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A charitable gift annuity is a contract between you and Harvard, backed by the assets of the University. The contract states that in exchange for your gift, Harvard agrees to pay you a fixed dollar amount annually for life.

Charitable gift annuity graph

Part of the income paid to you and your beneficiary(ies) may be tax-free or taxed at more favorable capital gains tax rates, depending on the asset you use to fund the annuity. The income is based on the age(s) of the income beneficiary(ies) at the time of the gift. At the end of the last income beneficiary’s lifetime, Harvard Law School will use the principal in accordance with the terms of your gift. Annuities can be established with minimum gifts of $25,000 (unless stated otherwise).

The chart below illustrates for a range of ages Harvard’s gift annuity rates, payments, and deductions for a $25,000 one-life gift annuity. Harvard’s gift annuity rates are capped at 9% for those 85 years of age and older. We can provide an illustration specifically for you (or you and your spouse-payout rates will decrease when two people receive payments).

Age Rate Annual Payment Deduction
65 5.4% $1,350 $7,965
70 6.0% $1,500 $8,971
75 6.7% $1,675 $10,345
80 7.7% $1,925 $11,647
85 8.7% $2,175 $13,410
87+ 9.0% $2,250 $14,298
Example based on a quarterly payment and an Applicable Federal Rate of 3.4%

Please keep in mind your payout rate would be fixed and will not change regardless of prevailing interest rates or what happens in the financial markets.

Gift Annuities can be structured in several ways:

Immediate Payment Charitable Gift Annuity:
An Immediate Payment Charitable Gift Annuity begins making payments in the year you make your gift.

Deferred Income Charitable Gift Annuity:
With a deferred annuity, your payments begin on a predetermined future date. This deferral results in higher income payments for the beneficiary(ies) and a higher tax deduction, as compared with an immediate payment gift annuity.

Stepped Charitable Gift Annuity:
A stepped annuity can be structured with income steadily increasing for a period of years based on a predetermined schedule. The minimum gift for a Stepped Charitable Gift Annuity is $50,000.

Flexible Gift Annuity:
A flexible gift annuity allows you the ability to trigger your income when you need it. By selecting a range of possible start dates, you have control over when you begin to receive income and therefore more control over your income taxes.

“Education” Annuity:
This option can be useful for assisting a child or grandchild with education costs. The income beneficiary can exchange the lifetime of annuity payments for a fixed number of payments (most commonly, four to eight yearly payments).

For more information, please contact Harvard Law School’s Planned Giving staff at 617-384-9932 or