The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship and its predecessors have been in continuous operation for more than fifty years, and have made substantial progress in gaining acceptance of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, as the author of the Shakespeare canon. We haven’t finished the job yet, which is not surprising when one considers that the Shakespeare authorship question is the most colossal literary hoax of the ages. Exposing it has been the work of several generations of scholars—most of them Oxfordians—who are uncovering missing facts and connecting them into an indisputable whole. Today, many SOF members think that the final exposure is around the corner.
But what more can the SOF do? This question led us to launch a research grant program in 2014. It has also led us to join with allies to pressure the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to open its gaze to the authorship facts that have been uncovered. And now we are considering additional ways to build greater public awareness and acceptance.
As the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship Board of Trustees looks to expand its efforts, it has realized that it needs some assurance that there will be sufficient funds on hand to sustain our activities until they are successfully completed. This assurance can only come from people and entities that believe strongly in the SOF mission.
As a not-for-profit tax-exempt entity, the SOF can receive donations that entitle the donor to income and/or estate tax deductions to the extent allowed by law. In general terms, donations can be categorized as either “current” or “planned.” Current gifts are those that are made to the SOF now. Planned gifts are those that are arranged at the present time, but will be received by the SOF at a later date. If you have any questions about how to accomplish any of the following gift methods, please email us.
Make a Current Gift
Cash: This is usually the easiest tax-deductible gift to make. A donor can send a check to the SOF or donate online by credit card. To make a wire transfer of cash, a donor should first write or email the SOF.
Securities: A gift of securities (e.g., stocks, bonds, or mutual funds) offers a donor advantages and significant tax savings. If a donor’s securities have appreciated and have been held for at least twelve months, he or she can donate them and make a charitable gift while deducting the full fair market value of the donated securities. To avoid a capital gains tax, it is necessary to donate the securities themselves rather than to sell them and donate the proceeds.
Real Estate: The SOF can accept gifts of real estate on a case-by-case basis. If the donor has owned the property for more than twelve months, he or she may qualify for a tax deduction based on its fair market value. There are a number of issues relating to real estate that are too complicated to outline here, but if you have any interest in making such a gift, please contact the SOF, and we will set up a time for a private discussion about it.
Other Assets: Assets, such as limited partnership interests and closely held stock, can also be used to make tax-deductible gifts to the SOF. Like real estate assets, donations of these assets can be more complicated, so we would be happy to discuss these options with you.
Make a Planned Gift
Bequests: In a last will and testament, a donor can name the SOF to receive a specific dollar amount, a percentage of his or her estate, or the remainder of it. If the donor uses a trust to carry out his or her estate planning objectives, he or she can make a similar provision in the trust instrument. [Note: Many states allow you to add a planned gift to your will via a handwritten codicil, which is signed, witnessed, and attached to the will. Please consult your attorney about the laws in your state.
IRA and Retirement Plan Assets: A donor can name the SOF as the designated beneficiary of a retirement plan such as an IRA, 401(k) or 403(b). This is an effective way to make a charitable gift since it will not be subject to either estate tax or income taxes, which would be incurred if the donor left the retirement fund to someone other than his or her spouse.
Life Insurance: A donor can make a gift of life insurance by irrevocably designating the SOF as the owner and beneficiary of the policy. Paid up policies (i.e., where there are no more premiums payable) work best. A donor can also name the SOF as a partial or contingent beneficiary of a policy on the donor’s life while retaining ownership of the policy.
Charitable Gift Annuity: This type of gift allows the donor to make a charitable gift and still receive income. The donor and one other person may receive immediate or deferred income through this arrangement. Age and amount limitations apply, so it will most certainly require the participation of the donor’s professional advisors, but it does allow the donor to support the SOF, receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction, and lock in fixed, partially tax-free payments for life.
Charitable Remainder/Lead Trusts: The donor can realize the tax advantages of making a gift now—especially of appreciated assets—while still receiving income from the assets through a charitable remainder or charitable lead trust. A charitable remainder trust can provide income to the donor (and possibly others) during the donor’s lifetime, and the remaining assets can be donated to the SOF. With a charitable lead trust, the gift “leads” in the sense that the trust distributes income to the SOF for a period of years or during the donor’s lifetime, at which point the remaining assets return to the surviving family members.
As you can see, there are many options available to someone who is considering making a contribution to the SOF. Some are easy to use, while others call for input from a donor’s professional advisors. We are confident that donors will be able to structure a gift that fulfills their personal objectives and will assist the SOF to fulfill its objective of having the world recognize the 17th Earl of Oxford as the true author of the Shakespearean Canon. If you have any questions, please contact us.