Donate to the Society

General Fund

Our operations are funded by donations, memberships, grants, support from the City/County, and earned income such as gift shop sales. Donations to our general fund make up about 31% of our annual operating budget. Donations allow us to continue to fulfill our mission, provide programs, exhibits, and research assistance to the community, and continue to care for our large collection of historical artifacts and archival materials that tell the unique Ames story.

Donate to our General Fund:

Capital Improvement Fund

Anyone who has visited the History Center at 416 Douglas realizes that even our newly-renovated first floor space in our building is still inadequate for our needs.  Besides this space, five off-site artifact storage areas are also cramped. Our Capital Improvement Fund was established in November 2003, initiated by an anonymous donor of modest means who set aside 20 cents in pocket change each day supplemented by "found money." Donations to this fund allowed us to pay off our building at 416 Douglas and the neighboring parking lot. Additional contributions will go towards further renovations at 416 Douglas, purchase of a consolidated storage unit, and ongoing building maintenance needs.

Donate to our Capital Improvement Fund:

Endowment Fund

Our Endowment Fund, created in 2004 with the Story County Community Foundation, provides for the mission and future goals of the Society. Gifts to our Endowment Fund are invested over time and create a permanent source of funding, helping us fulfill our mission today and into the future. Gifts made directly through the Story County Community Foundation may be eligible for Endow Iowa credits. If you'd like your donation to be eligible for Endow Iowa credits, please contact the Story County Community Foundation directly at 515-232-9200. Gifts made on this page are not eligible for Endow Iowa credits, but will be placed in our self-directed fund through Story County Community Foundation.

Donate to our Endowment Fund:

Planned Giving


Charitable bequests and other estate gifts are fully tax deductible as a charitable contribution, so estates pay no federal estate tax or state inheritance tax.  Wills and codicils to wills are the most common means of transferring gifts after death.

Retirement Plan Assets

Funding a charitable bequest with a qualified retirement plan, like a traditional IRA, 401(k) plan, or TIAA-CREF, is particularly appealing because both income tax and estate tax are avoided, making this a very "tax-wise" gift. Savings bonds and deferred compensation are also possibilities.

Life Insurance

Donation of a life insurance policy results in a current income tax deduction and converts an asset that may no longer be needed into a significant gift.  Ames Historical Society can also be named as a partial or sole beneficiary of an insurance policy, or a policy can be written naming us as the beneficiary.  In the latter case, we hold the policy and make annual premium payments with an annual gift from the donor.  The donor gets a tax deduction for the amount of the annual premium.

Gift with a Retained Income

This method provides for making a current gift to the Ames Historical Society while retaining an income for the donor’s life, and, if desired, for the additional life of the donor’s spouse or other beneficiary.  Some or all of the following benefits may obtain:  retained income for life, the possibility of an increased rate of return on the gift assets, a charitable income tax deduction, avoidance of capital gains tax, removal of the gift property from the donor’s taxable estate, reduced estate settlement costs.

Pooled Income Funds

In this method, gifts ($25,000 minimum) from a large number of donors are combined for investment in such mutual fund companies as Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab.

Individual Charitable Trusts

Larger contributions ($100,000 or more) may be placed in a trust which can be structured to pay either a variable income with growth potential or a fixed income that will not change.  The donor may determine the trust income or "payout" rate within certain limitations.  Under current tax law,  the minimum payout is 5%, with the average ranging between 5-7%.  Trusts can be funded with cash, marketable securities, and even real estate.  Charitable trusts are very attractive when funded with highly appreciated assets like stock and real estate because capital gains tax is totally avoided.  Trusts may be established through an attorney, stockbroker, or bank trust department.

Your Residence and Life Income Gifts

There are those for whom equity in a personal residence may represent a substantial asset.  The donors contribute a residence and retain the right to continue living in the house during their lifetimes (a life estate).  The donors receive a current income tax deduction based upon their ages and the appraised value of the residence.  Capital gains tax is avoided and the donors make a significant gift without affecting their current lifestyles.

Charitable Lead Trust

This highly specialized estate planning technique provides an income to Ames Historical Society for a period of years, after which the remaining assets are distributed to the donor or heirs.  Lead trusts are appealing when donors would like to transfer significant assets to heirs at a reduced cost in terms of estate and gift taxes, while also benefiting a charity.

Become a Member

Memberships are another important source of ongoing funding for the Society. Click here for more information about memberships.

Donate to our Collections

Click here for more information about donating artifacts or archival materials.