Jeff Light, SMU '84

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Born and raised in Schenectady, NY, Jeff Light chose SMU because he wanted a smaller school away from the Northeast and because a family friend was already attending the university. Pleased with his initial visit, Jeff entered and graduated with a B.A. in political science and economics, and later earned an MBA through SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business.

Jeff remembers enjoying undergraduate classes with Professor Phil Seib and also being in class with football great Craig James. However, his best memories are of his graduate experience, where he says the “lessons learned from professors, but perhaps even more from fellow students, and the thought processes developed” have been formative in his life. The network of friends and contacts established in those student days continues to be important now, with contacts as far-flung as Thailand and Australia. He stays in touch with Dean Gene Byrne, a special favorite.

Health care has been the focus of Jeff’s professional life—a natural since his wife Natalie is a physician. He is a great supporter of SMU swimming—watching the successes of our athletes along with his daughter, who is a competitive swimmer. He was involved with the SMU Visioneering program in its early years and continues to support MBA scholarships and the Mustang Club. Jeff has developed a deeper understanding of the Dallas community as a participant in Leadership Dallas, an organization dedicated to training a select group of individuals who have a unique interest in civic and community affairs.

Jeff was greatly influenced by his mother’s creation of a scholarship benefiting her alma mater, Syracuse. He has followed this example by providing SMU with an unrestricted bequest to ensure that funds can eventually be used where they are most needed.

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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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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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