In addition to offering you the security of lifetime income, charitable gift annuities (CGAs) provide:

  • More favorable taxed income
  • Savings on capital gains taxes
  • Payments that are partially tax free

What kinds of assets can be used?

This giving option enables you to transfer assets such as securities, money market funds, or savings accounts. Caltech, in turn, has a contractual obligation to provide you with a guaranteed income stream for the rest of your life.

What is the payout rate?

The amount you collect depends on the principal and your age, with higher payout rates given to older donors. That’s why Caroline and George Woodruff’s strategy of laddering their CGAs over a period of years was a wise way to invest.

For example, one might receive a 5 percent payout for a CGA established at age 60 versus a 9 percent rate at age 90. Caltech’s payout rates adhere to guidelines from the American Council on Gift Annuities, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring CGAs benefit both the benefactor and the beneficiary institution.

At the end of the annuity, Caltech retains the remaining assets. By establishing a CGA at Caltech, you are enriching student life, helping provide unparalleled educational and research opportunities, and advancing world-changing science.

Caroline and George Woodruff had experiences that many people only dream of: They slept under the moonlight near the pyramids in Egypt, camped on the banks of the Seine in France, and celebrated Carnival in Brazil.

The couple embarked on their travels when they were in their 50s, thrilled by the freedom that their early retirement provided. Over the course of 30 years, Caroline and George visited every continent except Antarctica, including a 17-year stint in Thailand and a yearlong visit to India.

“You get to see beautiful sites, but it’s the people you meet when you’re traveling that is really so enriching,” Caroline says. “That makes your life what it is.”

While their retirement may have been unconventional, the Woodruffs were a textbook example of financial planning. They received a “teeny tiny pension” from their government jobs but, according to Caroline, were able to fulfill their wanderlust by opting to sleep in their Volkswagen camper instead of hotel rooms and offering to teach the locals English in exchange for cheaper boat and train fares.

The Woodruffs found success in the stock market and decided to add another layer of security to their finances by establishing a series of charitable gift annuities (CGAs) with Caltech. In transferring their securities to the Institute, they elected to receive a lifetime of fixed, annual payments. Additionally, they funded their 13 CGAs over a period of years—a strategy known as laddering—which allows them to benefit from payout rate increases given to older annuitants.

The Woodruffs chose to direct their gifts to the Institute’s discretionary funds. In this way, their lifetime commitment enables campus leaders to support areas of highest need, including emerging research opportunities, graduate fellowships, and financial aid.

According to Caroline: “Once you give a gift, you should let go. I don’t know what’s best, so I’ll let Caltech decide.”

After 65 years of marriage, George passed away in 2014. Caroline now lives in Nevada. But she remembers the couple’s life in Pasadena and how much they delighted in learning about Caltech’s college pranks as much as its breakthroughs in science and technology.

“We kept an eye on Caltech because there is so much potential there,” Caroline says. “The students are so talented. You may not know at the time, but one of them is very likely to be the next great scientist.”