I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with the rest of my high school class, and when we would come to the end, “with liberty and justice for all,” I just couldn’t say the last two words because I was too troubled by the injustice I saw in the country. I knew that while the U.S. had “liberty and justice” for some, these rights were not accessible to many. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the ACLU is this “for all”—giving voice to those who wouldn’t otherwise be heard, and fighting to ensure that everyone is free to exercise their constitutional rights.
I grew up without much money, so during my career it was important to me to save. By the time I retired, I realized that I finally felt relaxed about my finances. For the first time, I have more than I will probably need. I like the security of having this savings in case of an emergency, but I know that some will be left over. When I decided to include a charitable gift in my will, I thought to myself, who will make better use of it than the ACLU? Every morning when I open the paper, I see another issue that the ACLU is working on. There are so many challenges to liberty and justice, and there will always be. I know that the ACLU will use my gift to make people’s lives better, and this is a great reassurance.
To me, giving some money away is part of living a meaningful and just life. I’ve had a will since I was nineteen, and I believe that it’s important for people of all ages to make their wishes known. Having a will eliminates the potential for confusion and conflict among family members, and means that I don’t have to worry about whether my assets will go where I intend. Making a gift to the ACLU through my will is something I’m very proud to be able to do, because I know it will make a difference.
More about bequests
Making a gift to the ACLU of Northern California (or the ACLU Foundation of Northern California) through your will or living trust is an easy and powerful way to sustain our fight for civil liberties after your lifetime.
There are several ways to meet your estate planning goals. You may name us as a beneficiary to receive a specific dollar amount (“A sum of $100,000”) or a percentage of your estate (“50% of my estate”), or as a contingent beneficiary.
It is often simpler to express your bequests as a percentage of your estate. Since your gift will remain proportional to your estate even if the value of your estate changes, you will not have to update your will as often.
When your attorney drafts your will, we suggest using the following language:
“I give to the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (or the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California), with its principal offices at 39 Drumm Street, San Francisco, California, [(the sum of $___) or (all or ___% of my residuary estate)] to be used for its general purposes.”
Although both the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California accept bequests, only those to the Foundation qualify for the estate tax charitable deduction.
If you include a bequest to us in your will or living trust, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (415) 621-2493.
Tax Note: It is worth noting that not every person's estate can take advantage of an estate charitable deduction. You should talk to your tax advisor about whether your estate qualifies.