Las Vegas charities live on through legacy giving.

Written by Temple Kinyon

vegaspbs-giving1Imagine leaving a legacy that lives on long after you’re gone—some sort of lasting impression for generations to come. A legacy reflecting your heart and giving peace of mind you’ve made a difference now and into the future.

“Legacy, or planned giving, is a way to honor what you care about and to see that it continues,” Kelly McCarthy says. As director of development for Individual Gifts and Philanthropy at Vegas PBS, Kelly knows the impact legacy giving makes in the quality and longevity of the charity. “We encourage people to plan for the future for themselves, their family, and community. By giving to a non-profit like Vegas PBS, a donor’s contribution will be invested to maximize their legacy for long-term benefit.”

Legacy gifts allow Vegas PBS to focus on providing excellent television programming, including nostalgic favorites such as Lawrence Welk and powerful documentaries presented by American Experience. Legacy gifts also help enhance Vegas PBS’s educational outreach by assisting teachers and librarians with professional development.

atomic-museum-exterior-1Anyone interested in legacy giving to Vegas PBS can receive an initial consultation visit free from their Planned Giving Council to determine if it’s the right fit for them. “The Council is made up of local attorneys and financial planners,” Kelly said. “They host six meetings per year with the intent to educate the community about legacy giving’s potential and how it can benefit both the donor and community organizations, including Vegas PBS. Legacy donors are honored with membership into the Silver Legacy Society and receive their name on a glass wall at the station. They are considered a close part of our Vegas PBS family.”

Michael Hall, executive director of the National Atomic Testing Museum, also understands the importance of family legacy giving. He describes a wonderful legacy gift a daughter coordinated for her father upon his passing. The woman’s father became a distinguished scientist while working at the Los Alamos testing site during WWII. “Her family took donations in honor of him, and that resulted in a sizeable gift to the museum and a brick with his name on it in our memorial garden.”

“The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk

America’s unique story of nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site is reflected through exhibits and programming at the museum. For example, the museum hosts a signature lecture series for which top scientists from the best labs in the country come to discuss atomic testing, test labs, and the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in our children’s education. These offerings are possible in part thanks to donors with long-term thinking through legacy gifts.

history-walk-copyThese gifts also give the museum opportunity to plan for future growth. “We’re currently working on a ten-year master plan,” Michael says. “We can do that because we have a good idea of the dollars available from planned gifts. We’re expanding our programming to include the history and impact of the Cold War, issues regarding scientists (veterans) working in labs, and STEM education opportunities in schools.”

The beauty of legacy gifts is they allow the donor the opportunity to express personal preferences while combining charitable, family, and financial goals. Gifts can range from monetary to personal property to real estate and can be set up in a variety of ways (see sidebar). No matter how or where you want your gift distributed, it’s crucial to work with an accountant, attorney, or financial advisor in addition to the desired charity. There are hundreds of non-profit organizations in Las Vegas that offer planned giving opportunities. Visit vegaspbs.org, nationalatomictestingmuseum.org, or your favorite charity for more information.


As director of development at The Neon Museum, Brenda Bogue has an extensive background in development work. She offers this list of legacy giving options to use when consulting with financial advisors. “No matter how you establish your legacy gift, you can earmark your funds for specific actions, such as the refurbishment of a neon sign,” she says. “Or, funds can be unrestricted, allowing the charity flexibility.”

  • Charitable Gift Annuity
  • Deferred Gift Annuity
  • Pooled Income Fund
  • Life Income Trusts
  • Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Wealth Replacement Trust
  • Life Insurance
  • Bequests

Brenda is building a new legacy-giving program at the Neon Museum. If you’d like to leave a legacy up in (neon) lights, visit neonmuseum.org for details.