Skip to Content
  • Spread the word

Legacy Giving

A Passion for All Animals

Jennifer Ritman and Andy Brinkworth with elephants

For Jennifer Ritman (pictured here with husband Andy Brinkworth), the idea that so few elephants, mountain gorillas, lions and other wildlife existed in the wild was gut-wrenching enough to want to make a legacy gift for their sake.

A commitment to making a difference prompted Jennifer Ritman to become an AWF Kilimanjaro Society member.

Jennifer Ritman has always had a special affinity for animals-and they, for her. When she was a child, a pair of stray dogs made their way onto the family's property one day. One of them, a Shepherd mix, bonded with Jennifer immediately.

After the rightful owner reclaimed the dog, Jennifer was so miserable that she tried to run away from home. The pup apparently felt the same way; the owner brought her back and allowed Jennifer to keep her. The dog became her link with sanity through a difficult childhood.

Given this history, it's no surprise that, despite her busy career, Jennifer now makes time to volunteer with humane societies and rescue organizations. (Her own dogs, Mr. B and Hank, are rescues.) But Jennifer's love of animals isn't limited to dogs. She is also passionate about elephants, lions and gorillas. She can't imagine how anyone could not love animals. To her, it is so obvious they are sentient beings.

In 2011, while attending AWF's 50th anniversary event at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, Jennifer and husband Andrew Brinkworth met key AWF staff and learned just how few lions, mountain gorillas and other species remain in the wild. She describes this realization as "gut-wrenching," and knew she had to go to Africa to see these animals in person—and AWF's conservation programs in action. When Jennifer had the opportunity to join an AWF safari a year later, she jumped at the chance. She was recovering from a serious illness but received clearance from her doctors, and July 2012 found her celebrating her 50th birthday with Andrew-in Africa!

Wanting to Do More

The trip was a dream come true, but not without its challenges. Jennifer's health deteriorated over the course of their travels in Rwanda and Zambia. By the time the party reached Muchenje Lodge in Botswana, Jennifer realized the group would have to continue without her.

Because Jennifer desperately wanted to see lions before leaving, Shawn Metcalfe, co-owner of Muchenje, graciously organized a private drive for her. When they finally found a pride, however, her excitement gave way to dismay as she observed dozens of people crowding around to get a glimpse of these few lions.

It took her a long time to process her feelings about the experience.

"While I was ecstatic to have seen the lions, it really hit home just how much damage people have inflicted on this planet," Jennifer explains. "These animals are meant to be here. They are a critical part of the ecosystem. Yet humans continue to destroy the environment."

Though she had been supporting AWF since 2004, Jennifer wanted to do more. With full support from Andrew, she decided to include AWF in her living trust. Jennifer also used her business and personal contacts to host a fundraiser for AWF. More than 100 people attended and she is already planning her next event. She explains, "With the 2016 fundraiser, I want to support the AWF sniffer dog program to assist in the battle against wildlife traffickers. What a perfect merger of my two loves-dogs and wildlife."

You, Too, Can Leave a Legacy for Africa's Wildlife!

Jennifer's legacy gift will ensure that AWF can continue protecting lions, elephants and many other species beyond all of our lifetimes. Making AWF a beneficiary in your own will, life insurance policy or retirement account is simple to do, and it will make a profound impact on Africa's wildlife for generations to come. To learn about becoming a legacy donor, call +1 202 939 3333 or visit awf.org/legacy.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the African Wildlife Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

Bequest Language

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the African Wildlife Foundation [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to AWF or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to AWF as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to AWF as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and AWF where you agree to make a gift to AWF and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.