Legacy Giving

Demonstration Prairie by FWNC&R Staff


The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge has shared the beauty of nature with our community for decades. You can help ensure the future of this incredible place for generations to come by generously considering a gift to the Murray James Endowment that reflects your love of nature and the splendor and benefits it provides. We hope you will include the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge as part of your long-term estate planning. Several avenues of planned giving are available. Leave a legacy that will touch lives for years to come.

For more information or to discuss your plans, contact:

Haily Summerford, Executive Director, Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

Planned Giving Options

Closeup of mottled brown Harris' Sparrow at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Harris' Sparrow by Tom George


A simple way to create a lasting legacy is to include a charitable bequest in your will. Give a stated dollar amount, percentage of your estate, remainder of the estate after distribution to other beneficiaries, or specific property. This straightforward method allows you to preserve and enjoy assets during your lifetime while protecting the gifted assets from estate taxes.
Closeup of a tendril vine in front of red and yellow leaves at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Tendril by Trinity Arts Photo Club

Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations are an easy and flexible means of leaving a charitable legacy using IRAs, retirement plans, life insurance policies, commercial annuities, bank accounts, certificates of deposit, or brokerage accounts. Separate beneficiary forms filed with the issuing entity determine who receives these assets rather than being controlled by the terms of your will. The assets can be divided among recipients in any way you choose and can be modified at any time to meet your changing life needs.
Brown and orange American Lady butterfly at the Greer Island Causeway at the Fort Worth Nature Center
American Lady Butterfly by K.P. Wilska


As part of a well-crafted estate plan, charitable trusts can be a valuable arrangement when planning for the future of you and your family and your community. Trusts allow you to determine who receives your assets and when your beneficiaries can access them, shield your assets from estate taxes and court fees, and protect your assets. Examples of charitable trusts include living trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts.
Closeup of a snail in its shell at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Snail by K.P. Wilska

Fund Establishment

If you want to have a more direct impact on how your assets are used to support the Nature Center, establishing a fund with the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge is a beneficial option for leaving a lasting legacy. Funds can be designated as field of interest, which supports a specific project of your choice, or donor-advised, which provides more involvement and flexibility to support a variety of conservation projects.

Murray James Endowment

The Murray James Endowment (formerly the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge Memorial Fund) was established on June 25, 1985, with $100,000 to provide a permanent fund to financially support the Friends and their efforts on behalf of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. Over the years, the endowment has achieved significant growth through generous donations and shrewd investments. In 2020, the fund was renamed in honor of Murray A. James, a passionate and longtime supporter of the Friends and the Nature Center. All legacy donations will be designated for the fund, allowing donors to create a truly lasting legacy.

About Murray James

Murray James at a Hands and Hearts volunteer appreciation event at the Fort Worth Nature Center
Murray James at the 2016 Hands & Hearts Celebration by FWNC&R Staff
Marty Leonard giving a certificate to Murray James in the renamed Murray James Auditorium in the Hardwicke Interpretive Center
Marty Leonard (L) & Murray James at the 2015 Murray A. James Auditorium Dedication Ceremony by Friends Staff

Murray A. James has been a tireless supporter of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for nearly as long as it has been in existence. She and her husband, Jack, were charter members of the Friends when the group was organized in 1974. Besides serving as a docent along with her daughter, Georgia, she and Jack also volunteered to serve on the organizing committee when the Friends’ endowment was established in 1985. Murray served as the first chair of the new endowment committee and was responsible for raising the initial $100,000 seed money to fund the fledgling endowment.

Murray continued to serve almost continuously on the boards of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge Conservancy and its ensuing organization, the Friends or the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, as well as on the endowment committee until her retirement. In addition, she influenced her daughter to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Laura Harrison served on the Friends’ board and as its treasurer for many years.

In July 2015, Murray was recognized for her many years of support and dedication to the Nature Center with a plaque recognizing her service. The auditorium in the Hardwicke Interpretive Center at the Nature Center was also named in her honor: the Murray A. James Auditorium.

Typically, the City of Fort Worth approves naming rights posthumously, but the policy states, “In very limited circumstances, the naming of City-owned facilities after a living individual who has made extraordinary contributions for the betterment of all Fort Worth may be considered.”

Murray is a “living” individual who has always had a long-range view and vision of the Nature Center and a steady hand for guidance. This approval is indicative of how much Murray has meant to the Nature Center and how important it is that her legacy lives on.