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Vol 57 No. 1 | Jan. 2005
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Legacy SocietyLegacy Society Honors Supporters

The Legacy Society of CSULB recently held its inaugural dinner to honor those who support the university specifically through estate planning or life income planned gifts.

“This dinner was to honor those donors who have made it known to us that they are remembering the university with some kind of deferred gift,” said David Harrison, CSULB's Assistant Vice President, Endowment Development and Estate Planning, “whether they are receiving a life income from something they have donated presently or they are leaving it to us after they are gone.”

The dinner was held on campus at The Pointe, with guests being entertained by a string quartet of CSULB students and alumni. In addition, a number of students from the prestigious President's Scholars program, representing the university's academic excellence, met guests and related their personal stories.

Among those represented at the event were the Japanese Garden, Athletics, Senior University, Nursing, Teacher Education, College of Education, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the College of the Arts and The Wellness Center.

“We have never had a society to honor these individuals,” added Harrison, who noted that CSULB's kickoff of its Legacy Society took about two years to put together and have the banquet. “This was our first opportunity to really recognize these people and thank them. That's what this society is about.”

“The Legacy Society is a key element in the continuing evolution of this university,” said President Robert C. Maxson. “In order for individuals to feel good about giving, we have to maintain our level of excellence and their generous contributions, in great part, enable us to do that.”

“The whole key theory behind this is endowment development,” added Harrison, “because ultimately an endowment is what supports most charitable institutions.”

Harrison, along with Kathy Davis, administrator, Endowment Development and Estate Planning, and Barbara Holden, director of development, planned giving, estimates the university is aware of approximately just 10 percent of those who do plan to make contributions from their estates.

“If statistics hold true, we have about 150 individuals we have already identified which means we don't even know about the other 900-1,000,” said Harrison. “One of the purposes of the Legacy Society is to spread the word and let them know they can still be anonymous, but if they let us know, it benefits both of us. By contacting, our office they are not waiving their confidentiality. If they contact us, we can really help them memorialize what they want it to be used for.”

Harrison noted that many times, the only way his office finds out about gift is when they get a call from a law firm handling an individual's estate.

“By working with us through our Legacy Society,” he said. “It allows us to find out about these individuals beforehand and to acknowledge and thank them.”

“When the individuals are identified, then we can talk with them and get something in writing,” said Holden. “That's important because years from now, if we are all gone, people working here will know what the donor intended and it gives everybody direction.”

One of the main benefits for donors to notify CSULB of their planned giving intentions is that it gives them control over how their contribution will be used. According to Davis, if people work through an attorney they may, for example, give 10 percent to the university, but they may not have specifically indicated where they would like that money to go.

“By joining our Legacy Society, it gives them a chance to see where their money is going and also to see who else is giving and for what. It's a great way to share a vision,” said Davis, who added the Legacy Society plans to hold at least one major event annually for its members. “Also, when people identify that they have made this kind of gift to us, it gives us the opportunity to provide stewardship. It's very important that we keep these donors involved in the university. Planned gifts are a great way for people to hand down a legacy of their values and ideals.”

“Another thing we'd like to get across is that a person doesn't have to give a lot of money,” added Holden. “It's really a lot of people giving small gifts that makes the real difference.”   

To become a member of the Legacy Society, simply notify the Endowment Development Department (1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840) in writing of an intended bequest or deferred gift, or for more information, call 562/985-5489 or 877/862-7852.


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