Planned Gifts

A planned gift to Canopy is a beautiful way to ensure a thriving urban forest for future generations.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you any of the planned gift ideas listed here. Please contact Beth May at [email protected].

We also encourage you to contact your professional tax or legal advisor prior to making or structuring a planned gift.


Naming Canopy as a beneficiary in your will (or revocable living trust) is a simple way to help plant and protect local urban forests for future generations.

We recommend the following language for your will or codicil to your will:

“I hereby give and bequeath (a specific amount/a percentage of your estate/or specific assets) to Canopy, a nonprofit, tax exempt environmental organization incorporated under the laws of the State of California, having as its principal address at 3921 East Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303, for Canopy’s general purposes.”

Similar language may be included in your revocable living trust.  If you include any restrictions on the purpose of your bequest, it’s helpful to include the following additional language:

“If at some future time, in the judgment of the Board of Directors of Canopy, it is no longer practicable to use the income or principal of this bequest for the purposes intended, the Board of Directors have the right to use the income or principal for whatever purpose they deem necessary and most closely in accord with the intent described herein.”

Canopy’s tax ID # is 01-0565752. Gifts to Canopy made in your will (or revocable living trust) may entitle you to an estate tax deduction.

Retirement Plans and IRA Charitable Rollovers

You can name Canopy as a partial or total beneficiary of your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), pension plan, employer retirement plan, Keogh plan, 401(k), 403(b), or other qualified pension plan. This type of gift to Canopy is distributed outside probate and is entirely free of both federal estate tax and income tax.

Furthermore, taxpayers age 70½ or older can make tax-free distributions to charities directly from their standard IRAs up to $100,000 per taxpayer, per taxable year. The charitable IRA rollover provides a significant opportunity to give to Canopy, tax-free. Learn more about IRA Charitable Rollovers.

Life Insurance

If your life insurance policy is no longer necessary for liquidity or to support your family, you can name Canopy as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. After your lifetime, the benefits from your life insurance plan would pass free of federal estate tax to Canopy. You can also take out a policy and name Canopy as the beneficiary to get this same result.

Retained Life Estate

The difference between a simple gift of real estate and a gift of real estate with a retained life estate is that with a retained life estate, the donor may live in the property for life. The real estate used can be your primary residence, vacation home, farm, or ranch. You will be entitled to an income tax deduction equal to a portion of the value of the real estate when you make the gift.*

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

You can create a charitable remainder trust that will save you income taxes* and capital gains taxes in the current year, save estate taxes in later years, and provide for guaranteed income for life or a term of up to 20 years. You put a portion of your assets into the trust irrevocably, and the trust invests those assets and pays you a calculated amount for the rest of your life. At your death, the trust assets are used for the charitable purposes of planting and protecting trees in our local urban forest. A charitable remainder trust works especially well for individuals and couples who are 70 years of age or older.

Charitable Lead Trust

In a charitable lead trust, you transfer assets to the trust which distributes the income to Canopy for a certain number of years. At the end of the agreed term, the trust distributes the assets to the designated non-charitable beneficiaries, typically the donor’s children or grandchildren. With this arrangement, you reduce or eliminate estate and/or gift taxes imposed on the transfer of assets to your heirs. You may receive an income tax deduction* when you make the gift and you are able to make a current gift to Canopy without permanently giving away the assets that fund the trust.

Charitable Gift Annuity

You can create a charitable gift annuity to benefit Canopy. In exchange for a gift of $10,000 or more, you receive an annuity for your lifetime (or your lifetime and the lifetime of another) and an upfront charitable income tax deduction. You can set up a charitable gift annuity at any age but cannot begin to receive distributions until you are at least 60 years old. Distributions can be made monthly, quarterly, biannually, or annually. At your death, whatever remains in the annuity account will be distributed to Canopy to support our ongoing efforts to plant, protect, and enhance the trees on our streets, in our parks, and at local schools.

* Subject to certain IRS limitations

Sign up for local tree news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sign Up