Planned Giving

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Did you know: legacy or planned giving allows you to plan future gifts to maximize tax and other benefits with a bequest or other future gift commitment, while extending your relationship with York University. It allows you to create your own personal legacy at York or honour someone special to you.

For many donors, making a legacy gift is an easy and thoughtful way to make a significant future contribution to the University and its students, while maintaining financial security for themselves and their family during their lifetime.

For more information, please select one of the options below. Or please feel free to contact Marisa Barlas, Senior Development Officer, Gift Planning at 416-650-8221 or

Why did these people choose to make a planned gift to York?

Click each image to find out

Brian_Clow_Thumb_LargeRobert_Vicky_Drummond_Thumb_Large Joan_Wood_Thumb_Large Bruce_Dugelby_Thumb_LargePeggy_Lau_Thumb_Large


Wills and Bequests

A bequest is an effective way to make a truly meaningful contribution. As a deferred gift, a bequest has no impact on your current lifestyle. At the same time, it provides you with an opportunity to make a much larger gift than you might have imagined possible.

A bequest can be structured in a variety of ways and may provide a significant tax advantage for your estate. Once realized, your bequest can be put to use immediately or endowed in perpetuity to support an area of interest to you. In some cases, you have the option to name your fund.

By letting us know of your intention to include York in your estate plans, you will become a lifetime member of our White Rose Legacy Circle. Benefits include annual public recognition of your bequest (with your written permission) and invitations to special events.

For more information about making a bequest to York, click below.

Kinds of Gifts

Expendable Gifts

Expendable gifts are spent during the fiscal year they are received. They can be restricted for a specific purpose or left unrestricted for the University's general purposes.

Endowed Gifts

The principal of an endowed gift is preserved in perpetuity, with a portion of the income applied each year to the intended purpose. Endowed gifts can be restricted or unrestricted. If your gift is to be endowed for a specific project (scholarships, bursaries, programs, libraries, etc.), a minimum value is normally required depending on the project. Endowed gifts can also be directed to the General Endowment, an essential core funding source for York, to assist with our operations and/or areas of greatest need.

Restricted Gifts

When you give a restricted gift, you specify, or restrict, the terms. Specific terms can include financial assistance for students, research projects, libraries, academic programs, building funds and other approved projects at York. A restricted gift can be endowed or expendable. It is best to discuss your terms in consultation with York officials in the Division of Advancement at

Unrestricted Gifts

An unrestricted gift can be used by York for areas of greatest need. They are normally applied to the General Endowment and provide an ideal opportunity for you to assist the University where funds may be urgently required.

Naming Your Gift

The Value of Naming

When the value of a bequest is sufficient to establish a named fund, we encourage you to name it. Naming provides you, or the person you wish to honour, with perpetual recognition. If you do not wish to put your own name to a fund, an alternative option to memorialize a family member, professor or friend who has had considerable influence on your life is welcomed by the University.

The Terms for Naming

York has established minimum amounts for naming funds to ensure sustainable annual income for named projects. The requirement varies. For example, a named bursary or scholarship can be funded for a minimum of $25,000 while the naming of an academic Chair requires a minimum of $4 million. Other opportunities exist above and below these amounts.

How to Make a Bequest

Making a bequest to York is easier than you might think. If you are currently preparing your will, here are two examples of wording you can use for an estate gift to York:

For an unrestricted bequest:

"I give and bequeath to York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ont., M3J 1P3, Canada
of my estate to be used at the discretion of the University."

For a restricted bequest:

"I give and bequeath to York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ont., M3J 1P3, Canada of my estate to provide books, electronic materials and other library resources for the York University Libraries." OR: "I give and bequeath to York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ont., M3J 1P3, Canada of my estate to be used for student financial assistance (such as, but not restricted to fellowships, scholarships, awards and bursaries) for students of York University. Note: You may also specify a general subject area: "with preference given to students studying English literature or European studies."

While there is no requirement that you do so, if you wish to designate a gift to a specific project or area of the University, it is advisable that you contact the Division of Advancement at 416-650-8221 or to ensure your intentions are consistent with York's mission and programs, and are of sufficient value to support your project of choice.

What If Things Change

York is a dynamic institution and the focus of our academic priorities may change over time. In such circumstances, we may find it impossible, inadvisable or impracticable to apply the annual income from established funds for the purposes agreed upon between donors and the University. If York is of the opinion that a revised purpose is appropriate, the University shall exercise its discretion, in consultation with the donors where possible, to redirect the annual income from endowed funds for other and related purposes to the best advantage of the University. Suitable recognition will be given to acknowledge the original gift and subsequent changes.

Please Contact Us

Preparing a will is a private matter and we want to ensure you are receiving the best advice possible when it comes to the direction of your estate gift to York. To take advantage of our staff and independent professionals who can assist you with your philanthropic decisions, contact us at or 416-650-8221.

If you are considering a bequest or deferred gift of any kind to York, we strongly encourage you to speak in confidence with our professional gift planner. To ensure your intention can be fulfilled and naming request honoured, contact Marisa Barlas at or 416-650-8221.


Life Insurance

A gift of life insurance is an exciting and powerful way for anyone to have a transformative impact without having to make changes to their current lifestyle. The various ways of making a gift of life insurance include:

  • transferring ownership of a new or existing policy (fully paid or with premiums owing) to York
  • retaining ownership and naming York as a beneficiary of a new or existing policy
  • naming your estate as beneficiary of an insurance policy with a corresponding bequest to York

Check with your legal or financial advisor about whether or not this giving option is right for you.
For more information, contact our development team at or 416-650-8221.
Read how Sherry Lawson's gift of life insurance paid back an anonymous donor who had helped her many years before.



Imagine a giving option that provides financial support for you now, while leaving a legacy that will transform lives, shape futures and benefit York for years to come. If this sounds right for you, consider exploring annuities with your legal or financial advisor and with York.

For more information, contact our development team at or 416-650-8221



Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust allows you to support York's vibrant and promising future while receiving an immediate tax receipt, among other unique benefits.

Trusts can be established to provide income to family members during their lifetimes. The principal can be designated to be passed to York upon dissolution of the trust. Depending on how the trust is structured, you or your estate may receive a charitable donation receipt.

Check with your legal or financial advisor about whether or not this giving option is right for you.

For more information, contact our development team at or 416-650-8221




Stocks and Other Securities

A gift of securities is a great way to support and encourage York’s dedication to innovation, student support, cutting edge research and enhanced infrastructure. Gifts of publicly traded appreciated securities, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds, made directly to York, may provide important tax advantages for donors.

For more information about giving through stocks and other securities, visit




Retirement Plan Accumulations (RRSPs and RRIFs)

By naming York University as a beneficiary or alternate beneficiary of all or a portion of your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or registered retirement income fund (RRIF) you can make a significant gift to York while meeting your own needs and the needs of loved ones.

Plan accumulations are fully taxable as income in the year of death, usually at the highest marginal tax rate, unless they can be rolled over to a surviving spouse or a dependant child.

By naming York University as a beneficiary, funds that otherwise could be lost to taxation are redirected to support Canada's leading interdisciplinary research and teaching University. In addition, your estate will receive a tax receipt for the full value of the RRSP or RRIF.

Check with your legal or financial advisor about whether this giving option is right for you. York University's development team would be delighted to provide more information. Please contact us at 416-650-8221 or by email at



Recognizing Your Generosity

While your planned gift will be realized in the future, by letting us know of your intention to include York University in your estate plans, and you will become a lifetime member of the White Rose Legacy Circle.

Legacy gifts allow you to experience the satisfaction of helping future generations of York students reach their full academic potential. You enable York University to plan for the future, while leaving a lasting impression on York that will live on in the hearts and minds of students and faculty for many years to come.

The White Rose Legacy Circle

Officially launched on June 20, 2012, the White Rose Legacy Circle is a recognition society honouring alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and friends who have remembered York in their wills or through other forms of planned gifts. Our second annual event was held on Sept. 28, 2013.

Our latest annual event was held on December 6, 2016.

What kinds of gifts are eligible?

Deferred gifts, particularly bequests, including cash, securities, real estate, annuities, charitable remainder trusts, life insurance proceeds, RRIF'S, RSP'S, pensions and gifts in kind.

How do I let York know that I have made a deferred gift?

All gifts should be confirmed in writing, if you wish to be included in the White Rose Legacy Circle. You may also choose to remain anonymous. A Legacy Confirmation Form (PDF) is available online or from planned giving staff in the Division of Advancement.

What are the benefits?

With your permission, your name will be listed in printed donor listings and electronic media and you will receive front-of-the-line privileges for select York events. As well, you will be invited, along with other confirmed planned giving donors, to an annual members-only event.

Why White Rose?

The White Rose was the emblem of the Duke of York, founder of the House of York in the 14th century. At a ceremony in 1961, following the installation of our first chancellor Wilfred Curtis, a symbolic white rose was planted in the Glendon Rose Garden by Lord James of Rusholme, vice-chancellor designate of the University of York in the United Kingdom. Today, the White Rose remains an enduring, recognizable symbol and appears on York University's official shield.

For more information, contact Marisa Barlas at or 416-650-8221.



Legacies Newsletter

Spring/Summer 2019 [PDF] Spring/Summer 2017 [PDF] Winter 2015 [PDF]
Winter 2014 [PDF] Winter 2012 [PDF] Fall/Winter 2010 [PDF]
Fall/Winter 2009 [PDF] Spring/Summer 2009 [PDF] Fall 2008 [PDF]

The planned giving information provided on these web pages is based on Canadian regulations and is general in nature. It does not constitute legal or financial advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. We strongly encourage you to seek professional legal, estate planning and/or financial advice before deciding upon your course of action. We also encourage you to inform the Gift Planning staff in York University's Division of Advancement of your future intention to ensure your wishes are consistent with the mission and values of the University and that your intentions can be honoured in future.

For the purpose of legal documents, including wills, our official name is "York University".
Charitable Registration Number / BN: 11930 6736 RR0001