AFS members considering a donation to the Society’s Endowment Fund often ask how those donations are actually made and how the Society will use them. Though donations can be given to the Society in the present—and we welcome such donations—more often they are deferred until some future time, usually until after the donor’s lifetime.
When your present or deferred donation is actually paid to the Society, we deposit it into our Endowment Fund, where it is invested and managed by professional investment advisors, according to policies and strategies set and periodically reviewed by the Society’s Executive Board. Our Endowment Fund policies specify that we will only spend the investment earnings from your gift, not the gift itself, except in extremely unusual circumstances as defined in those policies.
The Society’s Endowment Fund has three parts: the General Fund (which supports general Society activities), the Communications Fund (which supports Society publications and other communications in all media), and the Gatherings Fund (which supports Society meetings of all kinds). You can make an unrestricted or a restricted gift to any of these funds at any time.
If your gift is valued at $20,000 or more, you can create a named fund (named for you; for a family member, friend, or colleague; or for an institution within the field) within any of our three endowment funds.
The following pages provide sample language that you can use in your will when establishing deferred gifts (often called bequests) to the Society, or in a letter of gift when making present gifts to the Society at any time. We ask that you inform the Society of your deferred gift at the time you establish it.
Estate gifts should be carefully considered as part of your overall financial and estate plans. We strongly recommend that you consult an attorney (and, if necessary, other professional advisors) to prepare your will and to supervise its execution, so that it carries out your wishes and complies with the legal requirements of your state. The following examples are for illustration only.
When including a bequest provision in your will, always use the full legal name of the AFS and include our federal taxpayer identification number. Our full legal name is The American Folklore Society, Inc., and our taxpayer identification number is 23-1627523. We will send you a letter of thanks for your gift, present or deferred, as soon as we hear from you.
Earnings from unrestricted gifts are to be used for the greatest need at the time, to be determined by the Society’s Executive Board. An unrestricted gift is especially valued by the Society.
Wording for an unrestricted gift may be as follows:
I give and bequeath to The American Folklore Society (FEI# 23-1627523), a non-profit corporation, the following _______________________ [cash, securities, real estate, residual of estate, etc.] to be held as a component part of the Society and used for the purposes of the Society.
If you do not want to specify the exact amount of the gift, perhaps because the future size of your estate is difficult to estimate, a proportional gift is often the best way to accomplish your goals. In this case, the Society receives a percentage of all or part of your estate.
Possible language is:
I give and bequeath to The American Folklore Society (FEI# 23-1627523) X percent of my estate [or X percent of Y part of my estate, or X percent of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate] to be held as a component part of the Society and used for the sole benefit of the Society.
For an unrestricted gift of cash, for example, possible language is:
I give and bequeath to The American Folklore Society (FEI# 23-1627523) the sum of $X to be held as a component part of the Society and used for the sole benefit of the Society.
For an unrestricted gift of securities, possible language is:
I give and bequeath to The American Folklore Society (FEI# 23-1627523) all/part [if part, specify amount] of my shares of ABC stock/mutual fund to be held as a component part of the Society and used for the sole benefit of the Society.
For an unrestricted gift of real estate, possible language is:
I give and bequeath to The American Folklore Society (FEI# 23-1627523) all my right, title, and interest into the following described property ______________ [describe] to be held as a component part of the Society and used for the sole benefit of the Society.
If the gift is to be used to establish a named fund within the Endowment (named funds require gifts valued at $20,000 or more), add the following:
The gift shall be known as The [Name] Fund.
Gifts for Specific Purposes
If you would like your gift to support a particular activity or area of Society work (e.g., the annual meeting, the Journal of American Folklore, student activities, international activities, minority participation, community scholars,) you may make a restricted gift to the General Fund, the Communications Fund, or the Gatherings Fund, as appropriate, for this purpose.
If at all possible, we encourage you to discuss a restricted gift with the Society before establishing it. It is better for the restrictions on such gifts to be flexible enough to allow the Society to use the gift wisely long into the future. The Society reserves the right to refuse gifts that are overly restricted, or restricted to the support of activities that fall outside the Society’s mission, priorities, or best interests.
To create wording for restricted gifts, replace the words “…used for the sole benefit of the Society” in any of the suggested language for unrestricted gifts with:
…to be used for the following purpose(s): __________________ [describe].
Letter of Gift
We would also appreciate for our records a letter of gift from you at the time of your present donation or your pledge of a future donation.
If your letter accompanies a present gift, it can simply state the name(s) of those making the gift, the specific purposes (if any) for which the gift is intended, and, if the gift is for $20,000 or more, the named fund (if any) you want to create.
If your letter makes a pledge for a future gift, then your letter should also include a description of the future gift (e.g., 250 shares of ABC common stock; 5% of the remainder of my estate after other obligations are met and bequests are made) and an estimate of the present value of the gift (i.e., what the value of the gift would likely be if it were to be made today).