The Isles of the Blessed. That is what the Greeks called it, thousands of years ago. They said Atlantis was a place where hero-spirits lived in a happiness unknown to the rest of the earth. A place which only the spirits of heroes could enter, and they reached it without dying, because they carried the secret of life within them.
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Q What is the Atlantis Legacy?
A The Atlantis Legacy is a special program of the Ayn Rand Institute that acknowledges donors who have arranged bequests and other estate gifts to ARI, and highlights the importance of planned giving to the Institute’s ongoing success in advancing Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.
Q What is “planned giving”?
A Planned giving combines estate planning and philanthropic support, resulting in deferred gift commitments such as bequests, charitable trusts and other long-term vehicles. It is the process of incorporating charitable gifts into your overall financial planning, in order to reduce your tax liability, support your values, and achieve other benefits. By employing a variety of IRS-sanctioned methods, you can maximize your wealth and exercise more control over its disposition during your lifetime, while helping to ensure the future of the Institute after your lifetime.
Effective gift planning can (1) provide substantial current income tax deductions; (2) eliminate or reduce capital gain taxes; (3) eliminate or reduce estate and other transfer taxes; (4) increase cash flow by providing supplementary income to you and/or another individual; and (5) help protect your assets and privacy. Donors are motivated to make planned gifts by such tax and financial concerns as well as by their desire to help secure permanent funding for ARI, leaving a legacy that reflects their lifelong values. Even for donors of relatively modest wealth, planned giving can create a more substantial legacy to the Institute than might have been possible otherwise.
Planned giving facilitates a harmony of interests characteristic of a rational philosophy in action, offering a unique opportunity for Institute donors to, paraphrasing Ayn Rand, fight for the future and live in it today (see “Why ‘Atlantis’?” below).
Q Why are planned gifts so important to the Institute?
A Since no one knows when Objectivism will take hold in the culture, ARI must be prepared to carry on its work for many years to come. The financial foundation made possible by planned gifts is a prerequisite for building the philosophic foundation of a civilization based on reason, freedom, and Ayn Rand’s exalted view of life and man. Bequests and other deferred gifts help guarantee that ARI will have the resources it needs for as long as it takes to change the world.
Ayn Rand wrote that “the spread of ideas is an enormous job.” While the Institute has achieved much in its relatively short history, the enormous task of transforming the intellectual bedrock of the culture will not be accomplished without a commitment well into the future. Nothing about the future is guaranteed, except that philosophy controls human destiny—and advancing the right philosophy is a long-term endeavor, requiring equally long-term support. Planned giving is crucial because it maximizes that long-range support. Without a successful planned giving program, the job will not get done.
If Ayn Rand’s ideas are to have an enduring presence in the world in future generations, it will be in large part because of the foresight of Institute donors today. Through their commitment, Atlantis Legacy donors take part in shaping the future of ARI and creating the world “as it might be and ought to be.”
Philosopher and Institute board member Harry Binswanger commented on his commitment to planned giving at ARI: “I like the idea of my money continuing to fight for Ayn Rand’s ideas into the indefinite future, even after I’m gone. In a way, it’s a form of immortality: to be funding, beyond my lifetime, a world-changing institution.” To read testimonials from other donors, see Atlantis Legacy Donors In Their Own Words.
Q Why “Atlantis”?
A In her writings and in conversation, Ayn Rand used the legendary island city of Atlantis as a symbol for an ideal world. The first chapter in Part III of Atlas Shrugged, which begins as Dagny awakens after crashing her plane in Galt’s Gulch, is titled “Atlantis.” Thus we thought it a fitting name for our long-term gift recognition program—since bequests and other deferred gifts will help fund the philosophic and cultural renaissance of a new Atlantis in the future.
And why should we fight for the future? Ayn Rand’s answer, in part, is that “anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today.” In taking action to further one’s ideals, one creates the future Atlantis in one’s own life in the here and now. One also thereby helps protect and defend the individuals of the next generation who share the values one holds dear. Ayn Rand said, when considering the importance of posterity: “It is not posterity, but the exceptional man, or my kind of man in the future . . . to whom I would want to leave an intellectual and philosophical inheritance.”
And what an inheritance Ayn Rand left us: the inspiration of her heroes—the kind of men who could rebuild Atlantis—and the brilliance of her philosophy, which makes Atlantis possible as it never was in the past. Our mission is nothing less than the creation of a world in which the “exceptional” man, and all men, are free to live and create to their highest potential and greatest happiness.
Q Who can participate in the Atlantis Legacy?
A Participation is open to individuals who (1) include ARI as a beneficiary in a will or living trust, and/or an insurance policy, retirement plan, bank account, etc., and who (2) inform ARI that they have made such arrangements. Participation is not limited by the value of the gift nor any contingencies placed on such designations to the Institute. Hundreds of donors have already taken these generous and far-reaching actions that help ensure the continuation of ARI’s work into the future.
The Atlantis Legacy also recognizes donors who establish more complex deferred gifts benefitting ARI, such as charitable trusts, gift annuities and other arrangements. For more information about such gifts, see Planned Giving Beyond Bequests.
Atlantis Legacy Pages
ARI is committed to providing donors with accurate and authoritative information about planned giving. However, we cannot render legal or tax advisory services, and the information in these Web pages is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice. We urge donors to consult their own advisors regarding the tax and legal consequences of potential gifts. We are pleased to work with donors’ advisors as well as our own to ensure the best result for all concerned.
The Ayn Rand® Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. ARI’s federal identification number is 22-2570926.
Atlantis Legacy® is a registered trademark owned by the Ayn Rand Institute. All rights reserved.