The Spirit of Union College
Dr. Ruth Wang Liu '66 has remained loyal to Union College for half a century because Union has held true to its principles for 125 years.
"With all the changes that have taken place in society, particularly the deterioration of morals and values, it brings me great joy to see that Union still holds true to its beliefs," Ruth enthused.
Ruth is pleased to see the improvements made to the campus and its facilities over the last several years, but feels what is most important is the atmosphere and culture that continue to permeate the campus. "New programs, new buildings, improvements to brick and mortar, these are all important," Ruth said, "but shining through all of this is the spirit of Union College."
To Ruth, the spirit of Union College is the sense of service that can be found all across campus. "The call to serve is an imbued value throughout the curriculum and the campus community," Ruth explained.
This spirit of service Ruth talks about has been seen in the international rescue and relief students who, in the very early morning hours, have provided food, shelter and clothing to families who just lost everything they own to a house fire. The spirit is found in nursing students who go to Nicaragua and PA students who go to Peru for medical mission trips. The call to serve is answered by the business and computer science students who help people at the Good Neighbor Center with their state and federal tax preparation. And the spirit is found in the 32 student missionaries and task force workers who are taking a break from their studies this year to serve God and serve mankind all over the world. These are only a few ways Union students serve in the community of Lincoln, across the nation, and all over the world.
"When I read about the students at Union, their experiences and the hardships they sometimes face, it is heartwarming to hear they still have this mission-oriented focus," commented Ruth. "When I see the relationship Union has with Lincoln, and how highly thought of the college is, I know this is because of the students serving the community."
Ruth recognizes that Union's faculty and staff have only a limited amount of time to help students realize their calling, provide them with an education, and instill in them core values that will guide them the rest of their lives. "This is an incredibly short window of opportunity to impact students, and Union does it and does it well," declared Ruth.
Because Ruth strongly believes in the excellent education that Union College provides and the spirit that is passed onto the students, she has chosen to financially support Union's mission. "All the resources we have: time, talent, treasures, they all come from God," Ruth stated. "They are on loan to us so we may reach out to others for Him."
When Ruth and her husband, Dr. C. Y. Liu reached a milestone year they received some wise counsel from a trusted advisor regarding their philanthropy and the potential tax benefits. "When our financial advisor told us we had to start taking withdrawals (required minimum distributions or RMD) from our respective IRAs when we each turned age 70½ and then showed us how much we would have to pay in income taxes, I said, ‘Oh my!'" Ruth exclaimed. "Then he told us about the IRA charitable rollover and explained how this option allows us to avoid having to pay taxes on the distributions."
The IRA charitable rollover (officially known as the IRA qualified charitable distribution) is a provision in the IRS tax code that allows someone who is at least 70½ years of age to transfer up to $100,000 directly from their IRA to any qualified charitable organization and not be taxed on the distribution. This charitable distribution can satisfy all or part of the individual's RMD.
It is recommended that everyone check with their tax advisors to determine if the IRA charitable rollover is right for them. The Lius' tax advisor looked at their unique circumstances and made the determination that the IRA charitable rollover was in their best interest. "When we ran this option by our accountant he said, ‘Absolutely, this is the way to go,'" Ruth recalled.
The Lius have taken advantage of this option for the last two years. "We had to really scramble in 2015 because Congress did not pass the law allowing this type of gift until really late in the year," Ruth said. Now the IRA charitable rollover has been reinstated indefinitely. "It is nice knowing this option is in place and we can plan our giving throughout the year," Ruth proclaimed.
When asked why they give their gifts through their IRA Ruth was quick to point out, "We do not give for the tax benefit alone-the tax savings are only an ancillary benefit. God has blessed us with these resources so that we may be a conduit for His grace. We in turn merely allow His blessings to overflow to others."
For information on how you can be a conduit for God's blessings and support the mission of Union College in the most tax-efficient way, contact Scot Coppock, Director of Leadership Giving, at 402.486.2503 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Scot has several options to offer, including the IRA charitable rollover, and would love to help you decide what works best for you.
Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.