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Advancement: Your Connection to Union

Couple Gives Back to Union College

NowacksJerry '61 and Jane Nowack '62 Thayer support Union College because it has held true to its institutional values, and carried on the Adventist tradition of doing things right for 125 years since its doors opened on September 30, 1891.

"There is something unique about the people at Union College, its students and faculty and staff," stated Jane.

Union's distinctiveness is demonstrated in the stories Jane hears about faculty helping students in and out of the classroom, challenging students to assume leadership roles around campus, and encouraging the students to make the most of the gifts God has given them.

"It's very satisfying to see among the faculty and staff kids we grew up with, or students we taught, now making a real impact at Union College," Jane explained.

"We feel a close attachment to Union… it's our college!" Jerry added.

Jerry and Jane met on the campus of Union College, and it was because of Jerry's job in the print shop that he knew of Jane before she even set foot in Lincoln.

"When I worked in Union's print shop we printed Sunnydale Academy's Triangle newspaper." Jerry explained. "I kept reading about all the things Jane was doing at Sunnydale so I told myself, ‘I have to meet this girl when she comes to Union,' and I made sure I did."

Jane graduated from Union College with a degree in English and Jerry graduated with a degree in secondary education. Jerry taught in Union College's education and psychology department for a few years and has also worked at a state university and three Adventist colleges. The couple now lives in Berrien Springs, Mich. and have both retired after working at Andrews University for over 35 years.

Since 1971, the Thayers have supported Union College.

"Dr. Everett Dick came to visit us and asked if we would help support the construction of the new administration building. That was our first significant gift to Union." Jerry recalled.

Over the years, Jerry and Jane have enjoyed working with Union College's Advancement office to determine not only the best area of campus for their gifts to support, but also the best way for them to give their gifts.

"It's nice to have alternatives." Jerry said. "The Advancement office gives us options A, B and C and then we decide which one works best for us."

One thing Jerry does not like is feeling pressured into doing something.

"Whenever I feel pressured, I resist," Jerry stated matter-of-factly. "If I had ever felt Union was pressuring us I would not have given, but I never felt pressured to give out of obligation or for any other reason."

The Thayer's giving has moved through three phases over the years. Initially, when they were both working full time they gave their gifts to Union College out of their disposable income—their checking account.

"When we decided to give more substantial gifts to Union, we dipped into our investments," Jerry described concerning their second phase of giving. "With Union's help, we gave appreciated assets (mutual funds), which allowed us to avoid having to the pay capital gains tax had we sold the assets prior to making the gift to Union."

Their third phase of giving started in retirement.

"In the year I turned 70½ I had to start taking a required minimum distribution (RMD) from my IRA. This involved selling a designated amount of my IRA portfolio which incurred a tax liability," Jerry lamented. "Union's Advancement office helped make it possible to give directly from my IRA, thus avoiding the capital gains tax and satisfying my RMD."

Congress has now permanently reinstated the IRA qualified charitable distribution, sometimes called the IRA charitable rollover, which allows anyone who is age 70½ or older to give up to $100,000 annually from their IRA directly to a charitable organization. Now Jerry has a couple of options on how they will support Union College.

"From now on, in years when we need our RMD to pay for expenses, we will give our gifts from our mutual funds," Jerry declared. "When we don't need the RMD to cover expenses we will use our IRA as the source of our giving."

The benefit to donors in giving from the IRA is the charitable distribution can satisfy all or part of their RMD, and since it is not counted as income it is not taxed.

"It was nice having the option of giving our gifts this way, particularly if the income from the IRA would have put us in a higher tax bracket," Jerry pointed out.

Several years ago the Thayers set up an endowed scholarship to help students who couldn't afford tuition.

"Our only stipulation is the student has to be working, that way they are contributing to their education as well." Jane said.

The Thayers worked with the Advancement office to establish the scholarship and they appreciate receiving photos and information about the students they are helping.

Jerry and Jane believe in supporting special projects, such as their scholarship and many of Union's capital campaigns, because that demonstrates what they feel passionate about, and they also believe strongly in supporting the institution as a whole.

"We give to the Union College Fund because we don't mind giving money to help repave a parking lot, or to replace some windows because we know those things have to be done." Jane explained, "We believe Union College knows best where the money is most needed and trust the college will make the right decisions."

Jerry went on to say, "A mixture of giving to special projects and the annual fund is the way to do it."

If you would like to work with the Advancement office to determine how your gifts can be used, and to discover the best way you can give your gift, please contact Scot Coppock, Director of Leadership Giving, at 402-486-2600, Ext. 2200 or ken.farrow@ucollege.edu. Scot has several options to offer and would love to find one that works for you.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Union College 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Union College, a certified 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered in the State of Nebraska, [written amount or percentage of the etate 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

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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 Union College 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 Union College 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 Union College 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 Union College where you agree to make a gift to Union College 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.

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