Planned Giving

ISW Planned Giving Society Logo
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

-Benjamin Franklin

Thank you for your interest in The Institute for the Study of War’s Legacy Society

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is proud to celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2022. Since its founding in 2007, ISW has made a remarkable impact on American national security through reliable open-source intelligence that informs US leaders and through educational programs that produce rising stars in national security. Generous support from ISW’s donors has made this impact possible.

ISW is postured to make even larger contributions to US national security in the coming years. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine marks the end of the post-Cold War security order in Europe. Russian aggression fundamentally changes the national security landscape America faces. The United States will need to revisit long-held assumptions about US security and fundamentally alter US preparation to face future threats. ISW’s mission to inform US leaders and educate emerging talent has never been more vital.

ISW reached a new threshold in early 2022 by producing the map of record of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ISW’s map received millions of views across major print and broadcast media platforms in its first few days alone, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Economist, CNN, and Fox News. This global impact undermines Russian disinformation operations and provides reliable and timely information to the American public. ISW assessments of the war in Ukraine are also informing US and allied leaders responding to this crisis.

ISW is an independent, nonpartisan institution outside of government that serves as a watchtower for America’s security, sees around strategic corners, helps our commanders and soldiers in the field, affects policy at home, and explains to the American people what they need to know about their security.

ISW’s long-term strategic plan aims to ensure strong national security for generations to come through its educational programs housed within The General David H. Petraeus Center for Emerging Leaders while expanding its analytic programs within The General Jack Keane Center for National Security.

There are many ways to create a lasting legacy to help us provide America’s leaders and the American people with an informed, unbiased, and accurate understanding of the situation on the ground in conflict zones critical to US national security and to identify, develop, and strengthen the future national security leaders who will face those crises directly.

Planned gifts help committed supporters like you make a larger gift than otherwise possible. They provide ISW with the financial strength to expand and give you and your family financial benefits as well. And they create a permanent personal legacy to protect our country’s national security. No matter how you choose to express your legacy, rest assured your commitment will help us defend the safety and prosperity of America and its allies for generations to come.

Benefits of Membership

  • A commemorative ISW Legacy Society crystal paperweight
  • Special invitations to events sponsored by ISW
  • Invitation to an exclusive ISW Legacy Society annual event
  • Recognition on our ISW website (if you so choose)
  • The satisfaction of knowing that your generous planned gift will help ensure America’s national security for generations to come

Giving through your Will

By including the Institute for the Study of War as a beneficiary in your will, you help us advance an informed understanding of military affairs among decisionmakers and the public through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative leadership education.

The ISW Legacy Society recognizes and honors those who make planned gifts to the Institute for the Study of War. Because we are a non-profit charitable organization, your bequest may be free of estate taxes. The language in your will can be as simple as:

“I hereby give, devise, and bequeath to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) (Tax ID #26-0273675) of Washington, DC the sum of $_______________.”

Or: “I hereby give, devise, and bequest to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) (Tax ID #26-0273675) of Washington, DC all (or state a percentage) of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, to be used for its general support (or for the support of a specific fund or program).

Giving through Life Insurance & Retirement Plans

You can also name ISW as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy or your retirement plan (such as a 401(k), 403(b), IRA, or other pension plan). By naming ISW as a beneficiary, you maintain complete control over the plan while living, but the plan transfers to ISW at your passing free of both income and estate taxes.

ISW can be named as a primary beneficiary for part or all of the assets in the plan, or as a contingent beneficiary, or as a beneficiary upon the death of your surviving spouse. Please ask your insurance agent, your employer, or the financial institution managing your retirement plan for the proper forms. 

Giving while Receiving Income

You can plan a substantial charitable gift now that will allow you or a person you designate to receive payments for life or for a set period of time. Assets remaining in this gift plan when the payment period is over will go to the charity you designate, such as the Institute for the Study of War.

Examples of these types of gifts include Charitable Remainder Unitrusts and Charitable Lead Trusts. These gift plans often result in tax benefits, such as preferential treatment of capital gains and an income tax charitable deduction, and can also be an excellent way to provide income for loved ones who depend on you for financial support.  You can experience peace of mind when you take control of the future in ways that will benefit you, your loved ones, and your charitable interests.

The Institute for the Study of War does not provide legal or tax advice; these examples of tax benefits are based on assumptions that might not apply to your individual circumstances. We recommend that you seek the advice of your attorney, tax advisor, and financial planner in connection with all gift and estate planning matters. 

Giving through Donor-Advised Funds

A donor-advised fund is like a charitable investment account for the sole purpose of supporting charitable organizations you care about. When you contribute cash, securities, or other assets to a donor-advised fund at a public charity, you are generally eligible to take an immediate tax deduction. Then those funds can be invested for tax-free growth, and you can recommend grants to virtually any IRS-qualified public charity such as The Institute for the Study of War.

When you give, you want your charitable donations to be as effective as possible. Donor-advised funds are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicle in the United States because they are one of the easiest and most tax-advantageous ways to give to charity. The public charity sponsoring your account will conduct due diligence to ensure the funds granted out will be used for charitable purposes and the grantee is an IRS-qualified public charity.

Additional advantages of a donor-advised fund:

  • Simplified recordkeeping - it's much easier to keep track of one tax receipt
  • Support your legacy planning
  • Authorize your financial advisor to help you take full advantage of your donor-advised fund
  • Name your donor-advised account to honor your family or other revered entity 

Giving through Securities

More than 50 percent of Americans own securities, so it is no wonder more people are generously giving stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to charity. By giving securities instead of cash, you may benefit from tax savings that would allow you to make a larger charitable gift at the same cost to you.


You can make a bigger impact by donating long-term appreciated securities, including stock, bonds, and mutual funds. Your gift helps make an impactful difference in protecting America’s national security.


ISW can accept gifts of stock electronically through its broker or directly through the mail.  If you would like to make a contribution, or if you have other questions, please contact ISW's development department at [email protected].

Long-term Investment in America’s National Security

What can you do to help our country? You can make a big difference.

By including the Institute for the Study of War as a beneficiary in your estate plans, you help us advance an informed understanding of military affairs among decisionmakers and the public through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative leadership education.

For ISW’s dedicated supporters, a planned gift is the perfect way to ensure that every dollar is spent according to your wishes. It is a chance to plan for your future financial well-being and that of your loved ones while leaving a legacy to support ISW’s vital mission—to stay at our posts on the watchtower and meet whatever national security challenges lie ahead.

Your consideration of a planned gift gives The Institute for the Study of War the guaranteed resources it needs to protect America’s national security over the long term. Your investment and participation in the ISWLegacy Society will ensure that ISW can support warfighters, advise national security leaders, revolutionize intelligence, shape the security debate, and ensure the next generation of leaders will be prepared to protect our national security no matter what challenges arise.

With a well-thought-out estate plan, you can provide for your family’s future as well as reduce estate taxes that might otherwise be owed. Many people choose to provide first for their loved ones and then leave the remainder of their assets to charitable interests that have been an important part of their lives. If you do not have a plan in place, your property and assets could be disposed of by a Court Administrator according to a “one size fits all” state statute, which does not account for any charitable interests you may have.


If you would like to make a planned gift and join the ISW Legacy Society, or if you have other questions,

please email [email protected].

For further questions please email: [email protected]


Please consult with your attorney or personal financial advisor regarding the legal and tax benefits of all estate and planned gifts.