Bill Snow, ESIA BA '65, CCAS MPhil '70, CCAS PhD '76, developed a love of art while growing up in Mexico, where he took lessons from Spanish watercolorist Jaime Oates. After arriving at GW, he became hooked on economics after taking a required undergraduate course — a course that led to a fulfilling career in finance. His interest in art remained strong, as well, and Snow found continued fulfillment by painting realistic landscapes and streetscapes as a way of "converting the seemingly ordinary into something extraordinary," a practice he continues to this day.
In his paintings, Snow evokes a new appreciation of familiar scenes. It is also appreciation that inspired Snow to give back to GW. In Snow's former day job as the treasurer of Johns Hopkins University, one of the most important functions of his position was being in charge of the endowment. Says Snow, "Working with the endowment, I saw gifts come in which had an amazing impact on the university. I saw firsthand that people are enormously generous, and I decided then that I would give back to my alma mater, to GW."
For someone who has spent his life focused on the logic of finance and the beauty of art, charitable gift annuities have become a solution that brings both aspects to his philanthropy.
Snow made his planned gift with a charitable gift annuity funded with appreciated securities because it made the most sense economically: "I was able to get money back while giving to others, and also saving on taxes."
A CGA provides fixed payments for life in exchange for a gift of cash or appreciated securities. CGAs are easy to set up, and they help donors save on income and/or capital gains taxes, receive secure and predictable payments for life, and gain the satisfaction of making a generous gift to GW.
Although charitable gift annuities are practical from a personal financial standpoint, they also allow donors the creative freedom to choose how his or her gift will support the university and its students. In the same way that he uses brushstrokes to transform a common street scene into a work of art, Snow used a CGA to convert an otherwise ordinary donation into an extraordinary opportunity.
"Because I benefited a lot from scholarship assistance, it was important for me to give back so someone else can enjoy what I was able to enjoy," says Snow. A recipient of a teaching assistantship fellowship during his graduate work, Snow directed his gift to the Economics Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund, a permanent endowment funded with gifts from economics alumni that provides annual scholarships for graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in economics.
"To someone thinking about why they should give to GW, I would ask, ‘Did you enjoy your stay at GW, and did it contribute to your path in life?' If so, you need to pass that on to others."
Take the Next Step
When you provide a planned gift to GW, you'll join Bill Snow and other alumni and friends who believe in the future of GW and its students. To learn more about giving to GW, contact Adam Lewis at 202-994-7657 or email@example.com.