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Planned Giving

GW Alumni Donors Answer the Call

Dr. Julianne Thomas

Dr. Julianne Thomas, CCAS BA '67

In 1988, Dr. Julianne Thomas, CCAS BA '67, received a call from GW's annual fund asking for a pledge. The former zoology major turned pediatrician said she would give, but only to an endowed scholarship for students in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

"I received a $65 named scholarship at GW, which is why I went to school fulltime and worked full-time," Dr. Thomas explains. "I wanted to give to an endowed scholarship fund because you need to pool money to make it worthwhile. A few months later, I got a letter saying, 'Thank you for establishing the Columbian College Endowed Scholarship Fund.' I had no idea there was no such fund already at GW."

Richard (Dick) Salerno, SEAS BS '75, also held a full-time job while taking classes at night full-time to earn a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. The GW degree helped him advance his career, and now he wants to help the university offer an education to those who deserve the chance.

Richard Salerno

Richard (Dick) Salerno, SEAS BS '75

"It's important to support education," says Mr. Salerno. Citing the rising costs of higher education, he believes alumni should help those who come after them. "You have to do something to make it possible. Without having endowments and good financial aid packages, you're just not going to get a lot of good students who would want to go."

Claudia Zurita, CCAS BA '19, was a recipient of the Columbian College Endowed Scholarship. "Upon receiving my scholarship, I felt a wave of relief and excitement," says the anthropology major. The scholarship allowed her to focus more on her studies and less on how she'll pay for school. "I still worked and my parents contributed to meet the difference in remaining costs, but the scholarships made a world of difference for us each year."

Claudia Zurita

"Upon receiving my scholarship, I felt a wave of relief and excitement."
—Claudia Zurita, CCAS BA '19

Dr. Thomas and Mr. Salerno make annual gifts to GW in the form of qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from their retirement accounts. Donors who are 70½ years old or older can give up to $100,000 per year from their retirement accounts directly to a qualified institution, such as GW, without having to pay income taxes on the money. In addition, QCD gifts reduce the donor's taxable income and can be credited to their required minium distribution.

"If you don't need the money, this is a very tax-efficient way of making contributions," says Mr. Salerno. "For anybody who makes a charitable contribution of any kind, it seems to be a very smart way to do it."

Giving to GW is Dr. Thomas' way of saying thank you for an "excellent education" and the direction she received. "GW put me into a profession that I loved for my whole life. People should give to provide that same opportunity for students now and in the future."

Dr. Thomas recalls reading a thank you note from one of her scholarship recipients. "She was planning to pay it forward and help future students when she's able. She said she wouldn't have found what she wanted to do for the rest of her life without GW—and that's what happened to me."

You can join these alumni donors in making a difference for GW students like Claudia Zurita. To learn more about the ways you can give, including QCDs, contact Courtney Tsai, JD, CAP ® at 877-498-7590 or pgiving1@gwu.edu.

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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 1922 F Street NW, 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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