Planned Giving — and More

There is more than one way to help Return to Freedom help horses besides a donation — or in addition to a donation.

Our Planned Giving Programs provide a simple platform for your philanthropic needs. We seek to optimize the benefits to you and your family. This page may help you choose a giving program that maximizes your tax deduction benefits while ensuring a secure future for our work.

We recommend that you discuss your plans with your attorney and financial advisors. Our Development Director is here to help you customize your gift in a way that will benefit you most, and help Return to Freedom at the same time.

On behalf of all the animals at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary, we thank you.

To learn more or to make a donation, please email: or call us at (805) 737-9246.
You may also send mail to: Return to Freedom, P.O. Box 926, Lompoc, CA 93438.
Return to Freedom is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Tax ID number 06-1484961.

Is Return to Freedom already part of your planned giving? Notify us by clicking here.


Gifts of Cash are the easiest way to obtain a charitable deduction by helping Return to Freedom. A majority of the gifts made to RTF are in the form of cash through a check written by the donor. If you itemize, your outright gifts of cash are fully deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. If your total gifts exceed this limitation, the excess may be carried forward for tax purposes for up to five years.

Gifts of Stock give you a two-fold tax-saving. First, you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in value of the stock. Second, you receive a tax deduction for the full market value of the stock on the date of the gift. For income tax purposes, the value of such gifts may be deducted up to 30% of adjusted gross income with an additional five-year carry forward. If the stock has depreciated in value, ask your tax advisor if you should sell it in order to report the deductible loss, and donate the proceeds instead, in order to preserve the maximum tax deductions.

The Bequest is a donation made through a will, and is one of the most common planned gifts to RTF. You can designate a certain percentage or a fixed amount of cash from your estate to be given to Return to Freedom. Additionally, you can leave stock portfolios or personal property as part of a bequest. We can be named as a beneficiary in a will in any one of a number of simple ways. In many cases you can easily add us to your will through a simple amendment called a codicil, so that your entire will does not have to be redrafted.

The Federal Estate Tax has not been determined at the time of this publication, but it has historically been at a much higher rate than the income tax. It definitely pays to do some advance planning with your attorney and financial advisors. Please consider Return to Freedom in your estate planning.

The following text is a suggestion for how you can give horses a “Gift of Freedom” in your will. “I give and bequeath to Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary, federal tax number 06-1484961, located at PO Box 926, Lompoc, CA 93438, the gift of ———” (insert cash amount or describe real or personal property in the blank).


Return to Freedom can accept any Real Property as a donation. This includes real estate, art, collections, vehicles, or any item with a significant appraised value. For example, real estate you own may have so appreciated in value that its sale would result in sizeable capital gains tax. If donated outright to RTF instead, you avoid the tax and realize a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the real estate. In the case of any asset that has depreciated in value, ask your tax advisor if you should sell it in order to report the deductible loss, and donate the proceeds instead, in order to preserve the maximum tax deductions.


Living Trusts
A Trust is a legal agreement describing how an individual’s estate is to be managed and distributed during his or her lifetime, and at death. Trusts are often created in addition to, but typically working in concert with wills, to provide an extreme measure of estate control and to speed up the process of estate settlement. The term “Living Trust” is commonly used to describe a trust created while an individual is living. Please contact Return to Freedom to discuss specifics related to naming Return to Freedom as a beneficiary in a Living Trust.

Life Insurance
You can designate Return to Freedom as the beneficiary to a life insurance policy. To receive a charitable deduction, name us as both the owner and beneficiary of that policy. If the policy has a cash value, you can take a charitable deduction approximately equal to the cash value at the time of the gift. In addition, if annual premiums are still to be made, and you continue to pay them, those premiums will become tax deductible each year.

Even if your personal assets are not substantial, such a gesture would mean significant help for the animals one day. If you own a life insurance policy that is no longer needed, please consider donating the policy to Return to Freedom.

Life insurance policies are also a good way to replace a significant donation made to RTF. For example, you transfer a stock portfolio to RTF and establish a life insurance policy for your heirs at the approximate value of the portfolio. Your heirs will avoid paying the capital gains tax on the stocks and receive an equal amount of security in exchange.

IRA Plans
You can donate by naming RTF as a beneficiary of your IRA or qualified retirement plan. Leaving heirs an IRA plan can result in a loss of up to 80% of the amount in combined taxation. If you have provided for your spouse and/or children in your existing estate plan, you may wish to name Return to Freedom as the beneficiary of your IRA plan. Rather than having a sizeable portion go to taxes, RTF and the horses will receive the entire balance of the fund.


In the mid 1960s, the United States Congress enacted legislation to encourage individual charitable giving. One result was the Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT). If an individual is willing to irrevocably commit assets to a bona fide 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization through a CRT, they will receive the following benefits:

  • Avoidance of capital gains taxes on the sale of appreciated property
  • A current income tax deduction
  • A reduction in estate taxes
  • An increase in current income
  • Preservation of assets for loved ones
  • Establishment of a charitable legacy

At the expiration of lives or for a select term of years (not to exceed 20), whatever remains in the trust becomes a charitable gift to Return to Freedom. Simply stated, a CRT is an irrevocable, tax-exempt trust divided into income and gift portions.

Income Portion
The CRT will pay income to you and/or others at a rate of at least 5% of the trust value for life or for a term up to 20 years. In the case of many assets, such as stocks or real estate, the trust will generate substantially more income than was produced by the asset before the trust was created. Also, since the CRT is exempt from capital gains tax, it can sell the appreciated assets without a tax liability.

Gift Portion
The second part of the CRT is the remainder interest that will ultimately pass to Return to Freedom. This portion, reduced to its present value, constitutes the value of your charitable contribution deduction in the year of the gift.

Types of Charitable Remainder Trusts

Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT)
A CRAT pays a fixed percentage (at least 5%) of the INITIAL value of trust assets at least once a year. The trust payout is constant regardless of fluctuations in trust value or trust earnings. In an annuity trust, if trust earnings are insufficient to make the required payments in any year, the difference is paid from trust principal. No additional contributions are permitted under the rules governing CRATs.

Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)
A CRUT pays a selected percentage (at least 5%) of the ANNUAL value of the trust each year. The trust payout can vary each year due to fluctuations in trust investment activities and market trends. Generally, if trust earnings in any year are insufficient to pay the selected rate applied to the ANNUAL value of trust assets, the difference is paid from the trust principal. Additional contributions are permitted under the rules governing CRUTs.

Charitable Lead Trusts

A Charitable Lead Trust enables you to transfer wealth to future generations at a significant tax savings, and also helps you meet your philanthropic goals.

Charitable Lead Trusts are especially helpful for donors in high gift and estate brackets. Through such a vehicle, the donor transfers assets to a Lead Trust. A fixed annual amount or percentage goes to Return to Freedom for the duration of the trust. The duration can be a specific term of years or lifetime. Then the remaining assets of the trust pass to the trust’s beneficiaries, usually the donor’s heirs.

The trust is generally used to transfer wealth to children or grandchildren by greatly reducing taxes (estate tax, gift tax, generation skipping tax). Charitable Lead Trusts are complex, but they are also highly flexible and can be extremely effective. We can help you design a Charitable Lead Trust that best suits your particular needs and circumstances.

Besides helping you and your family reduce exposure to taxes, Charitable Lead Trusts allow you to support Return to Freedom during your lifetime. Many individuals have found Charitable Lead Trusts to be a meaningful way to provide current significant support of RTF and our work.


In an effort to give our donors more control over their gifts to RTF, we have put in place a program which enables donors to choose which RTF program they choose to support. Beyond that, donors may request further control by choosing certain materials and/or services they wish to fund.

Education and Outreach
Help RTF with mailing and distributing our newsletter, creating educational materials and DVDs, maintaining our website, tabling and speaking at events, and workshops.

Support our educational tours, Volunteer and Work Study programs, and other programs for youth and adults.

Equine Care
Help pay for feed, veterinary and farrier care for the residents of our Sanctuary, conservation of disappearing strains, and PZP (resident horse contraception) management.

Ranch Improvements
Help us to maintain, improve and further “green” our facility as an equine management and environmentally sustainable sanctuary model.

Policy and Legislation
Support initiatives on state and federal levels to help horses.

RTF may choose to apply the gift to normal operating expenses, fundraising, investments, and endowment.