Make a Legacy Gift to PAFA through Planned Giving


Maxfield Parrish,Tiffany Studios, Dream Garden, Favrile glass mosaic, 180 x 588 in., partial bequest of John W. Merriam; partial purchase with funds provided by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts; partial gift of Bryn Mawr College, The University of the Arts, and The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

A planned or deferred gift is one that is arranged during one's lifetime, but the benefit to PAFA is deferred to a future date. Bequests, charitable remainder trusts, IRA plans, retirement plans, life insurance plans and gifts of art are all ways to support PAFA through planned giving.

John W. Merriam Society

John W. “Jack” Merriam (1908-1994) was a local entrepreneur and philanthropist who was deeply committed to the arts in Philadelphia during his lifetime. He served on PAFA’s Board of Trustees, chaired its School Committee, and made the largest estate gift to PAFA in its history. His gift to PAFA was accompanied by several important works of American art, including the mosaic masterpiece The Dream Garden, designed by PAFA alumnus Maxfield Parrish and produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany, which graces the lobby of The Curtis Center.

The John W. Merriam Society honors those individuals who have provided for the future by including PAFA in their estate plans. Members of the John W. Merriam Society will be recognized in the Annual Report and receive invitations to attend special events. Your planned gift can also remain anonymous if you prefer.


A bequest is a very simple way to provide a planned gift to PAFA and often allows donors to make significant contributions that may not have been possible during their lifetime. You may leave a specific amount, specific percentage of the full estate or your entire estate to PAFA. If you have an interest in establishing a fund for a specific purpose, please contact the development office for guidance.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (CRUT) and Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRAT) are types of trusts that make payments either to you or your chosen beneficiary, for either life or for a specific term of years. At the expiration of the trust, the remainder of the funds is given to PAFA.  

IRAs/Retirement Plan Assets

You may designate PAFA as a beneficiary of part or all of the remainder of your IRA or retirement plan. Since these are assets upon which income tax is deferred, they are attractive for charitable purposes. To make this type of gift, you must notify your plan’s administrator and complete a “change of beneficiary” form. PAFA is also pleased to accept IRA Charitable Rollover gifts.

Gift of Life Insurance

You may name PAFA either as one of the beneficiaries or the sole beneficiary of a life insurance policy that you and your family may no longer require. You may also transfer ownership of a policy to PAFA. If the policy has a cash value, you will be eligible for an immediate tax deduction equal to that amount.

Gifts of Art

Collectors may make gifts of art as an irrevocable promised gift, a bequest in your will, or as a fractional interest gift, in which case you donate a percentage of the value of the work over a specified period of time. Gifts of works of art are reviewed by the Museum director’s office and subject to approval by PAFA’s Collections Committee. To inquire about giving a work of art to PAFA, please contact the Museum director’s office at 215-391-4186.

Endowment Naming Opportunities

An irrevocable planned gift can be used to establish a named endowment fund that exists in perpetuity, or a period of time. The minimum for creating a named endowment at PAFA is $250,000. The following list describes named endowment fund opportunities for which PAFA has a long-term commitment but short-term funding: Exhibitions Fund, Public Education Fund, Building Fund, Conservation Fund, Scholarship Fund, Career Office, as well as staff positions including the archivist, conservator, faculty chairs, curators, Dean of the School of Fine Arts, and President & CEO.


For additional information about planned giving opportunities at PAFA, please contact the Development Department at or (215) 972-2077. All conversations will be held in strict confidence.

The foregoing estate planning ideas, descriptions, and illustrations are provided as an educational service and should not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. Please consult your own financial and legal advisors for the plans and instruments most appropriate for your particular circumstances.