American Psychological Foundation

Why did you leave a charitable bequest to APF?

Because APF provides funds to support a staggering array of worthwhile projects for students in all contexts and at all levels, for early career psychologists, and for experienced researchers. These scholarships, travel awards, and research grants enhance psychology and improve the human condition now and for generations to come. APF research grants support investigators whose interests extend from the womb to the tomb. Moreover, APF supports direct interventions, such as understanding and preventing violence, as well as community rebuilding after natural or social disasters.

With its excellent record of maximizing awards and minimizing operating expenses, APF is a frugal and superior steward of its resources.

Why do people make charitable bequests?

I cannot divine people's altruistic motivations, but some people I know make charitable bequests because they are passionate about the important work of certain organizations. Charitable bequests increase the likelihood that this work will continue in perpetuity. William James said that "the great use of a life is to spend it for something that outlasts it." Knowing that one's charitable bequest will last forever is a reassuring kind of immortality for some people.

In addition, depending on one's unique circumstances and the specific provisions of a charitable bequest, there are clear advantages that can reduce the tax liability of one's estate.

How would I go about making a bequest?

First, consult a competent estate attorney to discuss your overall financial situation. After expressing your wish to make a charitable bequest, the estate attorney can provide a list of possibilities, including the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. After consulting your estate attorney, the next step is to discuss your situation with Elisabeth Straus, Executive Vice President/Executive Director of the APF: e-mail; telephone: (202) 336-5824. She and her staff members are competent and accommodating.

Do you have anything you can say to your colleagues about making a bequest to APF?

After careful planning with financial advisers and estate attorneys, you should make a charitable bequest to APF, if you want to affect the future of the discipline we love and if you want to save money on taxes. Until I investigated bequests as part of an overall estate plan, I thought that only people with substantial resources should be thinking about making a bequest to APF. I was wrong. No matter what your financial circumstances, an appropriate bequest will be good for you and for APF. You will feel good about giving, and APF will increase its impact now and forever. In his inimitable way, Sir Winston Churchill said it succinctly: "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give."