If you have publicly traded stock that has appreciated in value, it is most advantageous to give the stock rather than cash.

Why?  Any capital gain tax that you would have incurred if you sold the stock will be avoided when you give it to Portland Japanese Garden instead.  Then, if you happen to like that particular stock, you can use your available cash to repurchase the stock at a new, higher cost basis.


Real Estate

While cash, CDs, and marketable securities are thought of most often when making a gift to a charitable organization, real estate is sometimes the best gift of all.

Many people reach a stage in life where they simply don’t want the management responsibility that accompanies property ownership.

For those who have rental apartments or commercial buildings, not only can they avoid capital gain tax, but they can avoid depreciation recapture tax, as well.  For those people with farms or vacation homes, life-income arrangements such as charitable remainder trusts or gift annuities can be equally rewarding.


Life Insurance

Portland Japanese Garden will accept gifts of life insurance policies like whole life, variable, and universal life policies, which meet specific criteria.

The following four criteria include that the policy is either paid-up or, if not paid up, as of the date of the gift:

  1. Has a minimum cash value of $25,000.
  2. Has a payment schedule not to exceed ten years and which assumes an interest rate not to exceed one percent below the prevailing prime interest rate as reported in the Wall Street Journal periodically (for existing policies an “in force” illustration will be required).
  3. Requires a written pledge of a charitable contribution from the donor(s) to Portland Japanese Garden in an amount which equals or exceeds the total premiums due, and with pledge payments scheduled so as to equal or exceed each policy premium payment that becomes due.
  4. The Garden is designated as the owner and/or the beneficiary of the policy.

This written pledge also will acknowledge the absolute ownership by Portland Japanese Garden of the policy given and acknowledges the resulting right of the Garden to cash-in the policy and apply the proceeds of the same for the benefit of the Garden in accordance with applicable policies and donor restrictions.

NOTE: Portland Japanese Garden does not participate in start-up life insurance programs, in any form, where the goal is to have donors make donations with the expectation that it will use those proceeds to pay insurance premiums, or be involved with outside companies who provide premium financing.


Retirement Plans

For many, the best method of giving is a gift through a retirement plan. In estate settlements, retirement plan tax rates may range as high as 60%!  We would like to help you control the disposition of your retirement plan assets to your family—while possibly substituting your charitable interests ahead of taxation.

Just a few years ago Congress changed the rules on retirement plans.  Today, the minimum mandatory payout requirement after age 70.5 is much lower than it used to be.  Consequently, as people get into their 80s and 90s it is more likely that their IRA, KEOGH, or 401(k) balances will remain higher.   That is good news for the majority of older Americans! However there is a looming, and often large, tax on retirement plans that people don’t often consider while doing their estate planning.

Here is how it works: Congress allows each of us to put money into a retirement accounts tax-free during our working years.  In other words, we don’t have to pay income tax on the amount of money we place in IRAs, KEOGHs, or 401ks.  Additionally, our retirement account compounds tax-free as well—in order that the fund will grow as quickly as possible to support us during our retirement years.

However, if a person passes away while holding the retirement plan in their estate, income tax to your heirs AND possibly estate taxes could be due—seldom by possibly as high as 60% in some cases!

To avoid this scenario, it’s often advisable for people simply to name their favorite charitable organization(s) as the remainder beneficiary of their retirement plan.  This can easily be done by calling the retirement plan administrator and filling out a new beneficiary designation form.  Charitable organizations are not subject to estate or income tax, so the full value of the retirement plan can become a gift when you pass away. 



Often referred to as “bequest” a person or couple can simply name Portland Japanese Garden as a beneficiary in their estate documents, regardless of whether they use a will or living trust.

This is one of the most meaningful ways Portland Japanese Garden can be supported by those who have been touched in some way by the work that we are doing.  And, it’s easy to do!

If you have questions about including the Garden in your estate plans or would like a free copy of our Estate Planning Guide and Estate Inventory Form, please contact Major Gifts Officer Matthew Maas at or 503-542-9301.

Bequest Language

As a way to help simplify the process for you, we have included sample will language for your use and to share with your attorney:

I give, devise, and bequeath to Portland Japanese Garden, a non-profit Oregon Institution (tax ID# 93-0511171__________), located at 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, Oregon, the sum of $_________ (or _____% of my estate, or _____% of the residue of my estate) to be used for such purposes as the Board of Directors determines at the time this bequest becomes effective.

To designate your gift for a specific purpose:
Will or trust provisions may be designated for a specific purpose, such as (insert the most likely areas you would like to see donor’s support, or you know people have traditionally supported).  Donors who wish to restrict the use of their gift are encouraged to contact the Garden to ensure that we fully understand your wishes.

In the case of a restricted bequest, many people like to add language that would give Portland Japanese Garden flexibility to use the funds for some other purpose in the event that the project or purpose designated by the donor is no longer needed when the funds become available. We recommend adding the following sentence to the end of your bequest provision:

If at the time this bequest becomes effective, the funds are not needed for this purpose, then Portland Japanese Garden may use the funds instead that most closely relates to the donor’s original intention as described in this provision.