Planned Giving

Ruth Bancroft’s inspiration and vision, her years of tireless work, and her personal generosity have created one of the finest public gardens in the world.  To honor this legacy and ensure that the fruits of her work will be here for future generations to enjoy, the Board of Directors, inspired by an inaugural bequest from Ruth herself, has established The Ruth Bancroft Garden Legacy Society.

You can download our Legacy Society brochure for more information, and please let us know if we can provide you with additional information. Your support of The Ruth Bancroft Garden is gratefully appreciated.

The Legacy Society honors those individuals who have thoughtfully expressed their long-term commitment to The Ruth Bancroft Garden by making a bequest or other planned gift. With such gifts, donors can make a satisfying and often substantial contribution to the Garden’s mission while advancing their own personal, family, and financial goals.  A planned gift is an investment in this unique garden that leaves a legacy that will continue to grow and thrive for years to come. We recognize the Legacy Society members in our printed materials and with an annual acknowledgement luncheon held in the Garden.

"This journey of gardening has been my lifelong passion. I am pleased that there is now a way to preserve the Garden that so many have enjoyed.

Thank you for helping my vision live on."

-Ruth Bancroft



Legacy Society Members:

Ruth Bancroft

Peter Bancroft

Cynthia Baird

Gretchen Bartzen

Gwen Gallagher

Gail Giffen

Dr. Bud & Olga Jane Rotermund

Ritamarie & John Sustek

Billie Hopper & David Mitchell

Julie and Bernie Rose

Wendy and Dan Wallace


2016 Legacy Luncheon Recap


The Annual Ruth Bancroft Garden Legacy Society brunch was held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at the Garden from 11:30 AM- 1:00 PM in the West Shade House near the Folly. This event honors those who have remembered the Garden in their estate planning, and welcomes anyone interested in the Garden who would like to learn more about estate planning for the future.


Legacy Society members Gretchen Bartzen, Billie Hopper, Bud and Jane Rotermund, Rita Marie Sustek and Wendy Wallace attended the event this year, along with Garden friends Lynn Carrere, Dick Walsh, Frederick Huie. A presentation on current wise strategies for charitable giving was made by a local financial planner. New Legacy Society member Wendy Wallace also spoke about her motivation for joining the Society this year.

Tribute to Ruth's Garden

from Gwen Gallagher


     My parents moved to a home off Walnut Avenue in 1963 when I was six.  The area sure was different back then!  Residential neighborhoods were in their infancy, with walnut orchards on my side of Ygnacio, pear and apricots on Ruth’s. 

     Early on, driving by as a passenger in my mother’s car, or later on, as I walked along Bancroft, the wooden fence lining the street and driveway opening allowed small glimpses into Ruth’s large yard, a veritable retreat that I longed to enter.

     During the time the wooden fence was being removed and replaced with the concrete wall, her garden was in full view, and my interest was piqued even further!

     It was never really about the cacti or other succulents back then (since I hadn’t really even seen them up close); it was more about the special space she had created for herself, adorned by trees that stood stately above the fence line.  

     And then, once her garden was open to the public and I was able to visit, I realized the garden’s appeal was about far more than just a special “space”; it was about a life’s work achieving fruition; a dream fulfilled; a “spirit space” to share with others; offering an intimate view of a garden filled with plants of unique shapes, sizes, colors and textures.

     This is a garden the world deserves to see, to experience, to “live” in every season; while knowing that it was born of one woman’s dream.

     For the joy it brings, for the positive difference it makes in so many lives (mine included), I felt compelled to help the dream continue, for generations to come. 

       - Gwen Gallagher

2014 Luncheon Attendees
Ways to Give

A planned gift affords you the opportunity to support the Bancroft Garden in a way that is meaningful to you.  Planned gifts are charitable giving methods that allow you to express your personal values by integrating your charitable, family and financial goals. Planned gifts can provide valuable tax benefits and/or lifetime income for you and your spouse or other family member.  The basic descriptions and benefits of the most popular types of planned gifts follow.


Gifts that take effect at your passing

You can make arrangements to leave The Ruth Bancroft Garden a charitable gift at your passing, but the gift can be changed or revoked at any time during your lifetime.  These gifts can provide you with the peace of mind that your gift is revocable and the asset remains in your control.   

  • Bequest A bequest is the most commonly used planned gift. It takes a simple designation in your will or trust and costs nothing during your lifetime. Bequests are easy to prepare and are revocable if your situation changes. You can retain ownership and use of property during life and still benefit charity by leaving the property to charity at death. You can specify a monetary gift, designate a percentage of your total estate, or gift the portion of your estate that remains after all other bequests are satisfied (see sample bequest language).
  • Gift of retirement assets As the most-taxed asset in your estate, retirement funds can be among the best assets for making a planned gift.  Without gifting, the assets in qualified retirement plans, such as IRAs, 401(k), and Keogh accounts, may be subject to income and estate tax of 70% or more. With a gift of retirement funds, you can retain control and use of the funds while living, and heirs can avoid paying income tax on the transfer of the retirement plan.
  • Gift of Life Insurance If you conclude that you have more life insurance than you need, you can provide now for a future gift to The Ruth Bancroft Garden by naming the Garden as a beneficiary of an existing policy. You may also transfer the policy, naming the Garden as the owner and beneficiary, resulting in a tax-deductible gift. Another option would be to purchase a new policy naming the Garden as the owner and beneficiary and make an annual gift to the Garden for premiums due, which qualifies as an income tax deduction.
  • Life Estate Reserved A gift of a remainder interest in your home, farm, or vacation property would allow you to transfer ownership in the property while retaining a “life estate” which is the right to continue to live in the home or farm for your lifetime. You would continue to be responsible for all taxes, maintenance, and insurance. You would receive a current federal income tax deduction for the remainder value of your home or farm.This type of gift arrangement would also eliminate the burden on your executor of marketing and selling your property.

Gifts that pay you income

You may structure a planned gift that will afford you the opportunity to earn an immediate income tax deduction and provide yourself and your family with an annual income for your life or for a term of years, while supporting The Ruth Bancroft Garden with a future gift.

  • Charitable gift annuity A charitable gift annuity is a contract that allows you to receive guaranteed fixed payments for life, enjoy a current federal income tax deduction, and provide a future gift to the Garden.  A charitable gift annuity is simple to create: your fund your annuity with a gift of cash or marketable securities, and payments are governed by the amount of the gift, the age of the income recipient(s), and the gift annuity rate. Beneficiaries are recommended to be at least 65 at the time of the gift. A younger donor may want to consider a deferred gift annuity.  Your annuity must be created with gifts of at least $10,000. The Comerica Legacy Foundation is the entity that will write and serve your contract during its existence.
  • Charitable remainder trust.  A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is an ideal way to make a large gift with appreciated assets. A CRT is an irrevocable trust which would return income to you or your designated beneficiaries for life or for a period of time not to exceed 20 years. You would transfer cash, securities or other appreciated property (value at least $100,000) into a trust, the trust makes the payments, and when the trust terminates, the remainder transfers to the Garden to be used as directed by you. Benefits include an immediate income tax deduction, a bypass of capital gains tax on the sale of any appreciated assets you donate, and payments for life or for a term of years. For those who prefer fixed payments, a charitable remainder annuity trust may be an attractive option.  For those who prefer the potential of higher payments based on the annual valuation of the trust, a charitable remainder unitrust may be an attractive option.

Please note that The Ruth Bancroft Garden does not provide tax, legal, or financial advice.The Bancroft Garden strongly encourages its donors to seek counsel from their own legal and financial advisers.

Bequest Language

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the Ruth Bancroft Garden, located in Walnut Creek, California, Tax ID #68-0310041, the sum of __________(dollar amount), OR ______(percent) of my estate, OR the residue or ______(percent of the residue), OR the following described property: _____________________________, to be used for its general support (or for the support of a specific program)

The above language is only to illustrate how a bequest can be accomplished and is intended for educational purposes only.  You are advised to consult your attorney.

Contact Us

For additional information or to discuss a particular planned gift arrangement, please contact:

Gretchen Bartzen,

Co-Executive Director


The Ruth Bancroft Garden Office

(925) 944-9352


Planned Giving Tips and Past Luncheons

2013 Legacy Luncheon Honoree: Geraldine Pember  

Recap of the 2011 Luncheon: July 2011

The Benefits of Charitable Contributions By Trusts: May 2011

How to Save Taxes Using a Charitable Remainder Trust : March 2011

Leave a Legacy Without Giving Up Assets: January 2011

One-Time Tax Saving Opportunity Before December 31, 2010: December 2010

Wills and Estate Planning: November 2010

The Legacy Society: October 2010

Planned Giving

Ways to Give

Contact Us

Tip of the Month Archive

Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Grant Funders
The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our Volunteer Coordinator’s position, as well as for their generous support over the years.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy