Planned Giving

Planned giving allows you to build a lasting legacy at Mount Washington Observatory while maximizing your own tax benefits.

Those who support Mount Washington Observatory through planned giving are inducted into the prestigious Goodhue Society. Named for the late Samuel H. Goodhue, whose careful planning provided the Observatory with the single largest gift in our organization’s history, the Goodhue Society honors those who commit to preserving and maintaining Mount Washington Observatory’s legacy by including the Observatory in their long-range financial and/or estate plans.

As with any decision involving your estate plans, we encourage you to seek the advice of professional counsel when considering a planned gift to the Observatory. Contact us today to get started.

If you have already included the Observatory in your long-range financial and/or estate plans, please let us know. We would love the opportunity to thank you.


Making a gift of appreciated securities can be more advantageous than giving cash. If you give “long-term” appreciated securities held more than one year, you can deduct their full fair market value, regardless of what you originally paid for them. Your total deduction is limited to 30% of your adjusted gross income in any given tax year, but you can take any unused deduction over five succeeding tax years. And you pay no capital gains tax on the donated securities. The deduction for “short-term” securities held less than one year is limited to their cost basis.



    If you are holding the physical certificates, send them unendorsed to Mount Washington Observatory. Mail a stock power for each certificate in a separate envelope. Sign the stock power exactly as it appears on the stock certificate, and do not fill in any other information. Enclose a letter stating the purpose of your gift. Please do not use a transfer agent to re-register the securities in Mount Washington Observatory’s name.


    Instruct your broker or bank to wire transfer the securities to DTC 0164 Code: 40 for credit to Mount Washington Observatory Account #4015-7414.

Please notify the Observatory of the stock name and number of shares the day before the transfer to ensure prompt processing.


For publicly traded securities, the value of your gift for both income tax and gift crediting purposes is the average of the high and low per share value on the date of the transfer. For securities transferred by mail, the date of transfer is the postmark on the envelope. For wire transfers, it is the date on which the securities actually enter the Mount Washington Observatory account.

Bequests via your will or revocable living trust can allow you to leave a significant legacy to Mount Washington Observatory. Since bequests are deductible for federal estate tax purposes, and subject to an unlimited deduction, gifts through your will or trust can save you and your heirs estate taxes and allow you to make a much larger donation than you might have thought possible.

For more information on how to make a bequest, and sample language for different kinds of bequests, please give us a call. Our experienced planned giving advisors can guide you through the process.

Qualified retirement plan assets are the most tax-burdened assets you can own. Many people do not realize that if they die with no surviving spouse, any remaining balance in their qualified plan will be subject to multiple levels of taxation—including federal estate tax, income tax, state inheritance tax, and even generation skipping tax—that can claim 50% or more of its value.

Therefore, it is often advantageous to donate such assets to charitable organizations. This can be done by naming Mount Washington Observatory the beneficiary of all or a portion of your retirement plan, by gifting any remaining plan assets through your will, or by directing remaining plan assets into a testamentary Charitable Remainder Trust that provides income to your heirs for life or a term of years, after which the principal reverts to Mount Washington Observatory.

Contact us to learn more; our planned giving advisors can assist you in developing an approach that best meets your needs.

If you are considering making a gift to Mount Washington Observatory, but are concerned about giving up a portion of your income, a life income arrangement may be advantageous for you. For example, if you were to transfer cash or marketable securities to Mount Washington Observatory, you could receive fixed income payments for the remainder of your life, an immediate tax deduction, and reduced estate tax exposure. If you transfer appreciated property, such as securities or real estate, you will eliminate or greatly reduce the capital gain tax you would otherwise owe on the appreciation if you sold the asset. If you transfer low yielding property such as securities that pay a small dividend, you may actually increase your income from the asset.

We offer a variety of life-income plans, including Charitable Gift Annuities and Charitable Remainder Trusts that can benefit both you and Mount Washington Observatory. Our planned giving advisors will be glad to work with you to identify an option that will maximize your tax and estate advantages and meet your specific objectives.

Gifts of valuable personal property—such as works of art, antique furniture, books, jewelry, collections—can benefit both you and Mount Washington Observatory. Such gifts, provided they qualify under IRS related use rules, can reduce your estate tax liability and qualify you for an income tax deduction based on their full appraised value. If you are interested in making a gift of personal property, please contact us to determine if the property is appropriate for Mount Washington Observatory’s use.

In a Charitable Lead Trust, you are able to retain ultimate possession of an asset while making a generous gift to Mount Washington Observatory. The “lead” income is paid first to Mount Washington Observatory with the remainder returned to you, the grantor, or to someone else such as heirs or designated beneficiaries at the end of the trust period. Typically cash or securities are transferred to a trustee and placed in a trust for a period of years with a specific amount of income being paid to Mount Washington Observatory each year. The income may be a fixed percentage of the value of the property valued annually (Charitable Lead Unitrust), or a fixed percentage of the initial value of the property transferred (Charitable Lead Annuity Trust). Our planned giving advisors will be glad to provide additional information and work with you to confirm whether this unique gifting option can meet your specific objectives.


Charlie Buterbaugh, Director of External Affairs
(603) 356-2137, ext. 211