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Advancement: Your Connection to Union

The Spirit of Union College

Dr. C. Y. Liu  and  Dr. Ruth Wang Liu ’66

Dr. C. Y. Liu and Dr. Ruth Wang Liu ’66

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 ccoppoc@ucollege.edu. Scot has several options to offer, including the IRA charitable rollover, and would love to help you decide what works best 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

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

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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