As Peabody moves toward its goal of raising $75 million by 2017, legacy gifts are becoming an area of increasing focus.
Legacy gifts, also known as bequests, are made when a donor arranges for a nonprofit to receive a sum of money after the donor has died. As such, they reflect the donor’s investment in the long-term future of the institution, notes Andrea Trisciuzzi, Peabody’s associate dean for external relations.
Because the funds don’t usually become available for a number of years after a bequest is made, “it’s important for an organization to have an ongoing, consistent effort to encourage bequests for future years,” says Patrick O’Neall, director of major gifts at Peabody. He adds, “Bequests have always played a major role in Peabody’s fundraising for financial aid for students.”
About 45 percent of the $31 million thus far committed for the university-wide Rising to the Challenge Campaign has been in the form of bequests, he says. Donors may endow a scholarship with a minimum of $100,000.
“In the past few years we have realized approximately $3.4 million from bequests, but we have future commitments of $34 million that will be coming to Peabody over the next 25 years or so,” he adds.
The Peabody National Advisory Council has set an important example in legacy giving. To date, almost half of the council’s 25 members have made legacy commitments. These bequests are in addition to their very generous outright gifts, notes Trisciuzzi.
Another area of focus has been build- ing up the institute’s endowment, which currently stands at $100 million. Legacy giving helps ensure that Peabody’s endowment grows in the years ahead. Comparable music schools, such as Juilliard, Curtis, and Eastman, enjoy significantly larger endowments, says O’Neall. “We are aggressively campaigning to build our endowment, through outright gifts and through estate gifts,” he says. All of these efforts allow Peabody to attract the most talented students in a very competitive market.
— Christine Stutz