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Creating Your Own Legacy in Space

Whatever your dreams, whether they are of orbiting space settlements, lunar colonies, or Mars habitats, YOU can make the future into a reality!

No matter who you are, and no matter what your particular circumstances might be, there are many ways in which YOU can make a real and lasting contribution to our civilization's journey into outer space and on “to the stars”.

You can contribute your time, expertise, and energies to the National Space Society's grassroots activities.  If you are one of those people, we at the National Space Society salute you.

However, we recognize that, because of family, work, and other commitments, many of our members are simply not in a position to be so actively involved.  Nevertheless, there are many other ways in which each of us can help, and by doing so, establish our own personal “legacy” in space. You do not have to be a millionaire to make a real difference.  The following are only a sampling of the many methods that are available.

Click on any of the links below for more information.  A National Space Society liaison is available to answer questions.   These are a way to give tribute in memory of someone who has passed away or in honor of a person who is still living.  Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, retirements, and other special occasions offer opportunities where gifts can be directed to the Society.  The Society acknowledges gifts of $20 or more.  If you wish to make this type of gift, be sure that the person(s) who sends contributions also sends the pertinent information to the Society, including the name and address of the person honored or the names and addresses of loved ones of the person memorialized.would be pleased to help in any way that we can in your own personal “reach for the stars”.
  1. Monetary gifts
  2. Current contributions of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  3. Current contributions of real estate
  4. Life insurance
  5. Bequests/Wills (“Planned Giving” or “Estate Planning”)
  6. Trusts/Annuities

Monetary Gifts

  • A current one-time gift of cash: A donation to the NSS by check or by credit card.
  • A recurring gift: You can set up automatic donations by credit card or from your bank account at specific time intervals (such as annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly).
  • Matching contributions by employers: If you are thinking about making a donation of any size to the Society, be sure to check if your employer has a Matching Gift Program.  Many such programs match the employee contribution dollar for dollar.
  • Memorial/Honor gifts:  These are a way to give tribute in memory of someone who has passed away or in honor of a person who is still living.  Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, retirements, and other special occasions offer opportunities where gifts can be directed to the Society.  The Society acknowledges gifts of $20 or more.  If you wish to make this type of gift, be sure that the person(s) who sends contributions also sends the pertinent information to the Society, including the name and address of the person honored or the names and addresses of loved ones of the person memorialized.

Current contributions of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds

When you donate appreciated stocks, bonds, or mutual funds which you have owned more than one year, you may be entitled to a federal income tax charitable deduction (subject to certain limitations, including one based upon your adjusted gross income) equal to the fair market value of that appreciated asset on the date that the gift is made.  In this circumstance, by donating that asset to a charitable organization such as the NSS, you might avoid capital gains taxes on the appreciation in value (which you would have to pay if you sold the appreciated asset, which would otherwise trigger a “taxable gain”).

Current contributions of real estate

When you donate appreciated real estate outright to the Society, you may be able to deduct the full fair market value of the gift up to thirty percent (30%) of your adjusted gross income in the year of the gift, with a five (5) year additional “carry-forward” for any unused deduction.

Life insurance

Gifts of life insurance might allow you to make a sizable gift to a charity such as the NSS at a relatively low cost.  You may designate the NSS as the primary, secondary, remainder, or residual beneficiary of a policy.  If you continue to pay the premiums on the policy (rather than the NSS paying those premiums), you might be entitled to deduct those yearly payments as a charitable contribution on your federal income tax return.  If you instead name the NSS as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary of the policy, and then deliver and assign ownership of the policy to the NSS (your insurance agent could provide you with the details), the proceeds of the life insurance policy would be paid to the NSS, and you would receive the benefit that the life insurance proceeds would not be included in your estate for purposes of calculating whether or not any state or federal estate taxes are owed by your estate.

Bequests/Wills (“Planned Giving” or “Estate Planning”)

When people think of establishing their own “legacy”, one of the ways that frequently comes to mind is by doing so through a provision in their Wills.  There are a multitude of ways in which you can make a truly lasting contribution to the cause of space exploration, development, and settlement through a bequest in your Will.  A sampling of only a few of these methods follows:
  • A bequest in your Will of a specific sum of money, of specific shares of stock, or of a specific piece of real estate.
  • A bequest in your Will of a specific percentage of your estate.
  • A bequest in your Will of your “residuary” estate (that is, after certain other “specific bequests” are paid out of your estate, the “remainder” of your estate would then go to the NSS).
  • A bequest to the NSS Endowment Fund: The Society's main endowment fund, the NSS Endowment Fund is designed to generate funds for the operating expenses of the organization in perpetuity.  Bequests received by the NSS will be placed in the NSS Endowment Fund if the bequest is more than $1,000, and the bequest is not “donor restricted”.
  • A bequest to a Supplementary Endowment Fund:  This involves the creation of a new endowment fund, one which supports a specific project such as an on-going lecture series, an annual contest prize, a research fellowship or other educational endeavors.  The specific project must be approved by the NSS Board of Directors, so please contact NSS national headquarters for assistance.  In addition, NSS guidelines provide that a supplementary endowment fund for a specific project may be established only with donated assets of $10,000 or more; in order for the new endowment fund to be a “named” endowment (one that honors a specific individual), the initiating donation must be $50,000 or more.

Trusts and annuities

There are many methods which are available other than an outright gift (such as a “bequest” of a certain sum of money or of a certain percentage of your total estate) in a Will.  The following is a brief introduction to several of these methods:
  • Charitable Remainder Trust (a “CRT”):  In return for the irrevocable transfer of cash or property to a trustee, the annual income from the property would be paid to you (or to someone else who you designate) for the remainder of your life; upon your death (or the death of your named income beneficiary), the property in the trust then would go to the charity that you have selected to receive those benefits, that is, the NSS.
  • Charitable Gift Annuity (a “CGA”):  This would involve a contract between you and the NSS.  In exchange for making an immediate gift to the NSS, the NSS would guarantee you a specified life income payment to you (or to another beneficiary of your choice).  The NSS would then receive the remainder upon your death (or upon the death of your named income beneficiary).
  • Charitable Lead Trust (a “CLT”):  This is the mirror image of the Charitable Remainder Trust.  A Charitable Lead Trust is an irrevocable trust which generates income which goes to the charity of your choice.  On your death, the property goes to the beneficiary or beneficiaries named by you (usually your children or other heirs).  In this case, the NSS gets an immediate “income stream”, but that ceases upon your death

A National Space Society liaison is available to answer questions.  Please send an e-mail to   planned-giving@nss.org.


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Updated Sun, Mar 31, 2013 at 21:12:57
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