If you want to give someone hope, give them the gift of education

Doug Page
Pacific Lutheran University

Do you place a high value on education?  Have you ever considered how you might leave a legacy at your favorite college, university or high school foundation and at the same time provide access to a post secondary education to students regardless of their economic circumstances?

If you are like most of the people with whom I work, you would answer yes to these questions.  And your following question would likely be, “but how?”  With just a little planning and some good advice, you might be surprised that it is often not difficult nor does it always require a significant current contribution of assets.

It is true that the most common way to provide access to higher education and to fund it over with current gifts over a period of a few years.  But not everybody can make such a commitment of current resources.  Many people are surprised to learn that smaller annual contributions backed up with a gift through their estate plans can provide important scholarship support to students while honoring the life and the legacy of the donor.

For example, the Erickson’s recently inquired about creating a scholarship in memory and in honor of Mr. Erickson’s father, who had recently died.  However, $5,000 a year for five years was a bit more that they could afford.  I suggested that they contribute $1,500 a year and include the named scholarship as a recipient of their estate for a minimum of $25,000.  They agreed and the result is that each year the $1,500 is awarded to a student who meets the established criteria and at their death the Erickson Endowment will be funded through a generous bequest!  They are thrilled when they hear from “their scholar” each year and meet her or him at the annual scholarship reception.  They are so thrilled with this arrangement that they are even considering creating a second scholarship in honor of her mother–but to do so while she is living so she will also enjoy knowing that students are able to pursue their dreams as a result of their philanthropy.

Doug Page is Senior Development Director in Gift Planning at Pacific Lutheran University.  Please consultant a qualified estate planner before making a gift in your will.