Planned Giving: The Lightkeeper Society

What are Planned Gifts?

A planned gift is a deferred gift of any kind, in any amount, given to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, a 501(c)(3) organization. The most common planned gifts are bequests through wills and living trusts and beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance policies. Our staff, along with you and your attorney or tax advisor, will work together to follow your wishes for your legacy gifts.

Your planned gift will help ensure the sustainability of the Museum for generations to come. Since 1905, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (tax ID 94-2427733) has served Santa Cruzans who have participated in the Museum’s programs and exhibits. Your planned gifts can help us ensure that future generations of Museum goers will learn about science, and how it affects our everyday lives and the sustainability of our region.

The Lightkeeper Society  

In 1869, Laura Hecox’s father Adna was appointed the first keeper of the original Santa Cruz Lighthouse and took up residence there with his wife and family. Young Laura soon began collecting seashells, minerals, fossils, Indian artifacts, and other specimens and curios, turning part of the lighthouse into a private nature museum. In 1883 Adna Hecox died and Laura Hecox succeeded her father in the role of lightkeeper. She stayed at the post for thirty-three years, devoting her free time to growing and displaying her collection. In 1904, Laura deeded her collection to the City of Santa Cruz for the establishment of its first public museum. Today, her legacy lives on at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. At the heart of our mission is the very spirit of scientific discovery and love of nature which Laura exemplified over 100 years ago both in the special collection she built and in the importance she placed in sharing it with those around her. In honor of our  first benefactor, we have established the Museum’s Lightkeeper Society. We hope that you will consider joining this special group of benefactors who wish to leave a lasting legacy in our community by ensuring a strong, vibrant future for our Museum and furthering its mission to connect people with nature and inspire stewardship of the natural world.  

How Do I Start?

First, review the options below. Then consult your legal counsel and/or tax advisor to evaluate your best options before choosing to make a planned gift.

Options may include:

Bequests

Your bequest will help ensure the long-term sustainability of the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, and programs far into the future. You can name the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (tax ID 94-2427733) as a beneficiary in your will or living trust.

Sample language for your will: I give, devise and bequeath _______________ (insert % of estate, % of residue of estate, specific dollar amount or item of property) to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (tax ID 94-2427733), located at 1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95062, to be used for the benefit of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

Your gift meets the greatest need for the Museum when it is unrestricted. If you have something specific in mind, please call us to discuss it so that we can be sure we can accommodate your wishes.

Retirement Plans and IRAs

You can name the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (tax ID 94-2427733) as a beneficiary of your retirement plan (IRA, 401k, 403b or other qualified plan) in full or in part. Login to your account or obtain a beneficiary designation form from your retirement plan administrator to begin the process of designating the Museum as a full or partial beneficiary of your plan. You may achieve significant income tax savings by naming us as the beneficiary of your retirement plan assets.  Your retirement plan gift to the Museum will not be diminished by income taxes, as it will be if it goes to a person; the Museum will benefit from every dollar.

Life Insurance

You can also name the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History (tax ID 94-2427733) as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, in full or in part. Log in to your account or obtain a beneficiary designation form from your life insurance administrator to begin the process of designating the Museum as the full or  partial beneficiary of your policy.

Other Options for Planned Gifts

Our staff can work with you to develop an array of planned giving scenarios. Call Ami Davis, Development Manager at (831) 420-6115 x14 or write development@santacruzmuseum.org to discuss your wishes and ask any questions.

The Lightkeeper Society: Recognition for your Gift

When you inform us that you have initiated a planned gift to benefit the Museum, you are entitled to become part of the Lightkeeper Society, affording you higher-level Museum membership benefits. You can choose to be recognized as a member of the Lightkeeper Society anonymously or by name. You may also be recognized in our Annual Report, if you wish. The choice is yours. Please call Ami Davis, Development Manager at (831) 420-6115 x14 or write development@santacruzmuseum.org to let us know your wishes. We look forward to hearing from you!

Your Planned Gift Will Live Far into the Future

After more than 112 years of service to the community, the Museum is a thriving, independent nonprofit. You can be a part of this enduring legacy. To learn more about our financial picture, view our Annual Report, created for fiscal year 2016-2017.

Contributions to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. SCMNH tax ID: 94-2427733. Please contact Ami Davis, Development Manager at (831) 420-6115 x14 or write development@santacruzmuseum.org for assistance.