Student working in the glass hot shop

Planned Giving at RISD

“I love RISD. My experience there did so much to shape my worldview, hone my skills, and build a network of friends I'm still close with. I included RISD in my estate plan because I want others to be able to enjoy those gifts for a long time to come.”


Now more than ever, the world needs visionaries. Since 1877, RISD has served as a laboratory for innovative thinking. Generations of RISD students have gone on to make their unique mark on the world, changing its trajectory in unforeseen ways.

Planned gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and empower RISD's students to build a just, sustainable future. These are just a few of the ways to make RISD's future a part of your plans.

Give a gift through your will or trust

Including RISD in your will or trust allows you to create a meaningful legacy while retaining full control of your assets during your lifetime, and potentially reduce estate taxes. If you have already included RISD in your estate plans and would like to let us know, we'd love to hear from you.

Sample bequest language: “I give [the sum of $__________] OR [%________ of my estate] to the Rhode Island School of Design, a Rhode Island nonprofit educational institution, for its general educational and charitable purposes.”

Give through your retirement plan

If you are 70 ½ or older, you can make a tax-free gift of up to $100,000 to RISD directly from your IRA account. The tax impact is like making a fully deductible gift without increasing your income.

You can also name RISD as a beneficiary of your IRA or retirement plan. Doing so is an easy, tax-effective way for anyone to have an impact, regardless of your age.

Life insurance or other financial accounts

Did you know you can name RISD as the beneficiary of your life insurance, brokerage and bank accounts, annuities, or other financial instruments? Beneficiary designations are perhaps the easiest, most convenient way to have an impact.

Gifts of stock or other appreciated assets

Gifts of appreciated assets, such as stock, allow you to maximize your impact on RISD. Your contribution will make a difference at RISD, allow you to avoid capital gains tax on the appreciation of the asset, and qualify you for an income tax deduction.

Donor advised funds

Donor advised funds are an easy, flexible way to make gifts to RISD. Your fund administrator handles the distributions, record-keeping, and tax receipts. Many donors also find it advantageous to make gifts through their small business or family foundation.

RISD's Tax Identification Number is 05-0258956.

Jesse + Helen Rowe Metcalf Society

Named for two of RISD’s founders, Jesse + Helen Rowe Metcalf, whose vision and legacy have blossomed into the institutions we hold dear today, the Metcalf society honors and recognizes our planned giving donors. Members enjoy an annual luncheon or virtual gathering, engaging programming with experts in wealth and planning and updates on the exciting work of our students and faculty.

More on the Metcalf Society

Planned Giving stories

Bree Westphal 11 IllustrationBree Westphal 11 IL

It was a nudge from her employer that gave Bree Westphal 11 IL the perfect opportunity to give back to RISD. Although the illustrator and UX designer had always thought she’d “need to be wealthy in order to make a meaningful gift” to her alma mater, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that by naming the college as the beneficiary of her retirement accounts, she doesn’t “need to have a whole lot now to give a lot back later.”

Now based in Madison, WI, Westphal says that naming RISD as her beneficiary made total sense. “When I got to RISD I had nothing more than my drawing hand,” she says, “but by the time I graduated I had vision, inspiring friends and the means to build a creative life.”

After initially working in the gaming industry, Westphal now helps children learn at Curriculum Associates. “I am a designer and illustrator for reading comprehension software that helps to improve children’s literacy across the US,” she says. “I’m driven by the possibility that I might help lift a kid out of a dead-end situation through education—the way I was lifted out of mine.”

Given the scholarship support she received at RISD, Westphal says, “I was able to graduate with a considerable—but manageable—amount of debt that I could pay off on time, even as I took positions with lower pay overseas.”

As for the gesture she recently made in return, Westphal says, “I’m excited that I will help RISD students in the future.” And she’s now one of the youngest members of the Metcalf Society, which recognizes those who have included RISD into their estate plans.

from RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2019

Get in touch

For questions about making a planned gift to benefit RISD, sample language for your will or trust, or to let us know that you have included RISD in your estate plans, please contact Chad Nelson, Senior Planned Giving Officer at or 401 454-6189.

Other ways of giving

Give to the RISD Fund

Provide the critical support RISD needs to continue offering students a world-class education.


Volunteering your time and expertise helps RISD raise awareness for important initiatives, connect students and alumni and keep our community strong.

Give to the RISD Museum

Advance RISD’s mission and accessibility by supporting the RISD Museum, founded alongside the college in 1877.