One of the most important ways to preserve IJ’s victories and to be part of our long-term success is to make a lasting commitment to our fight by including the Institute for Justice in your estate plans—whether that is with a gift through a will or by making IJ the beneficiary of a retirement plan or other account.


Economic Liberty Client Joey Vanoni

A gift through your estate will help preserve the freedoms you value for generations to come and ensure that IJ has the resources to continue fighting for liberty as long as it is challenged.

We now have an opportunity to make your support go even further.

Because this kind of support is vital to our effectiveness, we launched a major new campaign to secure $100 million in planned gift commitments by December 2018.


Educational Choice Client Kendra Espinoza and Family

The catalyst for the campaign is a new challenge grant from longtime IJ donors Bernard and Lisa Selz.  Bernard and Lisa cherish liberty. They want to know that people throughout the nation will have the Institute for Justice at their side to protect them, preserving the freedoms they value.

So they issued a challenge: they pledged $2.7 million to match bequest commitments to IJ from other donors. The Bernard and Lisa Selz Legacy Challenge will be indispensable to ensuring that IJ has the kind of resources necessary to stand with those who stand up for their rights and for the rights of others—now and for future generations.

For every bequest pledge we receive, Bernard and Lisa will provide a current cash donation to IJ worth 10 percent of the pledged gift’s value—up to $25,000 per pledge.

This means that bequests to the Institute for Justice now have a vital impact not only on our future, but also on our fight today.

How the Selz Legacy Challenge Works

  • Name the Institute for Justice in your will or trust, or as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, savings account or life insurance policy.
  • Complete the Selz Legacy Challenge Matching Form. You can download the pledge form shown below, complete the form, and mail it to the Institute for Justice. Or, if you prefer, simply complete the form online. We will print it and mail it to you, along with a self-addressed envelope, for you to sign and return to IJ.
  • A matching donation of up to $25,000 will be made in your name, while matching funds are available.


  1. A donor makes provisions in her will for IJ to receive a cash gift of $50,000. Through the Selz Legacy Challenge, this gift earns IJ an additional $5,000 in matching funds now.
  2. A donor makes IJ the beneficiary of 20 percent of his estate. Based on the current value of his assets, the donor’s good-faith estimate of the value of the gift is $150,000. This gift generates $15,000 in current matching funds through the Selz Legacy Challenge.
  3. A donor designates IJ as the sole beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy. This gift would earn $25,000, the maximum amount of matching funds offered through the Selz Legacy Challenge, for IJ’s fight today.
  4. A donor makes IJ the beneficiary of a house. Based on a good-faith estimate, the house is currently worth $750,000 and will earn $25,000 in matching funds through the Selz Legacy Challenge. All other assets of changing value should also be assessed based on current value.


Frequently Asked Questions

I plan to leave IJ a percentage of my estate, but I don’t know how much it will be worth in the future.  What amount should I put on the pledge form?
Please provide your best good-faith estimate of the current value of your future bequest.  For instance, making IJ the beneficiary of a retirement account that is valued at $100,000 today would be reported on the Selz Legacy Challenge Matching Form as a gift worth $100,000 and would generate $10,000 in matching funds.  There is no need to forecast future years’ earnings or withdrawals in reporting your gift.


Property Rights Client Sung Cho

I have already included IJ in my plans. Is my planned gift eligible for a match through the Selz Legacy Challenge?
Yes! Please complete the Selz Legacy Challenge Matching Form informing us of your intent and providing information about your gift, and your future bequest will generate a matching donation now worth up to $25,000.

These gifts also entitle you to membership in IJ’s Four Pillars Society legacy society.  You can learn more about the Four Pillars Society and about other kinds of planned gifts at


Educational Choice Client Teresa Quinones and Family

How do I know that IJ will continue to fight the battles I care about?
IJ’s Founding General Counsel and current Board Chairman Chip Mellor first outlined our mission when he launched the Institute for Justice in September 1991 with a lecture at the Heritage Foundation. You can read his remarks in full here.

As you will see, from that day forward we targeted the areas of the law that provide the foundation for a free society: property rights, economic liberty, educational choice, and free speech. When we founded IJ in 1991, the law was very adverse to liberty in each area.  As a direct result of our work, it’s measurably better in each today. We remain true to that original mission and our commitment to these core principles is a key to our success.


IJ Board of Directors

How will IJ carry its vision into the future?
IJ will build on the strong foundations laid by our founders, aided by the experience and tenure of our staff. Of our nearly 100 employees, 43 have worked at IJ for more than 5 years, and 25 have been here for more than 10 years.

IJ is also served by a dedicated board who review and approve each case we take on. Our board includes: Scott Bullock, Arthur Dantchik, Bob Gelfond, Dave Kennedy, Bob Levy, Ken Levy, Jim Lintott, Chip Mellor, Stephen Modzelewski, Mary Stiefel, and Abigail Thernstrom. Additionally, IJ continues to expand, hiring and training talented individuals who embrace our mission and can carry it forward to the next generation.


How does IJ’s fiscal responsibility compare to other charities?
IJ ranks in the top 1 percent of the more than 8,000 charities rated by Charity Navigator, the world’s largest charity rating service. IJ has received Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating for 17 consecutive years, a track record that recognizes IJ’s stellar financial responsibility, accountability and transparency.


Where can I find more information?
For more information, contact Melanie Hildreth, who directs IJ’s Four Pillars Society, at or at (703)-682-9320 ext. 222.

Read more about the Challenge in our special-edition Selz Legacy Newsletter.

Find more information about planned giving, IJ’s cases and IJ’s mission.

JOIN THE FIGHT!   Sign up for newsletters: