If you own property you are no longer using, a gift of real estate to The Nature Conservancy may save you thousands of dollars in income as well as estate and capital gains taxes, and help you avoid the hassles of handling negotiations that go with selling property on your own. And your gift will provide support for the natural places you treasure.
With their children grown, Garland and Suzanne Marshall rarely used their South Carolina vacation home. As they considered their options, they chose to donate their property outright to the Conservancy—a gift that brought them tax and financial benefits and fulfilled their desire to make a difference “in some small way.”
I guess you could say that I have had a unique “fish’s eye” view on the state of the world’s oceans. As a certified scuba diver for more than 50 years, I—along with my wife Suzanne, who snorkels—have explored coral reefs and oceans from New Guinea to Bermuda to New Zealand. And what we are seeing is sad—dramatic changes in oceans everywhere, both in species diversity and density. Today, you have to go to the Seychelles Islands to see underwater diversity like it was 50 years ago.
Suzanne and I both share a deep love for the natural world, and especially for oceans. Years ago, we spent two different summers together at marine stations in southern California and Bermuda while I was a student. Though I’m now a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Washington University’s School of Medicine, I still consider myself a latent biologist.
The two of us indulge our passion for nature with trips around the world when our busy professional lives allow it. This summer we are taking seven grandchildren on a boat trip to explore the Galapagos Islands! It seems that nature creeps into much of what we do—my other passion is underwater photography and Suzanne gardens and is renowned around the world for her quilts and fabric art that often incorporate environmental themes, especially insects.
Being close to nature was a primary reason for buying a home on Dewees Island in South Carolina years ago. The private island community is dedicated to environmental preservation—there are no cars, each home has a limited footprint and no exotic plants are permitted. For years, it was a perfect vacation getaway for us and our four children. We were sure we would retire there one day. But it turns out we don’t have any immediate plans for retirement and the house is getting less and less use by our children. So we decided to look for a way to utilize the capital investment in a longer-term commitment.
As we considered how to solve our real estate needs, we naturally thought of The Nature Conservancy. We are long-time members and believe the Conservancy is taking the right approach by focusing on critical natural areas and working with local people to make them part of the solution. In the end, we chose a simple solution: we donated the property outright to the Conservancy, which then sold it. They used the proceeds to benefit conservation work in our home state of Missouri as well as in Micronesia and Papua New Guinea—places where we have personally witnessed the rapid degradation of forest and marine habitat.
To us, it was much easier to give our property directly to the Conservancy and have them deal with realtors and all the hassles of selling. It just made sense. We received an income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the property and owed no capital gains tax on the property’s appreciation. But our true reward is the knowledge that our real estate donation is helping protect the oceans and other natural places that mean so much to us.
We give to the Conservancy because we all have to do what we can to make a difference. If people don’t collectively try to do something to solve big problems, then nothing happens; it just gets worse. We are happy that the donation of our home could assist the Conservancy’s efforts in some small way.
Gifts of real estate can frequently save you thousands of dollars in income, estate, and capital gains taxes, while providing a substantial benefit to The Nature Conservancy. We accept many types of real estate from residential and commercial properties to undeveloped land.
Learn how a gift of assets can benefit you and nature.
There are many types of life-income gifts. Learn more.
Discover other types of gift options with the Conservancy.
You can protect coral reefs and other natural places by making a planned gift with The Nature Conservancy. Contact us today.