I had to ask "Why"!


Why would a couple, each of whom holds two degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, decide to leave the bulk of their estate to SMU? That was a question I asked when Linda Gardner called to tell me that she and her husband, Fred Alsup, would like to do just that.

It did not take long to learn the reason. They love the Meadows Museum and had something special in mind. You see, Linda has served as a docent at the Meadows since 1995 and the enthusiasm she has for the Meadows has grown stronger over the years. She says that her work at the Meadows and the opportunity to learn more about art, especially Spanish art, has been a joy and, at times, a comfort. The Museum has become an important part of her life and Fred shares equally in her joy.

Linda told me about the fun of taking people of all ages and experience through the Meadows, showing them both the permanent collection and the many wonderful special exhibitions that come there. She gets the greatest pleasure from seeing the lively interest of those who may have never been to a museum before. Many of the school children who visit the Meadows each year are often the sources of this pleasure. The Meadows Education staff provides the docent team with the broad knowledge and specific facts they need to conduct tours to such diverse groups. Linda considers it a privilege to be a part of this team and Fred enjoys her fun vicariously.

I still remember sitting at lunch with Linda, Fred, and Mark Roglan, the Meadows Director. It was like watching a scene in a movie. They spoke of Museums in Europe and New York they had visited, of collections and artists, and of what was coming next to the Meadows. I tried to envision the scenes they spoke of, but it was obvious that they had very clear images dancing in their minds. They could see the muted colors of a piece, visualize how a particular artist made his brushstrokes, and recall a particular piece of art that had been miraculously rediscovered. Without a doubt, Fred and Linda care about art and they want to create something exciting for the Meadows Museum.

Someday, graduate students will benefit in a different way from the joy the Meadows Museum has brought to Linda and Fred. They have decided that most of their estate will be used to fund The Linda Gardner and Fred Alsup Fellowship for Research in Spanish Art. This will allow graduate students, who may come from all over the world, to study in detail a specific work of art or groups of art in the Meadows Collection or a broader subject covering Spanish art in its historical and/or cultural context. Each Fellowship will be for a two-year term and will result in a scholarly research paper to be presented by way of a public lecture.

Now I know why and it almost seems a silly question once I got to know Linda and Fred a little better. Now I just want to say "thank you!"

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Southern Methodist University 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 give to Southern Methodist University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Dallas, TX, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate 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 SMU 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 SMU 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 SMU 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 SMU where you agree to make a gift to SMU 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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