Members and friends may support The Museum of Modern Art in a number of ways. The most common forms of giving are outright gifts of cash and securities, but there are other types of assets that may be donated as well and planned giving options that have favorable financial and tax benefits.

From its very beginning, planned gifts have helped to sustain the Museum. In fact, a bequest of works of modern art from Lillie P. Bliss in 1931 formed the basis of MoMA's renowned collection. Today planned gifts are more important than ever to the Museum's stability and future success. The term "planned giving" refers to any major gift that involves financial or estate planning. Such gifts can provide important benefits both to you and to the Museum. The different types of planned gifts include bequests, charitable trusts (remainder and lead), gifts of life insurance policies, gifts of retirement plan assets, and gifts of tangible personal property. The Modern Circle is the recognition society for individuals who have chosen to make planned gifts to MoMA.

Select the links above to learn more about various ways of giving to MoMA. We would be pleased to work with you and your advisors to structure a gift that best fulfills your charitable goals.

This website is designed to give you general information about various ways of giving to MoMA, including some of the potential financial benefits. It is not intended to provide specific advice about the legal or tax implications of charitable giving. Before making a gift to MoMA, you should consult with your financial, tax, and legal advisors for a thorough analysis of your individual situation and the tax consequences and to decide which of these ways of giving might work best for you.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

Cash and Securities

The simplest method of donating to the Museum is with an outright gift of cash or securities.


A gift of cash is the most popular way of supporting MoMA. 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).


Next to cash, readily marketable appreciated securities are the assets most commonly donated to MoMA. 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 to MoMA.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.


Bequests (specific, residuary, and contingent gifts made by will) are the most popular type of planned gift and have been crucial (along with remainders from charitable trusts) to the extraordinary growth and success of The Museum of Modern Art since its founding. Whether you wish to provide general operating income for the Museum to use wherever it is most needed (which provides the most flexibility for MoMA) or to support a specific department or program at the Museum, your bequest expresses your lasting commitment to MoMA. A bequest to the Museum 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 advisors, the Museum's Office of Planned Giving would be happy to discuss any of the various giving opportunities with you.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Charitable remainder trusts allow you to make a gift to MoMA and at the same time retain a benefit from the assets you give. These separately managed trusts can be tailored to meet your financial goals with respect to the payout rate, type of income stream (variable or fixed), and payment schedule. To establish a remainder trust, you make an irrevocable contribution of cash, securities, or other property, which is placed in trust. The trust pays an income stream to one or more named beneficiaries (which can include you) for life and/or for a set term of years (not to exceed 20), and the Museum receives the right to principal as a remainder interest. The two most common types of charitable remainder trust are: (1) the annuity trust, which pays a fixed dollar amount each year based on a percentage (at least 5%) of the initial fair market value of the trust assets; and (2) the unitrust, which pays a variable income stream based on a percentage (again, at least 5%) of the fair market value of trust assets as revalued each year. A deferral feature is available for charitable remainder unitrusts. Because charitable remainder trusts (like an IRA or 401(k)) are tax-exempt, this deferral feature can make them a useful retirement planning tool if you are in a position to defer your receipt of an income stream. Charitable remainder trusts are typically funded with assets worth $100,000 or more. Establishing such a trust generally entitles you to claim an immediate income-tax charitable deduction. You should consult with your financial, tax, and legal advisors for more information on charitable remainder trusts as they pertain to your particular situation and needs.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

Charitable Lead Trusts

A charitable lead trust is the reverse of a charitable remainder trust; the gift to MoMA is the income stream from the trust, not the remainder. Charitable lead trusts enable you to provide an income stream to the Museum immediately for a set term of years or for a term measured by one or more lifetimes after which the trust assets pass to you or your estate or to your heirs. Leaving the asset to heirs can significantly reduce the gift or estate tax that would otherwise apply. If you think a charitable lead trust could be a useful way to structure a gift to MoMA, you should review the alternatives for structuring the trust with your financial, tax, and legal advisors.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

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 to MoMA. In other words, if you designate the Museum as a beneficiary upon your death of all or a specified percentage of a retirement plan, the portion of the plan payable to the Museum will generally escape estate taxes, and MoMA, 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 noncharitable 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 to the Museum, you should discuss the matter with your advisors beforehand.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

Life Insurance Policies

Naming the Museum the beneficiary of an existing life insurance policy that is no longer needed to provide for dependents offers a simple way to support MoMA. Since you are the policy owner, the value of the policy will be included in your estate, but an offsetting estate-tax charitable deduction will generally be allowed. You may also be able to assign an existing whole life policy to MoMA, irrevocably making the Museum the owner and beneficiary, and claim an income-tax charitable deduction for the lesser of either your basis in the policy or its fair market value in that year. If the policy is not paid up and additional premium payments are due, you may donate cash or the equivalent to MoMA to pay the premiums each year and claim a full tax deduction for the gift. Lastly, you may be able to purchase a new policy naming MoMA as owner and beneficiary, pay the annual premiums (through MoMA), and claim the premium amount as a charitable contribution.

If you are considering donating a life insurance policy to MoMA, it is important that you consult your advisors about the possible state law restrictions on such a gift and about the amount of the charitable deduction you can expect to receive.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

Tangible Personal Property

Tangible personal property, such as books, artwork, jewelry, antiques, and the like, may be donated to MoMA during your lifetime or by bequest. The Museum must give special consideration to such gifts before it can accept them, and we advise you to contact the Office of Planned Giving if you are contemplating donating tangible personal property to the Museum. (See note on gifts of artwork below.)

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 Museum 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 the Museum uses the property in a manner related to its tax-exempt mission.

If the use of the contributed property is related to MoMA's exempt purposes (e.g., gifts of modern or contemporary artwork accepted into the Museum’s 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 MoMA's 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.

Note on Gifts of Artwork

Artwork is one form of tangible personal property. If you are considering donating a work of art to the Museum, you should first contact a curator in the appropriate curatorial department to talk about your proposed gift. The Museum has curatorial departments devoted to Architecture and Design, Drawings, Film, Media and Performance Art, Painting and Sculpture, Photography, and Prints and Illustrated Books.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.

The Modern Circle

The Modern Circle, chaired by Agnes Gund, recognizes members and friends who demonstrate their deep commitment to modern and contemporary art by making a planned gift or including the Museum in their estate plans. Through their foresight and generosity, these individuals play a key role in establishing a sound foundation for MoMA and ensuring its growth and success in the future. Members receive invitations to selected Museum events and programs. They are acknowledged, with their permission, in Museum publications.

Contact the Office of Planned Giving at for further information.