David Berg, BS '68, had an impressive 30-year career with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. Last year, though, the number 30 took on a new meaning. As of 2014, Mr. Berg has supported his alma mater for more than 30 consecutive years.
Back in 2006, Mr. Berg and his wife, Diane, chose to establish the David W. Berg Scholarship in GW's School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). This permanent, endowed scholarship provides annual support for undergraduate civil engineering students at SEAS who demonstrate financial need.
Real estate—contributed to GW through either an outright donation or a bequest in the donor's estate plan—is a unique giving vehicle. Thanks to the university's robust real estate gift acceptance program, many types of property may be contributed—from farms to vacation homes to rental properties to vacant land. Such gifts are quite flexible and, depending upon the giving arrangement that's used, may provide lifetime income for the donor and others, while also reducing or eliminating capital gains and/or estate taxes. Such gifts also provide a charitable income tax deduction.
Another gift arrangement, known as a retained life estate, enables the donor to contribute a personal residence, but continue to live in it for as long as he or she desires.
Mr. Berg's actions are a testament to his thoughtful consideration of his long-term investment and philanthropic goals. By donating one of several rental properties he owns in Richmond, Virginia, through his will, he will not only reduce his future taxable estate but will also relieve his family from having to assume the responsibilities of maintaining the property. Personal and financial benefits like these highlight the advantages and flexibility of donating gifts of real estate to GW.
In addition, endowment gifts like Mr. Berg's establish a far-reaching legacy by generating income in perpetuity. They help ensure GW's continued ability to thrive in the years ahead and build on the impressive momentum of Making History: The Campaign for GW.
Indeed, Mr. Berg's generosity—through both his annual and planned gifts—helps ensure that future engineers can pursue their academic dreams at GW for generations to come.
"The value of what this award has done means a lot more than its dollar amount," says Amzaray Ahmed, BS '14, the 2011-13 recipient. "It shows that [they] care, and this is what I most appreciate."
The Bergs met Amzaray at the 2013 Power & Promise Dinner, hosted each year by GW for donors who contribute scholarship support. While the couple receives annual letters from the students who receive the David W. Berg Scholarship, this was the first time they were able to meet a recipient in person.
"My scholarship is to promote civil engineering students, and here he is!" Mr. Berg said of meeting Amzaray for the first time.
Amzaray, who graduated last May and now works as a structural engineer for William Sale Partnership (WSP) USA in New York City, is just one of many whose lives were changed by the Bergs' generosity.
"It's nice to know there's someone out there who cares," he says. "It's a real person out there who wants to help."
Learn How You Can Help
Contact Courtney Tsai, JD, CAP® at 877-498-7590 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can transform realty to gift reality at George Washington University.