Other Ways to Give

Cash & Securities

The simplest way to support the Wadsworth is through a donation of cash or securities.


Gifts of cash are ordinarily tax deductible up to 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) in the year of your contribution (with a five-year carryover for the excess not utilized).


Securities are the assets most commonly donated. When you donate appreciated securities, you generally do not incur any capital gains tax. You also may be eligible to receive a federal income-tax charitable deduction (up to 30% of your AGI with a five-year carryover) for the securities’ full fair market value if you have held them long term (i.e., for longer than 12 months). If the donated securities were held short term (i.e., 12 months or less), your deduction may not exceed your cost basis. Because a gift of appreciated securities generally avoids capital gains taxes, this type of gift may have a lower after-tax cost to you than an equivalent gift of cash. In addition to stock, you may donate bonds and mutual fund shares.

If you would like to make a gift of securities, contact (860) 838-4055 or giving@thewadsworth.org.

Matching Gifts

Increase the value of your museum contribution with a corporate matching gift. Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match any charitable contribution made by their employees. The process is easy and typically requires you to simply submit a matching gift form.

If you have any questions about the matching gift program, call (860) 838-4080 or email giving@thewadsworth.org.

Planned Giving


Bequests (specific, residuary, and contingent gifts made by will) are the most popular type of planned gift. Whether you wish to provide general operating income for us to use as needed, which provides us with flexible support, or to a specific program, a bequest is a way to ensure that we and our programs continue to operate through your generosity. A bequest may also help you meet your financial and estate-planning goals since an estate-tax charitable deduction for the entire amount of the gift is allowed. While your will (or codicil) should be prepared by your attorney in consultation with your advisers, we are available to discuss all opportunities with you.

Retirement Plan Assets

Assets in qualified (tax-deferred) retirement plans may represent a large portion of your total assets and therefore may be an important factor in planning testamentary charitable gifts. Retirement assets generally considered suitable for charitable gifts include such plans as IRAs, Keoghs, SEPs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and ESOPs.

Left to family members or friends, these assets are subject to income tax and may also be subject to estate tax and generation skipping transfer tax. Because of this potential double layer of tax, retirement plan assets may be particularly attractive as an asset to leave as a gift. In other words, if you designate us as a beneficiary upon your death of all or a specified percentage of a retirement plan, the portion of the plan payable to us will generally escape estate taxes, and we, as a tax-exempt institution, will not be required to pay income tax on the distributions. As a general rule, if you intend to make both non charitable and charitable gifts at death, it makes sense to consider using your tax-deferred retirement plan assets for charity and other assets for heirs. If you are thinking about donating retirement plan assets, you should discuss the matter with your advisers beforehand.

For more information about planned giving, call (860) 838-4055 or email giving@thewadsworth.org.

Tangible Personal Property

While we must give special consideration to such gifts before we are able to accept them, tangible personal property, such as artwork, antiques, books, jewelry, and the like, may be donated to the museum during your lifetime or by bequest.

If you are thinking of donating tangible personal property to the museum please contact curatorial@thewadsworth.org

As with gifts of appreciated securities held long-term (longer than 12 months), a donor of tangible personal property held long term and accepted by the Wadsworth Atheneum is potentially entitled to claim an immediate income-tax charitable deduction and avoid capital gains taxes. The extent of the allowable income-tax deduction for such a gift, however, would depend on whether we use the property in a manner related to its tax-exempt mission.

If the use of the contributed property is related to our exempt purposes (e.g., gifts of artwork accepted into our collection), the donor is generally entitled to claim an income-tax charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the property (up to 30% of AGI with a five-year carryover). If the use of the contributed property is unrelated to our exempt purposes, or if the donor held the property for 12 months or less before making the donation, then the donor’s income-tax charitable deduction is limited to the cost basis in the property.

Endowment Funds

In up and down economies, and for well over a century, our doors have remained open. The strong base of our Endowment Fund is what makes that possible—by providing funding, when needed, for essentials. Your gift to the Endowment Fund is self-perpetuating. That’s because, as good fund stewards, we draw off of the interest, leaving the principal to grow in perpetuity.

Making an endowment gift requires careful consideration and professional consultation. Contact your attorney or financial adviser to evaluate your options.

For more information about the museum’s Endowment Fund, contact the Director of Development at (860) 838-4055.