Planned Giving

Murray Johnston Had an Eye for Business and Philanthropy

Murray JohnstonMurray Johnston had an eye for the future. And knew a thing or two about horticulture. To be precise, the former agriculture inspector for Los Angeles County believed avocados would be big business in the years after he took over his father's 20-acre citrus ranch in 1943.

Johnston followed his hunch and strategically began replacing the lemon groves on the Fallbrook, California, property with avocado trees in the seasons that followed.

His decision paid off. Just as he thought, the avocado industry took off soon after, which provided Johnston the opportunity to comfortably retire by the mid 1970s — well before his passing in 1996.

"He was very good at what he did and a good businessman," says Murray's son, Robert Johnston, who recently awarded a portion of his father's trust to the Salk Institute. "As it turned out, Fallbrook was one of the best places in the world to grow avocados."

Murray Johnston also had an eye for philanthropy, splitting his trust among Salk, UCLA (his alma mater) and UCSD. His relationship with the Institute began after meeting Ray R. Ramseyer who managed estate planning at the time for the Salk. Over the years, Murray visited the Institute and became an active donor, a portion of his gifts went toward cancer research, while the majority were unrestricted funds that provided immediate resources for needs that are of top priority.

"Salk was definitely his favorite [beneficiary]," Robert says. "It was something he wanted to do for society. He had an accumulation of money and wanted to do something good with it."

Connect With Us

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Salk Institute 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

I give [insert dollar amount, property to be given, percentage of the estate, or "the remainder of my estate"] to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, a California nonprofit corporation, located at 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037.

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 the Salk Institute 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 the Salk Institute 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 the Salk Institute 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 the Salk Institute where you agree to make a gift to the Salk Institute 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.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.