Legacy Circle

Estate Planning

The Legacy Circle is unique group of individuals that have remembered the Highlands Center in their estate plans. Gift planning does not require great wealth nor does it need to be complicated. From bequests to charitable gift annuities, there are many ways to become part of the Legacy Circle.

Legacy Circle members are also invited to special exclusive programming throughout the year. It is our way of saying “thank you” including us in your estate plans. You can support our mission beyond the grave—contact us to learn more.

If you are interested in including HCNH in your estate planning, please contact our Executive Director Dave Irvine at (928) 776-9550 or dirvine@highlandscenter.org.


The simplest gift is a bequest in your will or trust that directs specific assets or a percentage of your estate to HCNH.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Through an irrevocable trust, you receive fixed or variable payments for your lifetime or a term of years. The reminder passes to HCNH’s endowment.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A simple contract guarantees you a fixed income for life in exchange for the remaining residuum after your death benefiting HCNH’s endowment. Annuity rates are set by the American Council on Gift Annuities.

Retirement Plan and Insurance Beneficiary Designations

You can designate HCNH as the beneficiary of a retirement plan such as an IRA or 401(k) or a life insurance policy. At death, the assets transfer to the HCNH, reducing estate and income taxes.

POD Provisions

Payable on death provisions are effective for the seamless transfer of certain assets such as retirement accounts, bank accounts, and investment accounts.

Estate planning and legacy circle banquet

A Volunteer Couple’s Legacy for HCNH

Don and Annette Schiller had already left a wonderful legacy at The Highlands Center for Natural History (HCNH) by volunteering their time and talents for many years. However they wanted to do more.

Annette, a retired first-grade teacher, was recruited by Tom & Lois Benson to become a HCNH docent shortly after their arrival in Prescott. “I love working with children, encouraging and nurturing their sense of wonder,” shared Annette.  “The children have kept me young and young at heart.” Annette then served on the original Board of Directors of the newly incorporated HCNH in 1996. As a board member she spent hours helping to craft the HCNH vision and mission statements and laying the foundation for the Center’s move onto the current Prescott National Forest campus.  “I feel like I helped to give birth to this place.”

After accompanying Annette for years as she attended HCNH’s famous docent gatherings and potlucks, Don was asked to succeed her on the HCNH Board. “I was really impressed with the commitment of this group of people to make a difference in this community and their vison to impact the lives of children,” Don commented. Having  spent a career in the broadcasting and cable television industries, Don’s background in business management was a perfect fit for the needs of a growing organization. He was quickly asked to become HCNH Treasurer by then President, Chris Coleman. During Don’s time on the Board the plans for the new James Family Discovery Gardens were debated, finalized and implemented. “It was rewarding see the organization attract new donors, become financially stable and grow the reserve and endowment funds.“

Recently, Annette and Don decided to leave a different type of legacy by making a planned gift to the Highlands Center. The couple wanted to make sure that their investment as volunteers, board members, and donors, would be sustained long after they were gone. After taking care of the needs of their family, the Schillers designated a percentage of their estate to be directed to HCNH Endowment Fund. “It is important to give back to future generations, now more than ever as the influence of technology on our children grows,“ added Annette. “They need to experience something real by connecting with nature to find something that recharges their batteries and spirits.”

The current Legacy Match Program made it the perfect time to do this. Thanks to the foresight of an anonymous donor, the legacy gift made to the Center by Don and Annette resulted in an additional $5,000 contribution to the HCNH Endowment Fund housed at the Arizona Community Foundation.

The Legacy Matching gift program is still in place today for all new documented Planned Gifts of any size or amount. Each new pledge of a planned gift will leverage an additional $5,000 contribution to the Center’s growing endowment.    For more information on making a planned gift to the Highlands Center, and to take advantage of this generous “matching gift” offer, please contact Dave Irvine, Executive Director, at 928-776-9550.

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