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Public Library

Library Legacy Society

Many people wish to make a lasting contribution to the San Diego Public Library system they have used throughout their lives. Those who make a bequest or other planned contribution to the Library are recognized through membership in the Library Legacy Society.

You can become a member of the Legacy Society by letting the Library know you are doing one or more of the following:

For additional information about becoming a member of the Library Legacy Society, please call the Development Office at (619) 236-5849.


Charitable bequests are an important part of estate planning. Each year, the San Diego Public Library receives wonderful contributions from farsighted individuals who make contributions through their wills or trusts, often at a more significant level than they could have made with an outright contribution. By leaving a bequest, you can have a lasting impact on generations of Library patrons to come.

Your taxable estate is reduced by a 100% deduction for a bequest amount and saves taxes whenever a taxable estate exceeds the amount offset by estate tax credits. Since the estate tax rate is progressive, the larger the estate, the more savings per dollar contributed. Bequests can be for a specific amount of money, securities, or other property as well as residuary, to be paid after other obligations.

If you wish to make a bequest to the Library, we suggest the following wording:

The [estate/trust] shall distribute [$ fixed amount or percentage] to the San Diego Public Library to be used solely and exclusively for the benefit of the [Central Library, Branch Library, or READ/San Diego] to [your choice of activity or program]. These funds should be used to enhance rather than replace City funds budgeted for Library services.

Library Trust Funds

Some donors wish to create a perpetual base of support for the Library system, their local community branch, or a special activity, such as children's programs. With a minimum contribution of $25,000, individuals may endow a Library trust fund where the principal remains intact to generate future income for their designated interests.

Lifetime Income

You may transfer assets – cash, securities, or real property – to a trust and provide a life income for beneficiaries. After the lifetimes of the recipients, the assets go to the San Diego Public Library. Life income trusts can provide income tax deductions, capital gains avoidance, estate tax reductions; and income for life. Some forms of life income arrangements are unitrusts, annuity trusts, and pooled income funds.

Lead Trusts

You may fund a lead trust with cash, securities, or real estate to provide the Library with specific payments for a set number of years, after which the property is transferred to your designee. You have the potential to save estate and gift taxes through this mechanism.

Contributing Your Residence

You may receive an income tax deduction for donating your house or other real property to the Library, even when you and/or your spouse continue to live there for the rest of your life (lives) or a fixed number of years. You may also receive a deduction for a remainder interest in your residence, that the Library shares with other beneficiaries.

Contributing Life Insurance

Your family may no longer have the same need for the proceeds of a life insurance policy that they once did. You may donate a fully-paid life insurance policy to the Library and receive a deduction for the cost basis. You may also name the Library as a beneficiary of your policy; the latter does not result in an immediate income tax deduction, but qualifies as a federal estate tax deduction.