Ensuring a Personal Legacy of Environmental Activism
Meet Rosie Wigutoff
“if we don’t have good quality air and water, then we don’t have anything else.” –Rosie Wigutoff
Rosie Wigutoff owes her passion for the environment to her parents. Her father worked as a foreign fisheries specialist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and her mother, a lawyer, was the first female city councilwoman of Ketchikan, Alaska.
“They actively cultivated environmentalism in their children,” says Rosie. “Even the legal aspect of environmental protection is a family tradition that I keep up through my support of Earthjustice. Because my mother was a lawyer, I have a particular interest in the legal side of the work.” Her support of Earthjustice is driven by the realization that “if we don’t have good quality air and water, then we don’t have anything else.”
Over the years, Rosie has made many small contributions to Earthjustice, and she’s also signed petitions and written letters whenever asked. Her decision to leave a gift for Earthjustice in her will was made so long ago that she can’t even remember when the idea first occurred to her. “I love the partnership between Earthjustice and other environmental organizations. It creates tremendous leverage and it appeals to me to see groups working together to solve a problem.” Her decision to leave a gift has recently been reinforced by what she calls “the onslaught of corporate interests.” She adds, “I felt I wanted to do something very personal to preserve our environment in the face of that threat, and my bequest accomplishes that.”
Although she has a special interest in Central and South America because, as she puts it, “those areas need more help,” Rosie doesn’t feel the need to designate her bequest to any particular part of the world or issue. “I can’t give a lot of money now, but it gives me peace of mind to know that when my time comes, my money will go to an important cause,” she says. “I want Earthjustice to use the funds in a way that has the most impact at that particular time.”
A charitable bequest is a distribution from your estate to a charitable organization through your will or trust. You can designate a specific amount, percentage or the residuary of your estate.
an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan
"I give to Earthjustice, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 50 California Street, Suite 500, San Francisco CA 94111, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."
able to be changed or cancelled
A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.
cannot be changed or cancelled
tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient
the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation
the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase
the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on
The person receiving the gift annuity payments.
the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid
a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will
the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will
A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Earthjustice or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.
An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.
Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.
Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.
Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.
A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.
You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.
You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Earthjustice as a lump sum.
You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Earthjustice as a lump sum.
A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.
A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Earthjustice where you agree to make a gift to Earthjustice and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.