Charitable Lead Trusts

Charitable lead trusts differ from charitable remainder trusts in that they are designed to make distributions to at least one qualified charitable organization for a period of time that is measured by a fixed term of years, by the lives of one or more individuals, or by some combination of these two measurements. Upon the termination of the trust, the property remaining in the trust reverts back to the donor or is transferred to one or more non-charitable beneficiaries—usually a spouse, children, or grandchildren—designated in the trust agreement.

Establishing a lead trust with AAAS as the charitable beneficiary provides income to AAAS to sustain our programs and activities, in keeping with the donor's wishes, for the duration of the term of the trust. A charitable lead trust can offer many benefits to donors, too, including:

  • A possible reduction or elimination of estate and gift taxes.
  • The opportunity to name yourself—or anyone you wish—as an income beneficiary of the trust.
  • Possible charitable income tax deduction when the trust is established based on the net present value of the income interest passing to charity.

Charitable lead trusts come in a variety forms, each having its own tax and financial implications. We recommend that you discuss the best options for you with your advisors.

If you would like more information about making a gift to AAAS through a charitable lead trust, please contact Juli Staiano, Director of Development. Please also let us know if you wish to support a particular program or create a new fund or endowment through your trust so that we can ensure that your explicit intentions can be carried out. In some cases, we may prepare a Memorandum of Understanding articulating what the gift will support and how it will be administered.

Donors who notify us of their intention to support AAAS by establishing a charitable lead trust are highlighted as members of our 1848 Society, recognizing individuals who provide for AAAS through their wills or other charitable plans.