Legacy Circle

planned giving_side photo

Photo credit: Stephanie Schmidt

Leaving a Legacy for Alaska’s Future

Do you live or spend time in Alaska because the landscape inspires you? Maybe you feel connected to a special place through family memories: the local river where you grew up salmon fishing, a hiking trail, or view from your favorite mountain peak.

As you think about the past and ponder your vision for the future, you may be considering how you can make a significant difference in conserving what makes Alaska so special—our land and natural heritage.

Conservation supporters who have made planned gifts have had an extraordinary impact on our work. Thanks to early legacy gifts we were able to become a secure, established land trust, better equipped to monitor conservation easements in perpetuity. Proceeds from planned gifts fund our endowment, ensuring our long-term success and stability.

Almost all nonprofits like to think of themselves as being in business for a very long time, but land trusts, by definition, are in the business of being around forever. Because stewardship is forever, land trusts and legacy giving are a natural fit.

The Legacy Circle is a group of individuals who have expressed a lasting commitment to the long-term future of Great Land Trust through a planned gift.

Some Inspiring Examples

One such pivotal gift was the donation of 51 acres on the Little-Su River. In 2012, Mike Downs decided to bequeath his land to GLT. At his passing, GLT took ownership of the land and conserved 36 acres of salmon streams, habitat, and trails per Mike’s wishes. We are now finalizing the sale of the land with a conservation easement in place to Mike’s neighbor, who will continue to live on and love the land just as Mike did. The sale of that land will give GLT capital to implement other conservation projects and galvanize our future. And the land itself will forever remain home to spawning salmon, wildlife, and Mike’s legacy.

The first pair of Sandhill Cranes appeared on Dale Saunders’ 80-acre barley farm in the Susitna Valley in 1959. Over the next four decades, whether Saunders’ harvest was bountiful or weak, one thing was predictable—the twice-yearly visits of migrating Sandhill Cranes, who feasted on leftovers from his past harvests. By his later years the birds were so much like family that Saunders was compelled to plan for their future. On a tip from a neighbor, Saunders approached GLT about taking over responsibility for the land and the cranes after his passing. When we accepted the gift of Saunders’ land and endowment, GLT made a commitment to always care for the land and the Sandhill Cranes who pass through it. With their distinctive, rolling calls, majestic flight and the gangly grace of their mating dance, Dale’s scarlet-capped cranes can be seen each spring and fall as they migrate to and from Alaska.

What planned gift options are available to me?

GLT-Legacy Circle(PMS143)-01Bequests: Bequests are one of the easiest ways to make a gift to the Great Land Trust. A bequest is a provision in your will or living trust. It directs money, stock, or other property to specified individuals or charitable organizations upon your passing. Unlike some other planned giving options, bequests are revocable, meaning they allow you to change your mind at any time. Property left to charities such as GLT is deductible from your taxable estate and may result in substantial tax savings. Bequests can also be used to endow your annual support for GLT and help fund GLT’s local conservation efforts far into the future.

Beneficiary Designation: Regardless of age or marital status, this is an easy and meaningful way to make a planned gift. With an IRA, you can readily name any beneficiaries you want, including friends, family members, a trust or charity like GLT. For a 401(k) or other workplace plan, you must get your spouse’s written permission to leave it to anyone else. For either, you can easily change a beneficiary at any time. A charitable designation to GLT through your retirement account(s) may provide the greatest tax benefit for your heirs, while helping secure the future of Alaska’s most special lands and waterways.

If you have made a planned gift to GLT please let Ellen know so we can welcome you as a Charter Member of our Legacy Circle.

Great Land Trust’s tax identification number is: 92-0155014.