennis E. Stark Charitable Foundation
  • Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Stickney
  • Thomas A. Stone and Valerie M. Warrior
  • Mr.* and Mrs. Henry S. Streeter
  • Dr. William E. Strole Jr.
  • William E. Teel*
  • Mr. and Mrs. David L. Thomas
  • Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Thorne
  • Mr. Kemble Widmer II and Ms. Betsy Garrett Widmer
  • Dorothy Anne Wilson Trust
  • Joe and Barbara Younger

* Deceased

Listing as of January 15, 2013.
Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in recognizing donors. Questions or corrections may be addressed to the Development Department at 978-542-1539 or elisabeth_buell@pem.org.

Types of Gifts

Types of Gifts


The most simple and straightforward way to make a legacy gift to PEM is to name the museum in your will or living trust. A bequest affords you the ability to make a major gift to a specific program or interest you care about while preserving your assets during your lifetime. It is flexible and can be changed if your life circumstances change. You can make a bequest by either designating a specific amount (or piece of property) or a percentage of your estate. If you already have a will or trust, your attorney can draft a simple amendment to it. If you are considering a bequest, please provide our sample bequest language to your attorney.

View our sample bequest language.

Charitable Gift Annuity

A gift annuity is a common gift plan for people who have the desire to give, but still have the need to retain cash flow. It is a contract in which you make a gift and in exchange receive payments for life. These secure payments are guaranteed and fixed in amount and will not vary with market fluctuations. The amount of the payment depends on your age at the time you set up the gift annuity. There are some tax advantages in addition to the annuity payments. You receive an income tax charitable deduction at the time the annuity is funded, which could potentially help you save on your income taxes. In addition, part of each annuity payment usually is not subject to income tax (tax-free). At the end of the gift annuity term, the remaining amount is then used by PEM where it is most needed.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A charitable remainder trust, funded by any number of assets, provides income to you for a specified amount of time. In addition to the income you receive, you enjoy a substantial tax advantage at the time of gift and can help minimize estate and capital gains taxes.

With a charitable remainder trust you make a gift and receive lifetime income. Because it is a tax-exempt entity, capital gains tax is avoided when appreciated assets are transferred to the trust and when they are sold by the trust. As a result, the full market value of the asset is put to work first for you and ultimately for PEM. In addition, you receive an income tax charitable deduction for a portion of the trust funding amount, which can be used immediately to save on income taxes.

Pooled Income Fund

A pooled income fund is much like a mutual fund; your contribution is added to a fund of other individuals' gifts and you receive variable income. This can help you avoid capital gains taxes if you are making a gift of appreciate securities and in addition, you receive a tax deduction at the time of the gift.

Gifts from Real Estate and Other Assets

A gift of real estate, now or through your estate plan, can support PEM while providing you with significant tax savings. Such a gift made during your lifetime also can lighten the burden of an asset you no longer want or use, such as a second home or vacation property. You can even give us your residence now and continue to live in it for the rest of your life. PEM welcomes gifts of real estate, and we are pleased to work with you on how the gift of an asset such as land, art, and other personal property can help you with your plans and give the museum much needed support.

Gifts from Retirement Plans, Life Insurance and Other Financial Arrangements

You can make gifts from your retirement plans which can provide significant tax advantages for you and your heirs. This gift is among the most tax-wise ways to make an estate gift. This is because your retirement assets, if left to individuals (other than a spouse), will be subject to income tax in addition to any applicable estate tax. With a gift to a non-profit such as PEM, 100 percent of the funds are available for our charitable purposes. If you want to remember us in your estate plan, it is often better to leave other types of assets – cash, securities, real estate – to your heirs and give the more heavily taxed retirement asset to PEM.

IRA Charitable Rollover Gift
If you are older than 70 ½ years, you can make charitable gifts directly from you individual retirement accounts (IRAs) – transfers of up to $100,000 per individual per year directly from a traditional or Roth IRA to qualified charities (such as PEM) are permitted. This opportunity is possible under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, and has been extended until December 31, 2013.The development office keeps well informed of the changing tax landscape and chances that come available through various federal efforts. Please do not hesitate to call us to explore these possibilities for you.

Life Insurance and Other Gifts
Life Insurance policies can also be used to make a gift to the PEM. Complete and return to the insurance company a form designating that PEM receives all or a portion of the death benefit associated with your life insurance policy. As an alternative to naming PEM as the beneficiary, you can transfer ownership of the policy. Transferring ownership results in income tax savings in the year of the gift.

Commercial annuity contracts, bank and investment accounts are also ways to leave a legacy gift by naming PEM as a beneficiary to receive all or a portion of your accounts.