Skip to Content

Planned Giving

Leaving a Legacy


Think about the impact that the George Washington University has had on your life, on the Washington, D.C. community, and on its alumni and friends worldwide. Now imagine what that impact would be like had you been a part of the GW community since the 1940s.

Professor Emeritus of German, double GW alum and long-term GW Libraries Development Board member James King certainly can. Not only is he able to tell us what tuition was in 1946, he also provides a glimpse into the process of making a planned gift, and how it will continue to make a positive impact at GW for many years to come.

Gelman: What led you to GW?

Professor James King: From June 1942, after graduation from high school, to November 1943, prior to military induction, I was a federal employee in Washington, DC. After my discharge from the U.S. Army in April 1946, I returned to this area. Seeking to begin my higher education, I chose George Washington as an academically sound, non-church-related institution and began my studies in September of that year.

G: Not only did you receive your bachelor's and master's degrees at GW, you also earned your PhD here in 1954. Share with me a little about what it is like to witness the changes over the 65 years you have been a part of the GW community.

JK: The campus was modest in 1946, comprising at most some nine blocks, from 20th to 22nd and G to Eye Streets NW, with the Hall of Government, Lisner Auditorium, and the now-replaced University Hospital at Washington Circle as the most prominent structures. Classrooms were finally air-conditioned in 1955. Not yet independent schools, International Affairs and Business were programs in a School of Government. Most students commuted from home in the absence of adequate residential housing, and there was a large veteran contingent. Can you imagine tuition at twelve dollars an hour?

G: What do you think are the things that distinguish GW from other universities?

JK: Foremost is the centrality of the arts and sciences, the humanities and social studies—a firm basis for professional preparation in business, engineering and applied science, education and human development, international affairs, law, and medicine. Internships in government offices and community service afford additional educational experience.

G: You donated the official two millionth volume to the Gelman Library in 2001. You also became a member of Gelman's Development Advisory Board at its founding in 2004. What led you to become such an ardent supporter of the Gelman Library? What has Gelman meant to you over the years?

JK: Access to library resources has been indispensable to me in my academic development, lecturing, and medieval research. Before Gelman Library, the University Library was housed until 1973 in Lisner Hall at 2023 G Street NW. Countless are the hours that I have spent at both locations, the Library of Congress, and several libraries in Europe. I champion published material, whether printed and bound, or digital/electronic.

G: Why did you choose to donate your home to the Gelman Library? Why was it important to you to leave a legacy to the Library?

JK: In 1995 I established a library acquisition fund, for the purchase of printed books and/or digital/ electronic resources in the arts and sciences. Ultimately, the proceeds from four charitable gift annuities and the sale of my residence will contribute to the fund substantially.

G: Would you recommend this type of giving vehicle to others? How did you find the process?

JK: Once a senior in his or her estate planning has provided adequately for loved ones, any remaining resources should be considered for bequests such as mine. Thanks to the efficient efforts of Jane Kolson, Senior Planned Giving Advisor, and Chase Magnuson, Director of Planned Giving for Real Estate, the process moved flawlessly and took only 65 days.

G: For anyone who is considering this type of gift, what advice would you give (if any?).

JK: The donor should check with his/her attorney and accountant, to determine whether to transfer ownership of a primary residence now while retaining a life-estate tenancy or at estate settlement following death.

Thank you, Professor King.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address