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Planned Giving

Giving to Make the World a Better Place

Ms. Marie Sansone provides a gift in her will to make the world a better place.

Ms. Marie Sansone provides a gift in her will to make the world a better place.

British psychologist Dr. Robert Holden says, "If you are alive, you need help."

It's no surprise that this is one of Marie Sansone's favorite quotes. As an environmental lawyer, pioneering public health professional, and former head of Washington, D.C.'s disease prevention and treatment agency, Ms. Sansone, BA '78, has built an impressive career helping those in need.

And it all began during her time as an undergraduate in GW's philosophy department. Ms. Sansone not only graduated with special honors, but she was one of only two students to receive the Charles E. Gauss Prize for Excellence in Philosophy. A dedicated alumna, Ms. Sansone recently made a $250,000 bequest intention to establish the Marie G. Sansone Endowed Fund in Philosophy, which will provide unrestricted annual support for the department's most pressing needs.

After graduating from GW, Ms. Sansone traveled to the West Coast and earned her law degree from Stanford University. From there, her career followed an ambitious path—her passion for environmental law and public policy led her from serving as assistant attorney general in Juneau, Alaska, to returning to Washington, D.C., to play a pivotal role in the city's Environmental Health Administration that culminated in the creation of the District Department of the Environment.

As chief of staff for the D.C. Department of Health's HIV/AIDS Administration (HAA), she also became a top official in D.C.'s battle against the disease. Her many achievements in this challenging role were often supported by GW's School of Public Health and Health Services (now the Milken Institute School of Public Health).

"In all of our endeavors at HAA, we had assistance from GW professors and students," Ms. Sansone says.

Ms. Sansone credits GW with preparing her well for her remarkable career, thanks to the rigorous intellectual training and multifaceted application of her philosophy degree.

"When you are dealing with something like disease surveillance, you can draw on many principles: objectivity, accuracy and precision, data integrity, privacy and confidentiality, statistical analysis," she states, "and that all goes back to the very same foundational skills that you learn in philosophy classes."

After supporting the philosophy department with annual contributions for more than 20 years, Ms. Sansone reflected on how she could continue to make a difference for the department that she loves and that played such an important role in her success. Her answer: a planned gift.

"Well, sooner or later, everyone really should sit down and make out a will," she says. "And that gets you thinking about whether you have done anything, or still have time to do anything, that will make the world a better place."

Ms. Sansone hopes her gift will sustain GW's Department of Philosophy long into the future.

"Philosophy is the most useful subject you can pursue, because more so than any other, it teaches you to inquire, to think critically, to analyze, and to communicate complex thoughts," she explains. "With all the problems that we have in the world today, we desperately need people who can bring reasoned and principled analysis to the table."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the George Washington University 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 give to the George Washington University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 2033 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20052, or its successor thereto, ______________* [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 GW 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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 GW as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 GW 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 GW where you agree to make a gift to GW 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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