Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Home

Homes for the Ocean

You can donate your vacation home or primary residence to WHOI and support the future of ocean science. You will also earn significant tax benefits.

Real estate often represents a significant portion of a person’s wealth, but is not as easily liquidated as stocks and bonds. WHOI has experience receiving and selling real estate and can take the burden of managing that process off of your hands. WHOI has certain standards for the properties that we will accept—primarily to avoid environmental litigation—so please contact us if this strategy is of interest to you.

Another option with real estate is to transfer ownership, but continue to use the property for your lifetime.  The current interest-rate environment offers historically large charitable deductions for these kinds of gifts. Using this approach, known as retained life estate, you will receive a substantial tax deduction that may be carried forward for as many as five years. In addition, your heirs will not have to worry about selling your home. You will still be responsible for the upkeep and real estate taxes.

For example:
A 72-year-old has a home she originally purchased for $200,000 that is now valued at $500,000.

Assuming the structure (not the land on which it sits) is worth $150,000, she can deduct $352,667 if she assigns the property to WHOI as a gift. (The size of the deduction increases with the age of the donor.)

She can take a charitable deduction of up to 30% of her adjusted gross income, and can use it for up to five additional years if she can’t take the whole deduction in the first year.


For more information, please contact Jim Flynn, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at (508) 289-2018, or at jflynn@whoi.edu.