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Robert H. Tannahill Society

Who was Robert Tannahill?
Robert H. Tannahill (1893–1969) was an exemplary member of the DIA family. The son of Robert Blyth Tannahill and Elizabeth Hudson (sister of J. L. Hudson), Mr. Tannahill enthusiastically supported the museum for more than 40 years. He was an honorary curator of American art, a trustee of the DIA Founders Society and a member of the City of Detroit Arts Commission. An ardent and knowledgeable collector, he donated 475 works of art to the museum during his lifetime. At his death, he left a bequest of another 556 works and a generous trust arrangement for future acquisitions. Among his gifts are some of the DIA's most recognizable treasures—works by Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh, and many others. Mr. Tannahill's vision and belief in the future of the DIA continues to make a difference today.

What is the Robert Tannahill Society?
The DIA inaugurated the Robert H. Tannahill Society in 1994. It is our way to honor those donors whose generosity and vision have inspired them to make a gift to the museum by will, trust, charitable gift annuity, or any other planned gift vehicle.

The DIA invites you to consider following Mr. Tannahill's example. Your planned gift will help bring art into the lives of hundreds of thousands of visitors, both at the museum and throughout our community, and will help ensure that future generations will enjoy the art, programming, and experience of our world-class museum. Your gift may also have tax advantages for you or your estate. Planned gifts are especially critical to building the museum's endowment, which helps the DIA cover its annual operating costs.

How can I become a member?
Your membership in the Robert H. Tannahill Society begins when you notify the DIA of your bequest intention, regardless of the size or type of gift, or make a planned gift during your lifetime. In appreciation for your commitment, you will be invited to select events at the museum throughout the year. Members' names are also prominently displayed on the Robert H. Tannahill Society Donor Wall in the museum.

Tannahill members are among the museum's most devoted supporters. If you have already named the Detroit Institute of Arts in your estate plan, please let us know so that we may recognize you and include you in the exemplary group that is the Robert H. Tannahill Society. Please notify Deborah Odette, Planned Giving Officer, at 313.494.5236 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Detroit Institute of Arts a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Detroit Institute of Arts [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to DIA or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to DIA as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to DIA as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and DIA where you agree to make a gift to DIA and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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