2019 GW Legacy Challenge

Description of the Program

The 2019 GW Legacy Challenge is a gift-matching program that enables GW Law alumni and friends to have an immediate impact when they make planned gifts to support the University (e.g., via bequests in a will or living trust, retirement-plan beneficiary designations, etc.). When you document a planned gift to GW Law, you can immediately direct 2019 GW Legacy Challenge matching funds to a purpose that resonates with you—such as scholarships or support for a specific school or program. For every $10 of your pledged planned gift, $1 of Legacy Challenge matching funds (with a cap of $10,000) will be directed to the GW Law purpose you select.

Make an impact now by documenting your planned gift today! As of January 1, 2019, we have a pool of $1,000,000 in unrestricted matching funds that are available on a first come, first served basis to any donor who documents a planned gift. The GW Legacy Challenge program will end on either December 31, 2019, or when the matching funds have been depleted, whichever comes first.

How it Works


Bruce W. Martin
Director of Planned Giving
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, NW • Washington, DC 20052
202-994-0841 • bmartin@law.gwu.edu


Q: What types of planned gifts qualify for the 2019 GW Law Legacy Challenge?

A: Planned gifts eligible for matching funds include: bequests via will or living trust, beneficiary designations from a retirement account or bank account, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and beneficiary designations of a life insurance policy given to GW Law (the match would be based on the existing cash amount in the policy). If you want to know if your gift qualifies for a match, please e-mail bmartin@law.gwu.edu or call 202-994-0841.

Q: If I have already documented a planned gift with GW Law, will it qualify for the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge?

A: Thank you very much for documenting your planned gift with GW Law. Generally speaking, the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge is meant to encourage the creation of new planned gifts or to inform the University about previously established but unreported planned gifts. However, if you have increased the amount of a previously documented bequest or if you previously documented the gift of a percentage of your trust or residual estate and the estimated value of that percentage has more than doubled, then we may be able to credit the increased value to the Challenge. To confirm that your gift qualifies for a match, please e-mail bmartin@law.gwu.edu.

Q: How do I document my planned gift for the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge?

A: You can document your planned gift by submitting a 2019 GW Law Legacy Challenge Gift Confirmation form, which you can download HERE. Print the document, fill it out, and return it via e-mail to bmartin@law.gwu.edu or via mail to the The George Washington University Law School, 2000 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052.

Q: If my bequest will create a future scholarship fund in my name, can the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge matching funds be used for a current use scholarship in my name?

A: Yes, if you have previously established a current use scholarship fund at GW Law. If not, then 2019 GW Legacy Challenge matching funds for scholarships will be allocated to the Power and Promise fund, which will be used for current use scholarships benefiting any GW school(s) you choose to support.

Q: Can I direct the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge matching funds to a different school or program than where my bequest is directed?

A: Absolutely! That is one of the best features of the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge—the matching funds can be directed to any school, program, or existing endowed fund at GW Law, and they do not need to follow the same designation of your bequest.

Q: What if the value of my bequest exceeds $100,000—will I qualify for more than $10,000 matching funds?

A: We have set a cap of $10,000 on matching funds. Since one purpose of the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge is to reward many people for documenting their planned gifts to GW Law, we do not want to expend all of our matching funds on a small number of large bequests.

Q: How else might I go about supporting GW Law with my philanthropy?

A: We hope that you will also consider supporting GW Law by making an annual gift to any area of the University that is meaningful to you. We ask that all donors participating in the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge at least consider an annual gift and require that that they complete this form.

Q: Who made the 2019 GW Legacy Challenge possible?

A: The 2019 GW Legacy Challenge has been made possible by the tremendous generosity of the estates of Joan H. Colbert (CCAS BA’61) and Douglas J. Mitchell (GWSB MA’93).

Q: Has GW Law done something like this before?

A: Yes, GW Law conducted its first Legacy Challenge in early 2017 in conjunction with the University’s Making History campaign. That program had $336,000 in matching funds, which yielded $11.1 million in new planned giving commitments! With results that successful, we wanted to offer a second edition to encourage even more GW Law supporters to take part.


GW Legacy Challenge Gift Confirmation Form
Bequest Language

The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.


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