Tribute Gifts and Planned Giving

Tribute Funds and Gifts

A Tribute gift to the Ruth Bancroft Garden may be made in memory of, or to simply honor, a loved one. The Garden will notify the family of your gift, and will list honorees and donors of tribute gifts made during the year in the Annual Report.  If you are interested in setting up a Tribute Donation Fund with the Garden, please contact our Development Director, Kim Moore.

Make Your Gift Today


Donors who give $500 or more are eligible for a special donor tile. 

You may also become a Sustaining Donor to the Garden with a monthly or annual recurring donation. click here

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.

Legacy Society

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. To learn more about joining the Legacy Society – contact Kim Moore.

Legacy Society Members

The Estate of Cynthia Baird
Ruth Bancroft
Peter Bancroft
Gretchen Bartzen
Donna & Ken Coit
Gwen Gallagher
Gail Giffen
Cathy McNutt
Billie Hopper & David Mitchell

Bernie & Julie Rose
Dr. Bud & Olga Jane Rotermund
Richard G. Turner
Wendy & Dan Wallace
The Ritamarie Sustek Walsh Trust
Susan Van Dyne
Peggie Winston
Monique Young

Ways to Participate in Planned Giving

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.


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.

Bequest Language Sample

“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.

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.

Contact Us for More Information

For additional information or to discuss a particular planned gift arrangement, please contact Kim Moore, Development Director, The Ruth Bancroft Garden, (925-378-7300).

Our organization will not trade, share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations 

Banner photo by John Ricca