Skip to Content

Planned Giving

Alumna's Bequest Will Benefit Distance-Learning Students, Memorialize Aunt

Annetta Weiss

Annetta Weiss, BA '65 always knew she wanted to give back, but the where, why, and how of philanthropy was intimidating. "There comes a time in your life when you think about where you started and what you can contribute. I was looking to give somewhere that would really fulfill me - that would move me in some way."

When her longtime friend and financial adviser, Tom Curtis, BA '81, MA '95, encouraged her to consider the George Washington University as a beneficiary, she was intrigued. Weiss grew up in Washington, DC, and her parents, both federal government employees during World War II, wanted her to pursue an education at GW. She enrolled at the university in 1961, the same year John F. Kennedy took office, and was on campus when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech less than a mile from her room in Strong Hall in 1963. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted shortly after she finished her junior year.

"There was always something happening around campus," says Weiss. "We were right in the middle of everything. The world was right outside our door."

It was in 2009 that Curtis, a planned giving donor himself, first introduced Weiss to GW Senior Planned Giving Advisor Jane Kolson, and the two began what ultimately became "their quest": identifying a recipient for Weiss' estate that resonated with her and benefited the university.

In June 2011, Kolson suggested she and Weiss tour GW's Virginia Science and Technology Campus. The visit included a walk-through of the new School of Nursing simulation lab and a meeting with Dean Jean Johnson, which became a turning point in Weiss' quest.

"When we first met, she was warm, outgoing, and friendly," Dean Johnson says. "It was an instant connection."

Weiss was immediately impressed by the quality and dedication of the Nursing faculty and saw an opportunity to raise the profile of the school, which celebrated its first year of service in 2011. More than that, the meeting with Johnson reminded Weiss of her aunt, Frances, a nurse and midwife who was present at Weiss' birth. Weiss maintained a close relationship with her aunt and wanted to memorialize her as part of her gift.

"Frances was more like a grandmother to me; we were very close. When I visited the School of Nursing, I got that feeling I had been searching for," Weiss says. "I felt fulfilled when I finally decided what I was going to do."

Nearly three years after her quest began, faculty, administrators, and students held an intimate ceremony honoring Weiss' two-part gift, which Johnson described as "significant, and the first of its kind, for the School of Nursing" - an endowed scholarship to aid graduate students in the Nurse Practitioner Program and an endowment for the dean's discretionary fund in memory of her Aunt Frances.

"The reach of this gift goes so far beyond the students who reap the benefits of this scholarship," Johnson said. "Those students will be generous people and will affect so many lives. Every student who benefits from this gift will care for thousands of people in their careers. This gift has a wonderful, multiplying effect."

Weiss designated the bulk of her planned gift to the GW School of Nursing's nurse practitioner program, a distance-education curriculum that prepares nurses to take on the role of a primary care provider. Weiss selected the Nurse Practitioner Program because it would have a widespread impact on both students and patients. The program, taught almost entirely online, allows students to remain in their communities while pursuing advanced education. Distance-education students are ineligible for most kinds of financial aid, so Weiss' scholarship will ensure that finances will not be a barrier to education.

"This gift is very special to me," says Weiss, who hopes her gift, and her journey, will inspire others to give. "I wanted what was best for GW and for me. Our quest led me here, and it's reassuring to know that what I'm doing is special."

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to The George Washington University [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 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 GW 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 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.