Planned Giving

Create a Will and Make a Legacy Gift

We’ve partnered with FreeWill to provide the Fitchburg State community with a free online tool to create a legal will. It’s an easy way to complete this important task and quickly join the Saxifrage Society through the creation of a lasting legacy gift.

Have you already created a gift for Fitchburg State in your will or trust? Please fill out this form to let us know.

Since 1894, Fitchburg State has been proud to serve the Commonwealth by meeting the educational needs of its students. With its current offering of traditional and non-traditional programs, the university will humbly continue serving its student population for generations to come.

Our alums are shaping the world in every field, from the frontiers of science to nursing, education, technology, criminal justice and law. Gift commitments made now ensure that the future of Fitchburg State University will continue to be a compelling option for young people seeking to see the world and tackle its problems in new ways.

While there are many ways to give to Fitchburg State University, contributing through a planned gift benefits you as well. Every planned-gift donor can benefit by reducing the costs of administering their estate at the end of their life.

Charitable income tax deductions will benefit most planned giving donors. Eliminating or reducing long-term capital gains tax costs save finances for planned giving donors. Planned gifts may also reduce or eliminate estate and gift taxes, improve the income stream on growth stock without realizing capital gains costs and/or improve the income on even poorly performing assets.

You can make a planned gift at any age. For example:

  • At 30 (or younger), name Fitchburg State University a beneficiary of your IRA, include a gift in your will or trust, add Fitchburg State as a beneficiary of your life insurance.
  • At 40, you could achieve all of a 30 year old’s intentions and start a deferred-income charitable gift annuity, or set up a life-income enhancing charitable plan to benefit elder family members or friends providing charitable tax savings during your high income earning years.
  • At 60, accomplish those items available to younger people AND increase your own income for life with either a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust with added benefits of income tax saving and improved income streams from growth stock and underperforming assets without realizing capital gains tax costs in the year of the transaction. For the most fortunate, create intergenerational family financial security, with immediately available personal income tax savings and perhaps zero estate and gift tax costs through a Charitable Lead Trust.
  • At 70, 80 and beyond review what you could have accomplished at 60 and younger and for the most fortunate. As donors mature, the tax savings and income streams from charitable split interest gifts – charitable gift annuities, deferred charitable gift annuities, and charitable remainder trusts – increase dramatically.

We are happy to work with you and/or your financial planning team to determine the right kind of gift for you and your family. For an illustration of how a planned gift can work for you, please contact us.


Support our students. Everything we do is focused on supporting the young people who will challenge and change their world.


A bequest to Fitchburg State University in your will or trust is the most flexible planned gift you can make. Your assets remain available to meet your needs for your entire life. Finally the estate-based gift supports education at Fitchburg State and thereby improves life for others in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Whether a gift of a specific amount or a percentage of your estate, for the general benefit of the university to meet its most pressing needs or a specific program through an endowed fund, your gift made at the end of life saves costs and taxes that may be imposed on estates. This kind of gift will benefit Fitchburg State and its students for years to come.

These recommendations of language to accomplish legacy contributions to Fitchburg State University should be included in your Last Will and Testament of Lifetime Trust – AND – these recommendations have even greater benefit when made as beneficiary designations of RETIREMENT PLAN ACCOUNTS, LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES AND TRANSFER ON DEATH DESIGNATIONS OF BANK ACCOUNTS.

If you're planning to make Fitchburg State University one of your beneficiaries through a bequest, tell us! Once we have confirmation of your bequest, you'll be warmly welcomed into the Saxifrage Society and enjoy its benefits.

Please contact our professional fundraising staff. We are glad to work with you, your attorney and your financial planning team to craft language specific to your life-income needs and ultimate goals benefiting the university.

There are four kinds of bequests:

A Specific Bequest names Fitchburg State University as the beneficiary of a specific amount.

Sample language: I give, devise, and bequeath to Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the sum of $_____ (or a description of a specific asset), to be used for its general purposes as determined by the University’s Board of Trustees at the time of receipt. Or, for the following purpose: (state the purpose). If in the judgement of the Board of Trustees of Fitchburg State University it is impossible or impractical to carry out the designated purpose, they shall determine an alternative purpose closest to the designated purpose.

A Residuary Bequest allows you to designate Fitchburg State University as the recipient of all or a portion of the residue of your estate after expenses and specific bequests are paid. Defining an end of life gift as a percentage preserves the overall philanthropic balance the donor formed when contemplating the distribution of their estate.

Sample language: I give and devise to the Fitchburg State University Foundation, located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts all, (or state a percentage) of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, and wherever situated to be used for its general support (or designate a specific fund or program).

A Contingent Bequest enables you to name Fitchburg State University as an alternate beneficiary of all or of a portion of your estate, which means the university will receive the bequest only if your primary beneficiary or beneficiaries do not survive you.

Sample language: As a contingent remainder beneficiary in the event of no other potential distributions, I give to Fitchburg State University, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the residue of my estate to be used for its general purposes as determined by the Board of Trustees at the time of receipt.

Endowment Bequests allow you to designate the annual distributions of your bequest to a specific purpose or project at Fitchburg State University.

Sample language: I give $_________ (or _________percent of my estate) to Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to establish the "_____________ Endowed Fund." The principal of this Fund shall be retained, and income only called the “spending amount,” by the University shall be used, in accordance with the University's policies to provide support for “ ____________(the specific purpose or project).” If at any time in the judgment of the Trustees of Fitchburg State University, all or part of the spending amount cannot be usefully applied to the above purpose, it may be used in a manner that the Trustees determine will best accomplish my original intent without seeking permission from a probate court if at all possible.

Note: Because the particular programs and needs of Fitchburg State University may change over time, the university must have the power to re-direct the use of your bequest as the stated purpose may cease to be appropriate. The minimum bequest to establish an endowment is $25,000. To help ensure that your gift can be used as you wish, please contact the Office of Alumni and Development to discuss your intentions.

  • A decrease in or elimination of estate taxes
  • The creation of a legacy, but you retain access to your assets during your lifetime
  • No need to rewrite your will; a simple supplement can add a bequest, and you can modify it at any time.
  • Membership in the Saxifrage Society

Gifts of Life Insurance

A gift of life insurance can be a low-cost yet generous way to make a meaningful contribution to the university.

It is a good way to leverage affordable premium payments into a substantial future donation. There are several ways you can give your life insurance policy, or the death benefits from it, to Fitchburg State University.

When you designate Fitchburg State University as a beneficiary, in part or in full, you retain ownership of the policy and have the flexibility to make changes to the beneficiary designation later. All policy proceeds distributed to the University will be exempt from estate tax. As the beneficiary, Fitchburg State will apply the death benefits as you have instructed when the policy proceeds are distributed.


Donating a policy provides the donor with an income-tax deduction in the year of the contribution and the charitable deduction may be spread across the following five years or until completely used up. The contribution value is, typically, the “cash surrender value” of the policy. In the event that policy premiums are needed to keep the policy in full force donating the premium payments are 100% deductible in those successive years when needed.

Once we receive confirmation of your gift, you will enjoy the benefits of membership in the Saxifrage Society. For more information, please contact us.

  • Reduction in your estate taxes, because the proceeds of the policy are no longer part of your estate.
  • A charitable deduction when you name Fitchburg State as a beneficiary or assign ownership to the university.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A charitable gift annuity (CGA) is an example of how our current tax laws provide special ways for you to make a substantial gift of cash or stock and increase your income in the process. A CGA may offer a win-win proposition for you and the university.

The CGA makes it possible for you to receive higher returns on an asset for the rest of your life. You will receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction for the charitable portion of your gift. When funded with cash or cash-like assets the return payments will include a significant portion of tax-free income. If funded with growth stock or under-performing capital gains assets that portion will be returned at the capital gains tax rate, a rate that is always preferable from the taxpayer’s perspective.

Rates are based on the age of the "annuitant" and are typically fixed at a higher percentage as the age of the annuitant increases.

Rates on CGAs fluctuate in accordance with the insurance industry's "annual age calculations." Therefore, every CGA is individually customized. Once your CGA is established, you'll enjoy the benefits of membership in the Saxifrage Society.

For an illustration of how a charitable gift annuity can work for you, please contact us.

  • An immediate income-tax charitable deduction for a portion of your gift
  • No capital gains tax due for the transfer of appreciated assets to your gift
  • The potential of earning fixed payments for life (a portion of which may be tax-free) or receiving an increase in income earned from investments
  • Are some or all of your retirement plans invested in Money Market or Certificate of Deposit accounts? Increase income yield and earn income tax savings through a charitable deduction without sacrificing security by transferring those assets to a Fitchburg State University Gift Annuity.

There are variations on the charitable gift annuity theme to address some family financial planning concerns:

  • Interested in providing a source of income for a younger person’s educational costs? Consider an Educational Annuity Trust, technically called a commutable charitable gift annuity.
  • Looking for additional retirement benefits during high income earning years? Establish a laddered series of deferred payment charitable gift annuities.
  • Concerned about an older persons income stream? Use your financial resources and their age to establish a high rate of return payments for their use.

Gifts from a Retirement Plan

A retirement plan such as a 401(k) or an IRA can face double taxation and is likely to be among the largest assets in your estate. This means your retirement plan may be diminished by estate taxes, and if the recipient is someone other than your spouse, the recipient must pay a death-time income tax on it.

By giving retirement plan assets to the university, you increase the proceeds available to your heirs by avoiding income taxes and potentially creating charitable deductions that save estate taxes.

Implementing your wishes is accomplished by a written “beneficiary designation.” Simply advise the plan administrator of your decision and sign the form the plan requires. For an IRA or another plan you administer personally, notify the custodian in writing, and keep a copy with your other valuable papers.

Once we receive confirmation of your gift, you will enjoy the benefits of membership in the Saxifrage Society.

To learn more, please contact the Office of Alumni and Development.

  • Reduction of your tax exposure and avoiding potential double taxation.
  • Continued regular lifetime withdrawals and the ability to maintain flexibility to change beneficiaries if your circumstances change.
  • Potentially the most cost-effective gift you can make to the university.

Charitable Lead Trust

A charitable lead trust holds your donated appreciating assets for a term of years (or your lifetime) and gives to the university quarterly or annual income payments.

When the charitable lead trust ends, the trust property is returned to the donor or his/her designee. A lead trust is frequently used to ZERO OUT estate and gift tax costs and assist in the creation of multi-generational wealth preservation trusts.

The most daring of financial planning charitable donors can also create substantial lifetime income tax savings by establishing a Charitable Lead Trust.

You may establish a charitable lead trust either during your lifetime or in your will. A charitable lead trust can substantially reduce the estate taxes payable at the time of death. The value of the charitable interest depends on the length of the trust and the amount to be paid out each year.

The saving in estate taxes may mean that your family members will receive substantially more than if the property was left directly to them.

  • Example: Let's say a donor contributes $100,000 to a 6% charitable lead annuity trust that provides for the payment to Fitchburg State University of $6,000 per year for 20 years. Thus, the total gift is $120,000. During that 20 years the trust earns on average 10% per year. After 20 years, the trust terminates and its assets totaling are distributed to the donor's children free of estate or gift tax.

Once your charitable lead trust is established, you will enjoy the benefits of membership in the Saxifrage Society.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Substantial savings (even elimination) of gift and estate taxes, and assets ultimately go to your heirs
  • Appreciation tax-free for those named in trust after it runs its course
  • Support for the University now and for years to come and then for your beneficiaries

Retained Life Estate

Every homeowner can be a major philanthropist! The most meaningful gift for those who wish to make a positive difference the best option may be a retained life estate. This arrangement enables you to donate your home or vacation but retain lifetime use of it, for yourself and/or other members of your family. You benefit from significant income tax savings during life without changing your lifestyle or foregoing the use of any assets and reduced probate and estate tax costs after life.

Ownership of your property will be transferred to the Fitchburg State University Foundation but possession will not be transferred until much later and after you and loved ones are done using it. The contribution entitles the donor to claim an immediate income-tax deduction for the gift portion of the appraised value of the property, while retaining the rights and obligations of ownership for life. Rights and obligations include being responsible for taxes, structural maintenance, insurance, and upkeep.

Your charitable deduction is based on the fair market value of the home less the present value of your retained life tenancy. Any capital improvements, such as a new roof, allow you to claim additional deductions.

With a retained life estate, you make a significant gift to the University without disturbing your living arrangements or your income, and receive the immediate benefit of tax savings.

Once your retained life estate has been established, you will enjoy the benefits of membership in the Saxifrage 

A retained life estate shows truly and positively that: possession is 9/10ths of the law.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A charitable remainder trust is an arrangement in which a donation is made to the university and held in trust while you, or loved ones, continue to receive income. The trust can have a fixed annual payment (annuity trust) or a payment that is a percentage of the value of the trust, varying from year to year (unitrust).

Upon the death of the last income beneficiary, the trust's assets are distributed to Fitchburg State to be used for the purposes you designated.

Trusts may be funded by gifts of cash, securities, or real estate. You may specify that payments from the trust be made to you and/or one or more other individuals for life or for a specific period. This gives you the option to support your loved ones after you are gone.

A charitable remainder trust is an excellent way to implement a supplemental retirement plan or to help your family protect intergenerational wealth from gift and estate taxes. Once your charitable remainder trust is established, let us know, and you'll enjoy the benefits of membership in the Saxifrage Society.

  • An income-tax deduction in the year of the trust's establishment equal to the remainder value of the trust designated for the University
  • A lifetime income for you and/or your family
  • The removal of contributed assets from your taxable estate
  • No capital gains tax owed on the transfer on the donated assets

Charitable Remainder Trusts can be designed to meet virtually all family financial planning goals from educating a younger person, erasing or reducing capital gains transfer tax costs and many other financial goals. The university’s professional fundraising staff has long and deep experience in every aspect of charitable planning that meet individual and family goals. Please ask, we are eager to help.

The Saxifrage Society

The story of Fitchburg State begins in the mind of Joseph G. Edgerly, a tireless supporter of public education. Edgerly understood its importance, stating in 1893, “We desire now that we may have competent teachers, that we may have schools to train the teachers that we need. We desire to have good schools.”

Edgerly’s vision was made reality on June 6, 1894, when the Massachusetts Legislature approved the creation of the Normal School at Fitchburg. For 125 years, Fitchburg State has been changing lives – of teachers, of students, of communities. The university has been innovating as long as it has been in existence and is poised to continue exploring new ways to respond to the needs of an ever evolving world.

The Saxifrage Society was established to recognize individuals who name Fitchburg State University in their will or trust or name Fitchburg State a beneficiary of an insurance policy or retirement, and membership is gratefully bestowed upon those who make a life-income enhancing contribution benefiting themselves or a loved one and Fitchburg State. If you have made such a gift, please let us know by contacting the Office of Alumni and Development.

Membership in the Saxifrage Society involves no dues, obligations, or solicitations; it is a way by which we can thank you and recognize you for the plans you have put in place, and it may inspire generosity in others.

When you become a member, you receive news, reports, and special invitations to events. The most important benefit, however, is the satisfaction of knowing that as part of your legacy, you have helped secure the option of a self-directed education, unlike any other, for tomorrow's world.

On behalf of the next generations of Fitchburg State students, the university extends sincere thanks to each and every member of the Saxifrage Society for their generosity and commitment to a strong and vibrant future for Fitchburg State University.

“To give away money is an easy matter, and in any person's power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every person's power-nor an easy matter. Hence, it is that such excellence is praiseworthy and noble.”
- Aristotle

University Alma Mater sheet music with words