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Winter 2008-09 Texas Leader

Giving News

Texas Leader - Winter 2008-09

Who we are and how we can help

The University’s Gift Planning team is pleased to introduce the four new team members it has welcomed in the past year. Team members invite comments and questions.

April Hampton PerezDirector April Hampton Perez joined the Gift Planning team in November 2007. She comes to UT Austin from Southwestern University, where she was senior director of development. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from Southwestern University and a master’s in social work from the University of Houston. She is a member of the National Committee on Planned Giving. She can be reached at 512-475-9510 or ahperez@austin.utexas.edu.

Michelle Rosenblatt

Associate Director Michelle Rosenblatt joined the Gift Planning team in May 2008. Before that she was a tax- and estate-planning attorney in Los Angeles. She earned a bachelor’s in psychology from UT Austin and a law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. She belongs to the National Committee on Planned Giving and the Estate Planning Council of Central Texas. She can be reached at 512-232-8054 or mrosenblatt@austin.utexas.edu.

Pamela GoobyDevelopment Specialist Pamela Gooby joined the Gift Planning team in October 2007. Before that she worked for The University of Texas System managing gifts from estates and trusts. She earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from Baylor University and a bachelor of fine arts from Texas A&M University. She is a member of the National Committee on Planned Giving. She can be reached at 512-475-9671 or pgooby@austin.utexas.edu.

Janeka RectorDevelopment Specialist Janeka Rector joined the Gift Planning team in June 2008. Before that she was a development coordinator at Reinhardt College, a private college north of Atlanta. She earned a bachelor’s degree in radio-television-film from UT Austin. She is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the National Committee on Planned Giving. She can be reached at 512-232-8065 or jrector@austin.utexas.edu.

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What is an estate and how does it work?

As 2008 winds down, you might have questions about financial planning and your estate. Here are some of the basics of estate law.

When you die, the executor of your estate gathers your assets, has them appraised, and determines whether an estate tax return needs to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service. By reviewing your assets during your lifetime you can save your estate, your executor, and your heirs time and money.

What should I know before meeting with an attorney to plan my estate?

You should have a general sense of your goals and objectives, such as:

  • Where you would like to be in terms of financial security in the next five years, next 10 years, and at retirement, as well as the age at which you plan to retire.
  • Your major financial obligations, both present and future.
  • How you would like to provide for your family or others close to you at your death, including:
  • The minimum amount you would like to leave to your spouse.
  • The minimum amount you would like to leave to your children.
  • Whether you would like them to receive principal, income, or both.
  • The age at which you would like your children to receive their inheritance.
  • Whether you would like to provide for education or business opportunities.
  • Whether any child has special needs.
  • Whether your spouse is capable of managing financial affairs.
  • If you own a business, how you would like that business to continue after your death? For example, would you like someone in the family or an associate to inherit it or would you like it sold and the proceeds distributed?
  • Whether there are any charities to which you would like to make a gift.
  • Whether you or your spouse expect to inherit anything from family members or others.
  • Whether you or your spouse expect any income from Social Security.

How will my estate be calculated for estate tax purposes?

Your executor will tally your assets:

  • Real estate.
  • Business interests.
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities.
  • Life-insurance policies.
  • Personal property such as cars, furniture, household items, artwork, coin collections, and jewelry.
  • Cash, notes, checking, savings, and other bank accounts.

Your executor will subtract any debts and obligations.

The result is the value of your estate.

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Spring TLS luncheon in the works

The Office of Gift Planning is in the midst of planning the next Texas Leadership Society luncheon to honor people who have supported The University of Texas at Austin through estate gifts. The annual luncheon, held in the spring, is a chance to celebrate donors and to tell them about the accomplishments that planned gifts have made possible. The 2009 luncheon will also feature an update on the University’s eight-year, $3 billion capital campaign, the Campaign for Texas.

The next TLS luncheon will be held March 27, 2009, at the Texas Union Ballroom. Please consider notifying a member of the Gift Planning team if you’ve included the University in your estate plans. We’ll welcome you to the Texas Leadership Society and invite you to the 2009 luncheon. You may also qualify for membership in the Littlefield Society, which offers additional benefits.

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Miss Smith goes to Washington

Marie Smith SchwartzMarie Smith Schwartz’s life sounds like something from a storybook — probably because it was inspired by one. But the personal and professional triumphs? Those she wrote herself.

The book that set the stage was Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” a tale of four sisters growing up in the 1860s. Schwartz and her three sisters decided they’d model themselves after the fictional March family and make a family newspaper. “We would save the brown paper that the laundry used to come wrapped in and cut it up into newspaper size,” Schwartz says.

And thus a journalist was born. Schwartz — then Marie Smith — went on to write for her high school newspaper before starting her career, working in the daytime and attending the University of Georgia at night. She started out small and moved on to bigger and bigger newspapers, eventually landing at The Washington Post in 1954. Editors noticed her talents, and she was chosen for one of the paper’s most prestigious beats. She wrote books on the side and earned the trust of Washington luminaries. They included Lady Bird Johnson, whose biography Schwartz was commissioned to write. The then-first lady trusted Schwartz so completely that she invited her to the White House to conduct her research. Mrs. Johnson opened up her diaries and personal papers to Schwartz without condition — even when the first family was out of town.

“The house would be empty except for a security guard,” Schwartz says. “I felt almost as if I would look up one day and see Abraham Lincoln walk in.”

Random House published “The President’s Lady: An Intimate Portrait of Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson” in 1964. Schwartz has also written several other books, including “White House Brides” and “Entertaining in the White House.”

Schwartz’s friendship with Mrs. Johnson inspired her to give to the Wildflower Center, which Lady Bird founded in 1982 as the National Wildflower Research Center. The Wildflower Center became part of the University in 2006. Although Schwartz has supported the center for years with outright gifts, in 2008 she established a charitable gift annuity. In exchange for her gift, Schwartz will receive a guaranteed fixed income for life, and after that the gift will support the Wildflower Center. Her gift will give her an income-tax deduction and reduce her overall estate at the same time she is helping the Wildflower Center and honoring her friend.

Thanks to Mrs. Johnson, Schwartz says, “I became more conscious of the wildflowers wherever I traveled. Every time I travel in this country and see wildflowers along the highway, I think of Lady Bird.”

Born in Atlanta in 1920, Schwartz may have been destined for newspapers, but the path wasn’t easy. Schwartz began her career at a time when women in journalism were still rare.

“Today it’s easier for girls to get into newspapers, radio, and television, but at that time it was very difficult,” she says.

Then along came World War II.

“It was easier for girls to get a job because the men were going off to war,” Schwartz says. “Women did a lot back then, huh?”

Things changed when the war ended.

“When the men came back, some of the girls had to step aside,” Schwartz says. “Fortunately, I was well established.”

At the Post, Schwartz was promoted to the women’s department after proving herself in hard news. She was covering juvenile courts when the paper decided to create a newsier women’s section. “They wanted to bring some hard news to the women’s department,” she says. “They told the women’s editor to look into the newsroom and pick any woman they wanted, and they picked me.”

That assignment not only acquainted Schwartz with Washington’s power players, it earned her professional honors.

The names of the awards often reflected the fact that women in journalism were still a novelty. The Sons and Daughters Foundation named her “best woman writer” in Washington in 1963. She won the Catherine L. O’Brien Award for excellence in women’s reporting in 1965, beating out 1,000 other reporters. She also served as president of the American Newspaper Women’s Club.

Mrs. Johnson may have sparked Schwartz’s love of wildflowers, but it was Schwartz’s late husband who introduced her to philanthropy. Marie Smith and Arnold Schwartz wed in 1970, the same year she retired from the Post. He died in 1979 after working in the oil business and in hospital administration, the latter a lifelong devotion.

Arnold Schwartz was the son of a blacksmith, and his father took him on his weekly bill collections. Customers often told young Arnold that they were holding back 10 percent of their bills to give to the local hospital. His father approved, and Arnold grew up thinking philanthropy was just part of life.

“He learned from his father and his father’s customers that that’s what you did,” Schwartz says. “He wanted me to carry on after he was gone, and I have.”

Schwartz never lived in the Lone Star State, although for a few years she had an apartment in San Antonio that she used during visits to friends in Texas.

These days Schwartz lives in Connecticut and keeps herself busy serving on the boards of foundations and charitable organizations, including the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

She still thinks about Mrs. Johnson, who died in Austin in 2007.

“I always called her my role model because she did so much,” Schwartz says. “She prepared herself for whatever role life handed her.”

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From Japan with love

Fumiko TamuraOnce a year just isn’t enough for Fumiko Tamura’s favorite birthday gift. This annual gift isn’t one Tamura receives but one she gives — to The University of Texas at Austin.

“I’m trying to give every year on my birthday, December 12, and if possible between it,” says Tamura, who turns 83 this year.

Tamura’s fondness for UT Austin dates back to 1984, when she enrolled here as a graduate student in linguistics. By then she had already taught English for 20 years at Tokyo’s Jyosai University. She earned her doctorate at UT Austin in 1989 and returned to her native Japan to again teach English. She is still teaching, now seniors at a Tokyo cultural center.

Tamura describes her time at Texas as the best of her life. Before starting her graduate studies she paid a visit to the University, talking to her future professors and strolling around campus. She saw friendly people who welcomed everyone — a pattern that continued throughout her years here.

“When you are away from home, sometimes you feel helpless, you need someone to talk to, you need someone to care for you, and UT is a place where you can get all that,” she says. “I owe what I am to UT, the faculty especially,” she says.

Those influential faculty members included education professor John Bordie. On Tamura’s Commencement Day in 1989, she told Bordie what he had meant to her. He responded with one last lesson.

“I said, ‘I don’t know how to repay your kindness,’ ” Tamura recalls. “He said, ‘Don’t repay me, but give to those who need help.’ I remembered his words.”

She not only remembered them — she decided to live them. In addition to her regular outright gifts to the University, Tamura has included UT Austin in her will, creating an endowment for a graduate fellowship in foreign-language education in the College of Education. She wants to help future English teachers who need financial assistance.

Tamura’s own career as a linguist began at age 5 as a neighbor of some not-so-nice English-speaking children.

“The first English I learned was ‘It’s mine’ when they tried to take my toys away,” she says. “Also ‘Drop dead’ and ‘Go jump in a lake.’ ”

From a young age, Tamura wanted to visit other countries, but World War II delayed her plans. Being a young person in wartime Japan wasn’t easy. Tamura remembers going without food because of rationing. She enrolled in medical school to follow in her father’s footsteps but had to leave when her house was burned down during an air raid.

Throughout it all, her desire for education was a constant. After her stint in medical school, she decided she wanted to see that justice was done. She enrolled in law school but became disillusioned and transferred her major to English, receiving scholarships throughout her nine years of undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

English was the right fit. She sees language as a uniting force.

“English now is sort of the universal language,” Tamura says. “People should know the universal language. They should know the outside world more.”

But what makes The University of Texas at Austin a good place for learning about the world? When choosing an institution to support, Tamura investigated several universities, but Texas stood out both academically and culturally.

“I believe that Texas probably is the best place for learning the language and learning about America, too,” she says.

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Why do people give at the end of the year?

C. Stephen SaundersIn the last few months of the year, everyone receives countless brochures from charitable organizations with year-end tax-planning advice. The advice ranges from the practical that could apply to almost anyone to the esoteric that would apply to almost no one.

But often lost in the technical discussion is recognition for why people give, particularly at this time of the year. For any donor, having good advice about the most effective ways to give can have a significant effect on the benefits and taxes for the donor and the charity. Almost everyone has read about the great tax efficiency in naming a charity as the beneficiary of any retirement plan, whether an IRA or a 401(k).

When the individual or surviving spouse has died, the retirement plan passes to the charity without being reduced by income or estate taxes. And the person’s estate receives a complete tax deduction for income- and estate-tax purposes. The charity receives 100 percent of the value of the asset.

Another often-discussed giving method is using appreciated assets such as stock. The donor gets an income-tax deduction for the full value of the asset, and, when the charity sells it, there is no capital-gains tax to pay. In contrast, if the donor sells the asset and pays capital-gains tax, the charity receives less than the full value of the asset, and the donor actually pays tax.

Our experience, however, is that most charitable giving and planning happens at this time of the year not because of tax concerns. Instead, as the holiday season approaches, people tend to reflect on what they hope to accomplish and the legacy they wish to leave.

Most charitable giving is done by people who are not in the top income tax bracket and by people who do not have taxable estates. It is done by people contributing to their colleges and universities, their churches, their PTAs, and other organizations that matter to them, with very little thought given to the effect the contributions will have on their income taxes.

Most graduates of the University recognize that without their degrees, their experiences, and their acquaintances from their UT days their lives would be much different. It is that recognition and gratitude that motivates the University community to support UT as it does. This is a great time of the year to review wills and estate plans and to consider gifts to the University. Your professional advisors and the UT Gift Planning Office can help you accomplish your charitable goals.

C. Stephen Saunders is an estate-planning attorney with Saunders, Norval, Nichols & Atkins in Austin and specializes in charitable planning.

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The Campaign for Texas

The Campaign for Texas logoSomeday people with Type 1 diabetes will be able to replace their insulin shots with pills. Someday doctors will be able to target cancer cells directly without exposing patients’ entire bodies to harmful radiation. Someday a vaccine will have the power to render powerless the deadly Ebola virus. Someday paramedics will be able to diagnose a heart attack with a single drop of saliva.

This vision of someday brought to you by The University of Texas at Austin. The University of Texas at Austin has begun an eight-year capital campaign to raise $3 billion. It’s a campaign that aims to change not only the university but the world.

“Great universities answer the great questions of our time,” President William Powers Jr. said Oct. 17 in announcing the Campaign for Texas. “How to generate economic growth? How to manage and prevent life-threatening disease? How to respond to the global energy crisis? How to protect the environment and our natural resources? How to live in a global community with many cultures, languages, and perspectives?

“When the world asks, we answer. More important, we are studying the issues even before world events frame the questions.”

The theme for the Campaign for Texas is “We change people. They change the world.”

And those scenarios above? Research being conducted at the University. Nicholas Peppas — a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering known as the “father of modern drug delivery” — is developing an insulin capsule to replace painful insulin injections for people with diabetes. Mechanical Engineering Professor Adela Ben-Yakar has developed a laser “microscalpel” that destroys a single cell while leaving nearby cells intact. The U.S. and Canadian governments have awarded $2.6 million to Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics Maria Croyle to develop a vaccine against Ebola virus infection. Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor John T. McDevitt has designed a nanobio-chip the size of a credit card that can be used to check a patient’s blood serum proteins for signs of a heart attack.

The quiet phase of the Campaign for Texas began Sept. 1, 2006, and since then the university has raised $700 million. The eight-year campaign will conclude Aug. 31, 2014. Members of the Gift Planning team can answer your questions about the many ways and assets that can be given to the campaign. More information about the campaign is available at campaignfortexas.utexas.edu.

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