Military color guard at the American Patriot Award Ceremony

The National Defense University (NDU) Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, philanthropic organization, was established to provide support to the National Defense University. The NDU Foundation brings together engaged individuals and industries to ensure our collective and international security through its support and partnership with the National Defense University.

Giving Opportunities

Annual Fund

Unrestricted giving, whether one-time cash gifts or monthly support, provides the National Defense University Foundation with the agility to respond quickly to the areas of greatest need or to unexpected opportunities for innovation. Giving allows NDUF to build and deliver our programs and respond to the needs of our future national security leaders.

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American Patriot Award

The American Patriot Award (APA) presented annually by the NDU Foundation recognizes men and women of extraordinary excellence whose leadership has strengthened our nation’s strategic interest. By honoring exceptional Americans whose inspirational leadership and selfless dedication embody the United States’ ideals and democratic principles, NDUF recognizes America’s best and inspires others in pursuit of enhancing human security and global stability. Companies, organizations, and individuals can support the award through sponsorship level gifts, individual tickets, or by making donations directly to NDUF. See our past honorees on the APA page.

Donor-Advised Funds

The National Defense University Foundation accepts grants from Donor-Advised Funds. You can support NDUF by recommending a grant to your Donor-Advised Fund. NDUF will acknowledge the Donor-Advised Fund for making the grant and will thank you for your recommendation of support if you are identified by the Donor-Advised Fund, or maintain your anonymity if that's your preference. It is important to note that you may not use a Donor-Advised Fund grant to fulfill a pledge made per IRS rules, but you can share your intent to make a recommendation to make a grant to NDUF with our team.

Matching Gifts

Many employers offer employee giving through matching funds when donated through the company’s matching gift program to nonprofit organizations. If the employer requires information from NDUF to participate we are pleased to provide the required information.

Payroll Deduction

Many employers allow for payroll deduction to contribute to organizations that are meaningful to their employees. Please check with your employer or human resources department to see if you can support NDUF through a payroll deduction.

Combined Federal Campaign

CFC is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with almost 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits. The National Defense University Foundation’s CFC# is 87285

Gifts of Stocks, Securities, or Mutual Funds

Gifts of stocks, securities, or mutual funds may be made to the National Defense University Foundation. Supporters may be able to benefit from tax advantages by giving appreciated stock, securities or mutual funds with advice from your tax adviser. Contact James Schmeling or use our contact form for information on how you may make a gift and we will provide the necessary forms and information to effect a transfer to NDUF’s brokerage account.

Planned Giving

Supporters may make planned gifts to the National Defense University Foundation using flexible and creative means to support NDUF now and into the future, leaving a legacy for you and your family. Planned giving includes bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, or gifts of retirement assets and life insurance. Some of these planned giving opportunities may provide tax advantages to supporters (and as always, please consult your tax adviser). Please contact James Schmeling or use our contact form for more information about legacy giving at NDUF.


An easy way to support the National Defense University Foundation is to leave a bequest in your will. Whether you graduated from an NDU college after WWII, or during the conflicts in Korea or Vietnam or more recently during the first Gulf War or the Global War on Terror, you can honor your educational institution and provide for its future. If you attended as a member of the diplomatic corps or as an industry fellow or international fellow, leaving a bequest in your will establishes your legacy, valuing national security education and global connections now and in the future. Gifts to NDUF are deductible from the value of your estate and can reduce your tax liability. Leaving a bequest in your will may be best accomplished by working with your attorney to specify what you want to leave clearly; however, informing NDUF about your planned bequest allows us to thank and recognize you now and to share your name as a donor, perhaps inspiring others to give in this meaningful and significant way. Of course, as with all gifts to NDUF, we will respect all requests to remain anonymous. 

Bequest Options

The following items are listed as general guidelines, please discuss these options with your attorney and your tax advisor.

  • Specific bequest - This is a gift of a specific item to a specific beneficiary. For example, "I give my collection of military memorabilia to NDUF." If the specific item is disposed of prior to death, the bequest fails and no claim can be made to any other property.
  • General bequest - This is usually a gift of a stated sum of money. It will not fail, if there is not sufficient cash to meet the bequest, other assets must be sold to honor the bequest.
  • Contingent bequest - This is a bequest made on condition that a certain event is to occur before distribution to the beneficiary. A contingent bequest is specific in nature and fails if the condition is not met.
  • Residuary bequest - This is a gift of all the "rest, residue and remainder" of your estate after all other bequests, debts and taxes have been paid. To ensure your beneficiaries receive the portions you desire, discuss with your attorney dividing the estate according to percentages of the residue (rather than specifying dollar amounts).

The following items are special considerations when planning a charitable bequest to benefit the programs, events, services, and supports of NDUF:

  • Unrestricted bequest - This is a gift to be used for general purposes, at the discretion of NDUF. This allows NDUF to respond to a rapidly changing environment, opportunities for innovation, pressing or urgent needs, or to support existing programs.
  • Restricted bequest - This gift allows you to specify how the funds are to be used (i.e. to the benefit of a specific chair, event, program, or for other purposes).
  • Honorary or memorial bequest - This is a gift given "in honor" or "in memory" of a specific person. We are pleased to honor your request and have many ways to grant appropriate recognition.
  • Endowed bequest - This gift allows you to restrict the principal of the gift, requiring us to hold the funds permanently and use only the investment income the funds generate. Creating an endowment or adding to NDUF’s endowment in this manner means that your gift can continue supporting NDUF indefinitely.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A National Defense University Foundation Charitable Gift Annuity is an excellent opportunity to invest in endowments or programs while providing important income during retirement. You will receive an immediate tax deduction for your gift and if you use appreciated stock to fund your gift annuity you only recognize a portion of the capital gain and spread the tax on that over several years. Consulting your tax adviser is important.

A Charitable Gift Annuity is a win-win investment for you and for NDUF. To receive a personalized annuity proposal, please send your date of birth Peter Riess and the NDUF team will provide a personal illustration demonstrating the tax implications and the amount due to you upon retirement.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

This arrangement is an individually managed trust that may be tailored to meet your specific financial needs and can provide either a fixed or variable income for the life of the beneficiaries or for a set number of years, not to exceed 20.

The donated assets (typically cash, securities, and/or real property) are irrevocably transferred to a Trustee.

  • A charitable remainder annuity trust - pays income as a fixed dollar amount that remains constant for the term of the trust.
  • A charitable remainder unitrust - pays income that varies from year to year.

At the termination of the trust, the remaining assets pass to NDUF for its general purposes or for the use you specify. A charitable deduction for a portion of your contribution is available on your income tax return in the year you make the gift.

Charitable Lead Trusts

This arrangement provides income to NDUF for a period of years, after which the trust property typically passes to the donor's heirs. Income-producing assets (such as stock or real estate) are irrevocably transferred to a trust.  NDUF receives income from the trust over a specified number of years, after which the property in the trust is transferred to the heirs without the imposition of any additional taxes.  An immediate charitable deduction on your gift tax return is available for the present value of the total income stream the Foundation will receive during the term of the trust.  Charitable lead trusts can reduce or eliminate the gift and/or estate tax that would normally be payable on the transfer of these assets to your heirs.

Retirement Assets and Life Insurance

Retirement Assets

Retirement assets, if left to anyone other than a spouse, may be subject to very high taxation.  However, by designating NDUF as a recipient of any benefits remaining in your retirement plan, you may effectively reduce the taxes on those assets.

Life Insurance

Some alumni value the great role NDU has played in their lives and make NDUF the beneficiary of their life insurance policy. Alumni can also transfer ownership of a life insurance policy to NDUF and make an annual gift to continue premium payments. This gift provides an immediate tax deduction equal to the cash value of the policy at the time of transfer.