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Planned Giving

An Amazing Foundation

Melinda DennisMelinda Dennis ’87 explains why she gives back to Davidson, most recently in the form of a planned gift, in the simplest of terms. “Really, why wouldn’t I?” she said.

She believes in tradition and generations and family. She believes in supporting those who come after her, both in the world and at Davidson, a school with principles that have meant so much to her life.

“I want to see more Davidson graduates and know they came from the same background,” she said. “I want my money to go to places that I trust. And for me, that includes Davidson, my other alma mater—because I chose really well—and several environmental organizations that are doing important work.”

Dennis has many memorable experiences from Davidson, and she counts her study of languages and courses with English professor Cynthia Lewis among them.

“Reading Shakespeare with her was like a scavenger hunt,” said Dennis. “As students, we found the most amazing treasures. I would’ve missed them if I had just read, but we dropped down into the language. It made it worth it to be an English major even though I wasn’t sure exactly where it would lead me.”

Dennis knew she would always be able to write, read and think critically, skills she attributed to what she calls an amazing foundation.

“I remember saying to myself, ‘If you can get through Davidson homework between 1983 and 1987, you can literally get through anything.’ I think we were told that homework was designed so we couldn’t possibly finish all of it. I’m still not sure if that was a rumor!”

Following Davidson, Dennis went to Japan, a trip that was made possible in part by contributions from Wildcat alumni.

“I didn’t think twice about crossing the whole globe,” she said. “It didn’t strike me once that I couldn’t do it. It was far away and completely organized from scratch. When I started at Davidson, I don’t know if I would’ve had that confidence. I knew I had the spunk and the interest, but perhaps it was the confidence that was built during those four years.”

Following her time in Japan, Dennis worked in international language studies and education for 14 years. Diagnosed with celiac disease, and building on her skills as a teacher, she decided to combine those two areas of her life in the next step of her career.

Today, she is a registered dietitian and the nutrition coordinator of the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She is also the founder and owner of a nutrition consulting business, Delete the Wheat, LLC, which focuses on personalized, whole foods-based nutrition education to maximize health and wellness and increase awareness of special diets.

Her work is challenging, she says, but Davidson prepared her to welcome challenges in every aspect of her life. Davidson also prepared her to pay it forward.

“Through my work and my volunteer roles, I see that strong desire to serve others in my life every day,” said Dennis “I’m happy to be able to create that foundation for others.”

Dennis encourages others to think about how they can make a meaningful difference for Davidson and the future of the college and its students.

“I would ask my friends to think about the people they are today and how much that has to do with our time at Davidson,” she said.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Davidson 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

Bequest Language

I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Davidson College [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for [its unrestricted use] or [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 Davidson 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 Davidson 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 Davidson 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 Davidson where you agree to make a gift to Davidson 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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