Mount Angel Seminary photo
Bequests to the Archdiocese of Portland may be used to support seminarian education.
Mount Angel Seminary photo
Bequests to the Archdiocese of Portland may be used to support seminarian education.
One of the easiest ways to donate to a beloved organization is a bequest, or a donation that is designated in someone’s will.

"All you have to do it talk with your attorney and the attorney will ask, ‘What do you want to leave?’” aid Tricia Blood, Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation’s executive director.  “You can leave anything – a wagon wheel or a chunk of change – and you can leave any amount of money, $50 or $50,000.”

In addition to money, bequests can include land, stocks, bonds or other valuable property like jewelry.
Unlike other forms of planned giving, like charitable gift annuities or remainder trusts, bequests have no tax benefits to the donor during his or her life.

Instead, bequests may allow people to leave more significant gifts in death than they would have been able to while they were living, according to Beth Schantzen, development associate for the Archdiocese of Portland’s Office of Stewardship and Development.

“There is no immediate transfer or property or cash, but someone knows that after they have passed and they no longer need that property or money, it will significantly benefit an organization,” Schantzen said.

Organizations cannot plan for these types of donations because they often don’t know when or from whom they will come. Most often, bequests come as a pleasant surprise, Blood said. Due to the unpredictable nature of this type of giving, unrestricted bequests (when a donor does not specifically say how they would like the resources to be used) are often routed toward a nonprofit’s ongoing operations or programs. For example the SSMO Foundation may use a bequest to help pay for student scholarships at Valley Catholic School.  

The archdiocese also uses bequests to support Catholic education assistance, as well as seminarian education and priest retirements.   

“It’s a heartfelt and special way to give,” said Blood. “The recipient is always thankful for the generosity of someone who thought ahead. It’s the easiest vehicle can use in the planned giving world to have an impact.”

People who would like to donate to a nonprofit or church organization should contact the organization’s development office directly. To plan a bequest to a parish or school in the Archdiocese of Portland, contact the parish or school directly, or contact the Office of Stewardship and Development at (503) 233-8336 or [email protected] Giving forms are available online at