a Gift to CSUS
l Capital University Journal
by Ann Reed
annuities are a great way for people to make their bequests now and receive
a partial income tax deduction. And fixed payments often fit very well
with the donor’s financial planning for retirement.
In retirement, emeritus music professor Tom Gentry continues his lifelong
love—playing the piano and accompanying colleagues. He also belongs
to a book club, enjoys art and photography—and is paying back a
debt he feels he owes.
He is one of nearly a dozen individuals who have established a charitable
gift annuity with Sac State. The annuity pays a small amount to him each
year that supplements his retirement income. The remainder from his gift
becomes available to the University after his lifetime. In Gentry’s
case, his wish is that the money goes to students in the form of scholarships.
For more information about charitable gift annuities or about making
a bequest to Sac State through a will, contact Sheila Hard, director
of planned giving, at (916) 278-3852. Because each donor’s needs
and circumstances are different, she advises individuals thinking
about making a gift to work with the University in advance.
where I am because of that—scholarships, grants, awards. If it weren’t
for that I’d never have gone to the University,” he said.
“I went to the University courtesy of a grant from the state. It
started there...I was also the first recipient of the Hank Williams Music
Scholarship, a big $50,” he said with a grin.
“I think those of us who survived, thanks to scholarship money,
carry that debt with us most of our lives. We can’t repay those
who helped us so the only way to discharge the debt of gratitude is to
continue the cycle by helping other students along,” he said.
Gentry said people think about money in different ways. “You don’t
know how many years you are going to need it or what the economy is going
to do. You may have a little now and wonder if you will need it 10 years
down the line. So I think that making plans is important. I had always
planned to do it. The only question was when.”
In that respect the charitable gift annuity worked out well for him because
it offers both the security of set payments over his life expectancy,
as well as a gift to the University.
The charitable gift annuity is an increasingly popular way to make a gift,
said Sheila Hard, director of planned giving at Sac State. “Most
planned gift donors make bequests through their wills. In fact, bequests
account for 60 to 80 percent of the money received by charities through
all planned gift arrangements. But gift annuities are a great way for
people to make their bequests now and receive a partial income tax deduction.
And fixed payments often fit very well with the donor’s financial
planning for retirement.”
She added that highly appreciated stock may be used to fund the gift annuity,
which results in favorable capital gains consequences. Because it is a
gift, annuity rates for nonprofits such as the University may be slightly
lower than commercial annuities, but she stresses the gift can make a
significant difference to the University.
As the donor, Gentry could designate how his gift would be used, and he
decided on scholarships. Other donors have chosen scholarships as well
as unrestricted gifts to departments or gifts to the library, Hard said.
While Gentry recognizes the need for tangible gifts such as buildings,
he says he is personally committed to “investing in people. When
you invest in people in the long-term it pays off.”
Gentry said one problem Sac State has is that tuition sounds so low that
donors think students can afford it, and they give their money to higher-tuition
universities. “They seem to think our students don’t need
the help. Well, they do need it. I’ve seen kids drop out of school
because they didn’t have $200.”
Music, for one, is an expensive major, he explained. There is the private
instruction, the cost of instruments, and the time for practice and rehearsals
that leaves little time for outside work. “Typically, like drama
students, music students are poor, giving all of their time to their studies,”
He believes there is just not enough scholarship money for deserving students.
He recalled one of his students, dedicated and with potential. “She
had some heavy family burdens, with only one parent who was away a lot
and a cousin she was raising too, all while she was going to school. There
was just no scholarship available, but she was dedicated and wanted to
continue. Well, she got help—me—to keep going,” he recalled.
When he recently heard from her, she had just released her first CD in
“One thing that bothers me is the easy credit available to students,
the student loans, the credit cards, etc. It is such a trap. They get
out of school only to have all of the loans and credit card debt staring
them in the face. Then they are committed up to their eyebrows for the
next 10 years. I’d really like to see more scholarships available,”
To help remedy that he served for many years on the department’s
scholarship committee, and now belongs to the Saturday Club, a group of
music supporters that gives scholarships to Sac State. He has sat on the
scholarship committee for years. One time he asked how many members had
received scholarship money and nearly every hand went up. “No one
expected that,” Gentry said. “It was quite a statement.”
As for his 30 years at Sac State, “I miss it like you can’t
believe.” That’s one of the reasons he keeps on giving.