ExplorersTake Action

Photo: Bird nest

Photograph by James P. Blair


Donating retirement plan assets to National Geographic could be the most cost-effective gift you make. Retirement plans—IRAs, 401(k) plans, Keogh plans, and others—are subject to estate taxes, as well as income taxes, when left to your heirs. The combination of estate and income taxes can reduce the value of the retirement savings considerably, but careful planning can minimize or even eliminate taxes due on retirement plan assets during life and at death.

You may find it most tax efficient to name the National Geographic Society as the beneficiary of all of your retirement accounts, or you can give the most-taxed asset in your estate to National Geographic, and leave other, less heavily taxed assets to your heirs.


How a Gift of Retirement Assets Works

To implement your wishes, simply advise your retirement plan administrator(s) of your decision and sign the required form(s). For an IRA or Keogh plan you administer personally, notify the custodian in writing. After your lifetime, the residue of your plan passes to National Geographic tax-free.


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The information on our Web site is not intended as financial or legal advice. Please consult your own qualified advisers as you consider philanthropic gifts.


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Donor Stories

  • Photo: Leopard

    Adele Gottschalk

    The late Adele Gottschalk was a renowned general surgeon dedicated to human health. However, outside of the operating room, she was passionate about the preservation of wild animal species. Adele decided to name National Geographic as a beneficiary to her individual retirement account and today her gift supports field research projects to study and protect animals in the wild. Read More

Planned Giving Newsletter

Contact Us

National Geographic
Office of Gift Planning

1145 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Telephone: +1 202 862 8638
800 226 4438 (U.S. and Canada only)

Email: plannedgiftinfo@ngs.org

Request Additional Information

Fax: +1 202 429 5709

Explorers Newsletter

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    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

National Geographic News

  • Photo: Cliff

    Protecting the Last Wild Places in the Ocean

    In October, the Island nation of Palau approved the creation of an enormous marine reserve that's bigger than the U.S. state of California. In total the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project, led by Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, has now contributed to the protection of eight of the world’s largest marine reserves, protecting nearly three million square kilometers of ocean.