How You Can Make a Planned Gift That Saves and Improves Lives

Planned Giving FAQ

CDC Foundation Senior Advancement Officer Sean Allen answers frequently asked questions about Make-A-Will Month and the CDC Foundation's planned giving program. 

What is planned giving?

A planned gift is typically a gift an individual or couple makes from assets rather than income as a part of the donor’s financial or estate plan. A planned gift may require more thought and preparation on the donor’s part, but know that we’re here to help. The most common planned gift is a bequest.

Bequests are special gifts made as part of a will or trust and are one of the most popular and flexible ways to support the causes that are important to you and your family. A bequest can be made to a person or a trust, or a charitable bequest can be made to a nonprofit organization such as the CDC Foundation. Anyone can make a bequest—in any amount—to an individual or charity. Bequests can be simple—"I give $1,000 to my grandson"—or they can be complex, with conditions about how the gifts can be used.

What is the benefit of supporting an organization with a planned gift versus a general donation?

Many donors who make a planned gift also support their favorite charities through annual giving. Anyone can make a planned gift simply by naming a charity, like the CDC Foundation, in their will or trust, regardless of the size of their estate. This type of giving doesn't require you to give away assets during your lifetime, which can be particularly appealing if you want to ensure you have enough to support yourself and your loved ones throughout your life.

The CDC Foundation is one of many nonprofits out there doing great work. Why choose the CDC Foundation specifically for a planned gift?

Public health is important to all of us because it impacts everyone. The charity you are considering supporting should align with your values and be a responsible steward of your gifts. You can assess an organization’s overall health with Charity Navigator, a popular and well-known independent organization that evaluates nonprofits’ stability, effectiveness and sustainability to help you make informed decisions about which charities you may wish to support. For the 15th consecutive year, the CDC Foundation achieved Charity Navigator’s highest rating of 4-stars for demonstrating strong financial health, commitment to accountability and transparency.

Can you share an example of someone who made a planned gift to the CDC Foundation?

Absolutely! Long-time Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee Dr. Peter Drotman began making directed annual contributions to the CDC Foundation in 2019, building toward the D. Peter Drotman Endowment for Disease Eradication. Dr. Drotman appreciates the CDC Foundation’s unique ability to mobilize philanthropic and private-sector resources, which will help CDC respond swiftly to emerging public health issues in the future. In addition to building an endowed fund, Dr. Drotman has also included the CDC Foundation in his estate plans, qualifying him for membership in the Healthy Futures Society. This select group recognizes individuals and families that have included the CDC Foundation in their wills or other estate plans. Read more about Dr. Drotman and his four decades of work at the CDC in our latest donor story.

Why work on my estate plans now?

August is national “Make A Will Month.” Yes, “Make-A-Will Month” actually exists! The end of the summer, when many families vacation together, is the perfect time to plan for your family’s future and document the causes that you care about the most. For many of us, this yearly reminder is just the motivation we need to finally sit down and create our last will and testament.

How can I get started creating a will and is it expensive?

In honor of Make-A-Will Month, the CDC Foundation is pleased to share a new way to create a will, saving you hundreds of dollars. In less than 20 minutes, you can create your own will for free.

What if I already have a will?

Most estate attorneys recommend reviewing your will every three to five years or whenever you have a big life event (like getting married, moving states, or having a grandchild). The gentle annual reminder of Make-A-Will Month is the ideal time to review and update these documents. Requesting a free copy of the CDC Foundation Estate Planning Guide is an easy, cost-effective way to begin reviewing your estate plans.

Why is it important to let charities know they are included in your estate plans?

Letting the charity know they are part of your estate plans shows that you value their work and their impact on the causes you care about. If you choose to include the CDC Foundation in your estate plans, having a confidential discussion with your CDC Foundation liaison allows the Foundation to thank you and better understand your wishes and how this future support aligns with your and the CDC Foundations' long-term goals. Should you wish to be recognized as a Healthy Futures Society Member for your commitment, it inspires others to do the same.

Making a planned gift is a relatively easy way to create a lasting impact for generations to come. The generosity and foresight of CDC Foundation donors enables our lifesaving work in support of CDC and our public health partners to continue far into the future.

If you would like additional information about naming the CDC Foundation as a beneficiary in your will or living trust or information on other planned gifts, please get in touch with Sean Allen, senior advancement officer, at or 404-476-0205. For additional ways to make an impact through your gift, please visit our Ways to Give page.

Sean Allen
Sean Allen is a Senior Advancement Officer at the CDC Foundation.