Types of Planned Gifts

There are many types of planned giving. Find information about the options below, and contact Diane Brondyke, Director of Development, at dbrondyke@vesterheim.org or 563-382-9681 to talk about your ideas.

Meeting with your estate planner? Read this.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
Charitable Lead Trusts
Life Insurance
Real Estate
IRA Charitable Rollover
Transferring Stocks and Securities
Meeting with your estate planner? Read this.

Vesterheim is a registered 501c3 charity. Vesterheim Federal Tax ID: 42-6081638.

Sample Codicil language for your will:

A codicil is supplemental language to a will that explains or modifies it. A codicil that benefits Vesterheim might be written by dollar amount, a percentage of the estate or remainder, or a specific object (like a family immigrant chest). It may also be directed to a particular program. Those codicils that reference specific programs should also include a clause that won’t tie the investment up if such funding isn’t necessary at the time of the donor’s death.

They are typically simple inclusions, like this:

“I (NAME), A RESIDENT OF THE County of (county), State of (state), declare that this is a codicil to my last will and testament, which is dated (date the original was signed).

“I bequeath to Vesterheim Museum, 523 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa 52101 the sum of $__________, to be used for such purposes as the Board of Directors may designate.”

“I bequeath to Vesterheim Museum, 523 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa 52101 ____% of my gross estate, to be used to enrich the folk art school endowment or for such purposes as the Board of Directors may designate, if such an endowment is fully funded.”


Plain and simple, bequests are gifts made to a charity through a donor’s estate. These are the most popular planned gifts and allow donors to make commitments without using assets that they may want to use in other ways. Find more information about making a bequest to Vesterheim here (PDF).

Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust is an irrevocable trust that generates a potential income stream for the donor who sets up the trust or other beneficiaries, with the remainder of the donated assets going to Vesterheim after a set length of time.

Charitable trusts offer flexibility over your charitable beneficiaries as well as lifetime income, supporting retirement, estate planning and tax management.

Charitable Lead Trusts

A charitable lead trust reduces your beneficiaries’ taxable income by first donating a portion of the trust’s income to Vesterheim, transferring the remainder of the trust to the beneficiaries after a set length of time.

Life Insurance

To make a gift of life insurance, donors can transfer their policy so that Vesterheim becomes the owner and beneficiary. Donors may then take an immediate income-tax deduction. By continuing to pay the premiums, donors may deduct each payment in subsequent tax years.

Real Estate

Gifts of real estate are a wonderful way to remember Vesterheim, and a great tax savings because they help donors avoid any capital gains tax burden. There are a few considerations for those who might want to make this kind of gift:

  • The property ideally will be highly appreciated, offering the maximum tax benefit.
  • Donors must be prepared for a lengthy due-diligence process by the charity.
  • The property must be debt-free.
  • The individual must be willing to irrevocably transfer the property to the charity, which will exclusively control the sale, including negotiating the sale price.

Donors who meet these conditions can make an enormous difference to Vesterheim and other charities, while saving BIG on capital gains taxes.

IRA Charitable Rollover

Are you looking for a tax-effective way to make a year-end gift to Vesterheim? A charitable gift rollover from your Individual retirement account (IRA) may be your best option.

The IRA Charitable Rollover Act permits people age 70½ or older to make tax-free gifts of up to $100,000 directly from their IRAs to nonprofit organizations like Vesterheim. Please talk with your tax advisor to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Find a sample letter (PDF) to bring to your IRA administrator here.

Transferring Stocks and Securities

To request information on transferring gifts of stocks and securities, please call Vesterheim’s Development Director Diane Brondyke at 563-382-9681, ext. 103, or contact Dick Cuvelier (Edward D. Jones broker for Vesterheim Museum) at 563-382-9689 or by fax at 888-769-8954. You can also find a complete Donor Letter of Security Transfer (PDF) to send to your broker here.

Vesterheim Federal Tax ID: 42-6081638

Honoring Mary Dunea

Mary Dunea While Mary Dunea from Osage, Iowa, visited us at Vesterheim this month, we took the opportunity to honor her…
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Valhalla Society

Founded in 1989, the Valhalla Society consists of a special group of donors who have chosen to honor their passion for preservation with planned giving. These gifts provide a lasting legacy for the future of Vesterheim. Vesterheim thanks these Valhalla members for their contributions.

Click here to view Vesterheim's Valhalla Society Members

Maynard* and Minerva Aaker
Cynthia Alan
Natasha Alexander
Doris J. Allebach
Robert A. and Evy Johansen Alsaker
J. Harry and Josefa Andersen*
Jack Anundsen
Tim P. and Ingrid Carlson Barrier
Gordon G. Bauman
Owen Bekkum
Donald L. and Barbara J. Berg
Daniel Nels and Kristi Limburg Berkland
Katharine Bilodeau
Bjorn G. and Lillian N. Bolstad
Eileen Borchers*
Joan Liffring-Zug Bourret
Michael J. Bovre
Dr. Joseph and Ingrid Callaghan
John and Veronna Capone
David and Brenda Carlson
Frances Christian
Peter Coffeen
Karlyn Nordgaard Cross*
Donna Danielson Estate
Sallie Haugen DeReus
Marguerite E. Drake
Philip and Audrey Dybdahl
Karla and Lindsay Erdman
Clarence W. and Marilyn L. Engwall
Richard M. and Nancy L. Enstad
Charles D. and Cornelia M. O’Kieffe

Audrey L. Erdman*
Jim and Joy Erickson
Norman E. Erickson Estate
Evelyn Evenson Estate
E. T. and Marjery Fjelde
Ella Ager Fossum
Edna Furreboe
Gary and Miriam Gandrud
Helen E. Garnaas
William N. Georgeson*
Dean H., Sr., and Ann Urness Gesme
Karen B. Gray
Stella Grinna*
Glen H. and Shirley B. Gronlund
Justin Gullekson
C. Carlyle and Mary R. Kittelsland Haaland
Nancy Hackett
Glenn Haga*
James A. and Elaine Halls
Richard and Diane Halom
Rebecca S. Hanna
Jon and Mary Hart
Kirsten Roverud Heine
Helen M. Heitmann*
Richard and Joann (Harr) Hemp
Dale and Barbara Henning
Gerald Freund and Ann Highum
James M. and Susan R. Honsvall
Michael Hovland
Dan F. Huebner*
Harriet M. Husvedt Estate
D. Scott and Jessica Ingstad

Dennis Johnson
Gary L. Johnson
Martin and Ruth Johnson
Ruth Christine Johnson
Steven and Barbara Johnson
Ingrid and Russell Keune
Rannveig M. Klinge
Dr. Alf and Alma Knudsen
Charlie Langton
Gail Larson
Paul and Dianne Larson
Phyllis Leseth*
Joan M. Leuenberger
James W. and Martha Ylvisaker Limburg
Prof. Carl R. Loper, Jr.* and Jane L. Loper
Annie R. Lucky
Dean E.* and Marilynn Amdal Madden
Kate M. Martinson
Lynn S. Maxson
Berit T. Mesarick*
Irene J. (Hopland) and Robert C. Meyer
David and Linda Brekke Mona
Harry Navarre*
Betty R. and David T. Nelson*
Dr. David L. and Ann Nelson
Marion and Lila Nelson*
Marybeth Nelson
Dr. Eugene J. and Olive* Nordby
Julia F. Nordby
Neal R. Nottleson

Mary Ann Olsen*
Connie Osmundson*
Ruth and Lynn Paulson
Hamlet and Suzanne Peterson
Janet Blohm Pultz
Roland and Elizabeth Rasmussen
Kate Nelson Rattenborg
Barbara and Alan Rennie
Kristin Robbins
David and Lee Rokke
Jerry Rosholt*
Robert and Lucille Rosholt
Douglas “Dag”* and Sharon Rossman
T. Eileen Russell
Robert L. and Elizabeth Gilbertson Sande
Michael and Diane Schmidt
Jason Sederquist
Harold E. Segelstad
Beth Selvig
Robert D. and Rebecca D. Shaw
Karin E. Sproul
Hazel T. Stoeckeler
Linda A. Sunde
Daniel Thurmer
Irene and Morten Tuftedal
Harold S., Jr. and Pamela A. Ulvestad
Ronald K. Wells
Barbara Westby*
Marwin O.* and June Olson Wrolstad

* deceased

Endowed Funds


Vesterheim is fortunate to have friends who are eager to express their generosity by supporting its future with charitable gifts. Our list of endowed funds illustrates how private contributions make a difference. This compilation of endowed funds established at Vesterheim from its beginning in 1877 to the present reflects a history of philanthropy at the nation’s most comprehensive museum dedicated to a single immigrant group.


An endowed fund is a permanent source of income for Vesterheim programs and/or departments. Gifts to an endowed fund are invested. Endowed funds accrue interest annually, a portion of which is used for each endowment’s stated purpose. The remainder of the interest is reinvested to perpetuate the endowment.

To learn more about endowed funds at Vesterheim, please contact Diane Brondyke at 563-382-9681, ext. 103, or email dbrondyke@vesterheim.org.


There is a growing need for the museum to secure long-term financial stability in order to deliver reliable service despite changes in the economy. Building endowments is one of the most important ways to ensure Vesterheim’s financial health. Each gift is an investment in the future of Vesterheim, one of America’s most treasured cultural resources.

Donors are encouraged to name the endowment in a way meaningful to them (i.e., Johnson Family Fund, John Johnson Fund for Excellence, etc.).


You can contribute any amount to any of the listed endowed funds, or create your own. A gift of $25,000 or more can initiate a named endowment and can be a thoughtful way to honor or memorialize a loved one. The gift can be paid all at once or in payments (typically three to five years). Until $25,000 is reached, the interest gained is reinvested in the fund. Once the fund reaches the $25,000 amount, the annual interest will payout to purpose.

Click here to view Vesterheim's Endowed Funds

Carlson Endowment for Research
for state-of-the-art storage for artifacts

Darrell Henning Acquisition Endowment
for the support of acquisition of artifacts

Harry and Josepha Anderson Fine Arts Endowment
for the support of the fine art collection

King Olav V Endowment
for the conservation program

99th Battalion & NORSO Group Endowment
for preserving and exhibiting artifacts of the Battalion

Valdres House Endowment
for interpretation and upkeep of the Valdres House

Folk Art Education

The Dan and Bonnie Huebner Endowment for the Westby-Torgerson Education Center
to support educational programs at the Westby-Torgerson Education Center

Norwegian Arts and Crafts Endowment
for facilities and teaching Norwegian arts and crafts

Sigmund Aarseth Norwegian Instructor Endowment
to bring Norwegian folk-art instructors to teach at Vesterheim


Wrolstad Publications Endowment
to assist with costs of Vesterheim publications and current publishing expenses

General Operating Support

Barbara Westby Endowment
toward operating expenses

The Dan and Bonnie Huebner Legacy
toward operating expenses

General Endowment
for operating expenses

Endow Iowa Challenge Grant
toward operating expenses

Haugen-Talhaug Endowment
toward operating expenses

Lila and Marion Nelson Endowment
toward operating expenses

Membership Endowment
to support membership and operating costs

Trygve Lønnebotn Endowment
toward operating expenses

Wigeland Endowment
for operational support

Professional Development

Crown Princess Märtha Endowment
for staff development and exchange

Gertrude Berg Professional Staff Endowment
for the support of administrative and managerial positions

Lutheran Brotherhood Endowment
to assist in the compensation of the executive director