Supporting innovation

Leadership giving provides Woodwell Climate experts the flexibility and freedom to seize unforeseen opportunities and pursue innovative initiatives. Support for cutting-edge research, high-impact policy development, and hands-on education programs furthers our mission to build a sustainable future.

Stuart and Joanna Brown

Above: Stuart and Joanna Brown

Photo by Stash Wislocki

Giving spotlight

Science to sustain a passion for the outdoors

Joanna and Stuart Brown are part of a multi-generational dedication to advocacy for science-based policies that lead the world toward a safer climate and way of life. Stuart’s grandmother, Sally Brown, was a pioneer for environmental issues in our country and a powerful force for good. She worked closely with our founder, Dr. George Woodwell, and was a transformative supporter and board member. Joanna and Stuart’s generous leadership contribution truly reflects their commitment to fighting the global climate crisis.

Joanna and Stuart’s family history first introduced them to the Center and their passion continued when they met Max Holmes, Woodwell Climate Deputy Director, and Trustees Johnny Le Coq and Stephanie Tomasky. The group connected over bringing the fly fishing and river science communities together. The Brown’s gift will support Science on the Fly, a unique program led by Dr. Holmes, that harnesses the power of community scientists to dramatically increase the number of rivers that are subject to water quality studies, and thus, greatly advance our understanding of climate change impacts.

The Browns live in Telluride, Colorado and are avid outdoor enthusiasts and global travelers. They channel their passion for climate change activism by volunteering for several national and global nonprofit boards and modeling sustainable principles in business. Here at the Center, they serve on the President’s Council and have hosted events to bring together and expand the Woodwell Climate community. We are grateful for their continued partnership. Thank you Joanna and Stuart.

For more information on leadership giving to support climate science for change, contact Leslie Kolterman, Chief Development Officer.

Kwethluk River
Dr. Max Holmes holding a fish

Left: Kwethluk River, Alaska

Right: Dr. Max Holmes on the Kwethluk River

© John Le Coq

Legacy and endowed gifts

A future of impact

Leadership gifts to the endowment are particularly vital to Woodwell Climate Research Center. When you give to the endowment, you create an enduring legacy to preserve planet Earth—one that will benefit everyone around the world, including your family, children and grandchildren for generations to come.

To combat climate change, renowned Woodwell Climate scientists conduct cutting-edge research and work with a worldwide network of partners across the globe. This requires a strong foundation of ongoing support which can serve to buffer the volatility of extramural funding availability and economic cycles.

Sustaining the ability of our experts to focus on moving science and policy development forward, rather than spending valuable research time to apply for grant funding, remains the single greatest challenge facing the Center. Endowment gifts ensure that we will always continue our innovative research and partnerships to maximize Woodwell Climate Science Center’s work for a sustainable planet.

Mary Lou and Charlie Montgomery
“A legacy gift comes from enthusiasm for an organization’s mission, for its people, for its accomplishments, or even from a sense of duty. On all accounts, we found common ground with the Woodwell Climate Research Center and chose to name it as a beneficiary in our estate planning. Working, learning, even traveling with so many of those similarly enthusiastic about the Center’s mission have been highlights for us over three decades. How could we not join the George Perkins Marsh Society and make a commitment to Woodwell Climate’s future?”

Mary Lou and Charlie Montgomery, Walpole, NH

George Perkins Marsh Society

Known to many as America’s first environmentalist, George Perkins Marsh was a 19th century scholar, diplomat and naturalist. His book, Man and Nature, sparked the establishment of forest reserves and the national forest system. It is still widely considered a pivotal text in the founding of the conservationist and environmental movements. To express our sincere appreciation to those who commit to legacy gifts, Woodwell Climate offers lifetime membership in the George Perkins Marsh Society.

Benefits and privileges of membership

As a George Perkins Marsh Society member, you will enjoy the benefits that flow from sound estate and financial planning. Your generosity may result in an increased spendable income, immediate income tax deduction, reduced estate taxes, and/or reduced capital gains taxes on appreciated assets. As a member of the Society, you play an important role in securing the future of Woodwell Climate’s work to safeguard the health of our planet for generations to come.

Each year, George Perkins Marsh Society members:

  • are recognized in the Honor Roll of Donors in Woodwell Climate’s annual report
  • are invited to special events hosted by Woodwell Climate around the country
  • are invited to participate in an annual “State of the Center” briefing hosted by Woodwell Climate President Max Holmes
  • receive special reports from Woodwell’s president not otherwise available to the public

For many types of gifts, we require only a simple written statement of your commitment to initiate your George Perkins Marsh Society membership.

A bequest is a gift made by naming Woodwell Climate Research Center as a beneficiary in your will. This is both a simple and popular method of partnering in the Center’s future. If you already have a valid, up-to-date will, your attorney can add Woodwell Climate Research Center as a beneficiary through a simple amendment to your will called a codicil. For a straightforward bequest, we suggest the following language: “I give and bequeath the sum of ___ dollars to Woodwell Climate Research Center, Inc., a nonprofit corporation located in Falmouth, Massachusetts for its endowment.” Bequests of all sizes are appreciated.

Alternatively, you could bequeath a particular asset or percentage of your estate rather than a dollar amount.

View our Legacy Giving website to learn more.

Living trusts  Including Woodwell Climate in a revocable living trust works in much the same manner as a bequest. Your attorney can assist you in tailoring the language to your needs and wishes.

Don’t have a will?   You don’t need to be wealthy to leave a legacy bequest, but you do need a will. Woodwell Climate has partnered with FreeWill to assist you with this process. You will have the opportunity to leave a bequest to Woodwell Climate Research Center if you so choose. It’s 100% free for you to use, and most people finish in 20 minutes or less. To learn more, visit

One of the most tax-smart ways to make a gift to Woodwell Climate Research Center is through a beneficiary designation in your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan. Because retirement plans at final distribution may incur considerable taxation to your estate and heirs, a gift of these assets may be one of the lowest cost ways to provide critical support for Woodwell Climate’s research.

View our Legacy Giving website to learn more.

Whole life, universal, and other forms of permanent life insurance policies can provide an important legacy gift for Woodwell Climate’s future. You can contribute all or part of an insurance policy that you own but no longer need.

When Woodwell Climate Research Center is named as the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy, your annual premium payments become tax-deductible. In addition, you generally are able to deduct an amount approximately equal to the current cash value of the policy for income tax purposes in the year you transfer ownership. Another option is to purchase and name Woodwell as owner/beneficiary of a new life insurance policy.

View our Legacy Giving website to learn more.

A charitable gift annuity provides you with a guaranteed fixed income for life in exchange for your irrevocable contribution, which may be in the form of cash and/or appreciated securities. Woodwell’s minimum level for funding this type of gift is $25,000.

The annuity is governed by a simple contract, and payments are made to you on a quarterly or other periodic basis. Annuity rates are based on your age at the time of the gift and typically range from around 4.8 percent up to 9.1 percent.* The older you are, the higher the annuity rate. Individuals age 65 and older are eligible to begin receiving payments immediately.

View our Legacy Giving website to learn more.

Deferred payment annuities   For individuals younger than age 65, or for those who wish to delay the income stream from an annuity until retirement, there are deferred payment charitable gift annuities. These annuities work the same as those described above, but payments are deferred a minimum of one year, resulting in a higher annuity rate.** The longer payments are deferred, the more the annuity rate increases. For gifts to Woodwell Climate, annuitants must be at least age 60 at the date of first payment.

*Rates are subject to change based on the recommendations of the American Council on Gift Annuities and also may vary with the timing of the gift.

**Rates may vary with the timing of the gift.


With the assistance of an attorney, you can establish an irrevocable trust naming yourself, another individual, or a bank as trustee. You may transfer cash, securities, or other property to the trust. The trust then pays income to you and/or other beneficiaries for life or a term of up to 20 years at a certain percentage or dollar amount as determined when the trust is established. When the trust’s term is concluded, the remainder is distributed to Woodwell Climate Research Center if named as the beneficiary. The income and estate tax advantages of a charitable remainder trust can be significant. A trust can be an especially attractive method of giving for those who own stock with a low cost basis.

View our Legacy Giving website to learn more.

For more information

Like any financial decision, a legacy gift must be chosen and shaped with care. We look forward to talking with you and your advisers about the best method for including Woodwell Climate in your financial or estate plans. Please contact Beth Bagley, Director of Legacy Giving.

This page provides information of a general nature only and is not intended as legal or financial advice. The services of a financial adviser, attorney, or other estate planning professional should be obtained when considering any type of legacy gift.

Download a brochure of this information.
Download a gift information form.