Impact Giving | Planning your Legacy with The Mountaineers Summit Society

Many of our members have made arrangements to include The Mountaineers in their wills or estate plans as a way to ensure the legacy and future of our organization. As a continuation of our monthly Impact Giving online series, we are talking about a critical program that focuses on our planned giving efforts formally named Summit Society.
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February 01, 2020
Impact Giving | Planning your Legacy with The Mountaineers Summit Society

Welcome to our fourth installment of our Impact Giving Series where we shed light on how charitable donations support The Mountaineers. This month we’re talking about the importance of estate planning and how members can plan gifts to support The Mountaineers in their will and become members of our Summit Society

Here are the first three blogs in case you missed them:

Many of our members have made arrangements to include The Mountaineers in their wills or estate plans as a way to ensure the legacy and future of our organization. This type of giving is often referred to as “planned giving” or “legacy giving.” 

Since April 2011, 42 individuals and families have pledged their support by joining The Mountaineers Summit Society. That means they have notified us about their financial commitment to The Mountaineers through their estate plans. In memory of the 18 Summit Society members who have departed, planned gifts have contributed over $3.3 million in support and have provided transformative resources for our programs as well as our teaching and gathering places.

PLANNED GIFTS Make a Big Difference

Since The Mountaineers became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in April 2011, donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. As a 501(c)(3), this designation ensures that 100 percent of your gift goes to support our highest priorities.

Even before our 501(c)(3) designation, planned gifts have made an incredible difference for our organization. One of the most talked about transformations - the renovation and expansion of the Tacoma Program Center to include the climbing wall - was made possible by a bequest planned by the late Brunhilde “Bruni” Wislicenus. With recognition as “Our Lead Guide” on Tacoma’s donor wall for her gift, Bruni was an avid Mountaineers climber, backpacker, skier, and basic and intermediate climbing graduate whose life was enriched by The Mountaineers. By electing to make a planned gift, she ensured that The Mountaineers will continue to carry out our mission well into the future. 

Another lifetime Mountaineers member, Diane Altwein, planned a legacy gift in her will that made it possible for The Mountaineers to move forward with important restoration projects for the Kitsap Cabin and grounds where the Kitsap Forest Theater is located. Diane came to The Mountaineers through the community of members who skied out of our Stevens Pass Lodge and joined us to welcome guests to the Kitsap Forest Theater. She was an outstanding advocate for outdoor education and often lead trips, not only for enjoyment, but to support trail building and maintenance for the Wenatchee National Forest. 

Just as Bruni and Diane vested their passion in the future of the outdoors, a planned gift can enable you to make a significant impact on building a better future for outdoor education and conservation. Mountaineer Jim Lea, co-founder of Cascade Designs and inventor of Therm-a-Rest, also chose to name The Mountaineers as a beneficiary in his estate plans. Before Jim’s passing, he had a chance to share what motivated him to make such a commitment. When asked what inspired him, he answered simply and definitively, “This is my way of giving back. The Mountaineers is a good group of people. I’d like to see the club perpetuate.” He went on to say that, “I like the mission, values and culture, and Mountaineers courses are well conducted by capable people. I appreciate that.”

Types of Planned Gifts

A planned gift of any size will make a difference. It can be a small portion of an IRA or a modest investment account. With an estate gift to The Mountaineers, you can further all the good work of The Mountaineers without affecting your cash flow today. Any gift that names The Mountaineers as a beneficiary and that will be distributed beyond your lifetime qualifies you as a Summit Society member. 

One of the most common and easiest ways to arrange a planned gift is through a gift of bequest. A bequest is the financial term for the act of shifting assets to individuals or organizations through the provisions of a will or an estate plan. A gift of bequest costs nothing and is done via a simple designation in your will. Bequests are easy and revocable if your situation changes.

Another popular way of arranging a planned gift is through a living trust, which avoids probate by naming The Mountaineers as a beneficiary. The bequest and living trust options are by far the easiest to arrange, but there are many other ways to participate in gift planning, outlined below. 

The Mountaineers encourages you to consult with your family and estate planning advisor(s) since this gift will affect your financial and estate planning circumstances.

We hope you’ll let us know when you have named The Mountaineers in your will or trust so that we can thank you and include you in our Summit Society. We can also help you with suggested language to ensure the intention of your gift is honored in the best way possible. A gift to The Mountaineers can become a vehicle for you to make a lasting mark through a gift that leaves the world a better place. 

Gifts that benefits The Mountaineers today

  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Gifts of Securities
  • IRA Charitable Rollover + Mandatory Distribution
  • Real Estate
  • Personal Rollover
  • Pooled Income Funds
  • Charitable Trusts

Gifts that benefit The Mountaineers in the future*

  • Bequests
  • Living Trusts
  • Naming The Mountaineers as a beneficiary on any account

Gifts that benefit The Mountaineers and pay you money during your lifetime*

  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Charitable Remainder Unitrusts
  • Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust

*Qualifies for Summit Society Membership

Some gifts, depending on their complexity, will need to be reviewed by The Mountaineers Board of Directors alongside our gift acceptance policy prior to accepting. When making arrangements for a planned gift intended to benefit The Mountaineers, the MOST important detail is to carefully direct your gift to “The Mountaineers” at our address at 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, and to include our Tax ID #27-3009280 on your gift. If you haven’t updated your plans in a while, please double check the Tax ID number today. 

Thank you to our Summit Society Members

We’d like to thank those Mountaineers, past and present, who chose to invest in the future of our financial well being. Thank you to all those who joined The Summit Society  by naming The Mountaineers as a beneficiary in their estate plans.  

  • Thomas Allen
  • Sheridan and Richard Botts
  • Arnie and Helen Cherullo
  • SuJ'n Chon
  • Lorna Corrigan
  • Rich and Martha Draves
  • Cathy Edelman
  • Dale Flynn and Jeanette Mills
  • Martinique and Eliot Grigg
  • John Hansen
  • Drs. Peter Hendrickson and Nancy Temkin
  • Christine Hoffman
  • Michael Kovacs
  • Dan and Nadine Lauren
  • Geoff and Peg Lawrence
  • Pam and Eric Linxweiler
  • Shirley Olson
  • Patti Polinsky and Dave Claar
  • Ray Puddicombe
  • Jordan and Joyce Roderick
  • Eric and Susan Schmieman
  •      In Memory of Dietrich Schmieman
  • Judy Sterry
  • Tom Vogl
  • Anita Wilkins
  • Anonymous Donor (5)

In Memoriam 

  • Diane Altwein
  • George Duncan
  • Edward Earl
  • James Henriot
  • Esther Johnson
  • Stuart Jones
  • James and Jane Lea
  • Evie MacDonald
  • Sylvia Peckham
  • Sara Springgate
  • Helen Strom
  • Joanne Stroup
  • Patricia Young
  • Marie Wells
  • Tab Wilkins
  • Paul Wiseman
  • Brunhilde Wislicenus
  • Patricia Young

If you have  already included The Mountaineers in your estate plans, please let us know by completing the Summit Society Intention Form so we can express our gratitude for your generosity. Please email Bri Vanderlinden at or call (2016) 521-6006.

Don’t see your name on this list? Please let us know so that we can recognize you!

Gifts Change Lives

At The Mountaineers, we rely on philanthropic support from individuals to sustain donor-funded programs. When you make a gift, you support initiatives that have been important to our outdoor community for 114 years:

  • You develop volunteer instructors, the heart of all of our programs, and elevate The Mountaineers ability to teach people how to be safe and responsible in outdoor adventures. 
  • You inspire fierce advocates of our wild places so that the health of our environment is protected for the benefit of generations to come. 
  • You provide scholarships that increase access to recreation and conservation programs for youth and adults, ensuring the outdoor education is accessible to all.
  • You connect young people with the outdoors, especially those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to the experiences we provide.
  • You publish titles that spotlight important conservation issues and reach millions of Americans to educate and inspire action.