Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

Ways to Give

We depend on donor support to cover the operational costs of our education programs, strengthen our financial base, and provide matching funds for many of the grants currently in the pipeline. The Annual Fund is key to supporting our current unprecedented growth and will have a greater impact on the Laboratory than ever before. All gifts to Bigelow Laboratory make our important work possible, no matter the type.

  • Cash Gift
  • Stock 
  • Gifs of Personal Property
  • Planned Gifts 

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is a private, 501 (c)(3) non-profit public benefit  corporation. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Gifts of Cash, Checks and Credit cards

The majority of gifts to Bigelow Laboratory are in the form of cash, usually by check, and are deductible for federal income tax purposes. You can give a cash gift in the following ways:

  • By Phone:  (207) 315-2567, ext. 112

  • Check by Mail:  Please make out to Bigelow Laboratory and mail to:
        Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
        PO Box 380
        East Boothbay, ME  04544
  • Gifts of Stock:  You can help the Laboratory and save as well. Donate appreciated securities and avoid capital gains tax. You receive credit for your donation and an immediate income tax reduction for the fair market value of the securities on the date of transfer, no matter what you originally paid for them.

To obtain delivery instructions for making gifts of stock, please contact  the Advancement  Office at 207-315-2567, ext. 112 or Our bank requires that we confirm stock gifts within 24 hours of delivery, so please call or email with the details of your donation.

Gifts of Personal Property

When you donate your valuable tangible personal property, such as a boat, vehicle, or real estate, you can receive a charitable deduction based on a fair appraisal and reduce or eliminate capital gains tax.

Boat donations:  We work with Block Island Maritime Funding ( to arrange donations of boats and subsequent sale with proceeds going to Bigelow Laboratory’s Annual Fund, supporting operations, outreach, and education programs. Block Island Maritime Funding is a non-profit corporation that promotes Boat Donation Programs at a variety of organizations in New England. For more information please contact or call 207-315-2567, ext. 112.

Planned Giving

A Legacy Gift to Bigelow Laboratory enables you to make a substantial donation in your name that will endure forever and support the mission of ocean science research and discovery.

You can create a Legacy Gift by naming Bigelow Laboratory on the beneficiary form of a savings, checking, or pension account, or in a will. Your bequest can be made anonymously, or in memory of a loved one, or to pay special tribute to someone. Gifts can be cash, securities, or property. If your will is already written, your attorney can add a codicil.

Tax and Estate Laws

Bequests of cash, securities, real estate, or other property are deductible for federal estate tax purposes. Your bequest does not usually incur state inheritance or estate taxes. For substantial estates, a bequest will save the donor up to fifty-five cents on each tax dollar.

Laws governing bequests vary by state; it is important that you talk with your attorney or financial advisor when making estate plans. We can provide names of professionals who can help you make these important decisions.

Individuals who include Bigelow Laboratory in their estate plans will be enrolled in the Laboratory’s Legacy Society, and listed in a place of honor in the Laboratory’s new facility.

More detailed information about bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable lead trusts, and pooled income funds can be obtained from Jennifer Cutshall, Director of Advancement, or (207) 939-0988. We can provide names of professionals who can help you make these important plans. You can also learn more by downloading our planned giving brochure:  Gift Planning for the Future.

Special Tax Incentive for IRA Gifts

New temporary legislation allows donors aged 70½ and older to direct distributions of up to $100,000 per year from their IRAs and ROTH IRAs to Bigelow Laboratory, without incurring income tax on the withdrawal. (Per the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012)

This is good news for people who want to make a charitable gift during their lifetime from their retirement assets, but have been discouraged from doing so because of the income tax penalty.     

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who qualifies? Individuals who are age 70½ or older at the time of the contribution (you have to wait until your actual 70½th birthdate to make the transfer).
  • How much can I transfer? $100,000 per year.
  • From what accounts can I make transfers? Transfers must come from your IRAs directly to Bigelow Laboratory. If you have retirement assets in a 401(k), 403(b) etc., you must first roll those funds into an IRA, and then you can direct the IRA provider to transfer the funds from the IRA directly to Bigelow Laboratory.
  • To what organizations can I make gifts? Tax exempt organizations that are classified as 501(c)(3) including Bigelow Laboratory
  • Can I use the rollover to fund life-income gifts (charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, or pooled income funds)? No, these are not eligible.
  • Can I use the rollover to fund donor advised funds or supporting organizations? No, these are not eligible.
  • Can I use the rollover to support a particular purpose? As with all other gifts, you can direct your IRA Charitable Rollover gift as you see fit. However, you cannot direct your gift for a purpose from which you receive a personal benefit, goods, or services in return, such as a gala ticket, to purchase items at a silent auction, etc.
  • How will Bigelow Laboratory count the gift? We will give you full credit for the entire gift amount.
  • What are the tax implications to me?  Federal: You do not recognize the transfer to Bigelow Laboratory as income, provided it goes directly from the IRA provider to us. However, you are not entitled to an income tax charitable deduction for your gift.   State – Each state has different laws, so you will need to consult with your own advisors. Some states have a state income tax and will include this transfer as income. Within those states, some will allow for a state income tax charitable deduction and others will not. Other states base their state income tax on the federal income or federal tax paid. Still other states have no income tax at all.
  • Does this transfer qualify as my minimum required distribution? Once you reach age 70½, you are required to take minimum distributions from your retirement plans each year, according to a federal formula. IRA charitable rollovers count towards your minimum required distributions for the year.
  • How do I know if an IRA charitable rollover is right for me? If you are at least age 70½ and you do not need the additional income necessitated by the minimum required distribution, OR your charitable gifts already equal 50% of your adjusted gross income, so you do not benefit from an income tax charitable deduction for additional gifts, OR  You do not itemize deductions.
  • What is the procedure to execute an IRA charitable rollover? To complete an IRA charitable rollover, the first step is to contact your IRA provider to learn their procedures.

Please note that Bigelow Laboratory cannot render tax or legal advice and we urge you to consult with your professional advisor about your situation before making a charitable gift.

For more information please contact:
Jennifer Cutshall
Director of Advancement
(207) 939-0988