John and Martha Hardt


As lifelong Methodists, Bishop John and Martha Hardt learned early of the importance of financial support for the institutions they loved. When John was serving the Oklahoma Area of the United Methodist Church, he helped to reorganize the Oklahoma Methodist Foundation, discovering the needs of the Area and the ways in which those needs could be met through philanthropic support.

Martha and John grew up in East Texas, and met while students at Lon Morris College. Both were able to attend because of work scholarships and they were mentored by Dr. Cecil Peeples, longtime president of the college. They transferred together to SMU, where John went on to graduate from Perkins School of Theology. He then followed his father into the ministry.

After serving churches in the Texas Annual Conference, John was the superintendent of the Houston East District when he was elected to the Episcopacy. He was Bishop of the Oklahoma Area for eight years until his retirement from active ministry in 1988. He returned to Perkins as Bishop-in- Residence until 2000, and since then he has served as Bishop-in-Residence Emeritus.

“A meaningful part of our lives has been to have a continuing witness at places that have been important in our lives and will be financially challenged in the future,” John says.

The Hardts have two endowments designated for Perkins School of Theology that provide support for the Bridwell Library Center for Methodist Studies and for scholarships. The scholarship endowment was established in 2000 by John’s former students to honor his influence in their lives. As charter members of the Dallas Hall Society, John and Martha have also established a bequest that will continue to provide scholarship funding to benefit students preparing for ministry.

The Hardts’ generosity is an inspiring example of sacrificial support for SMU and other organizations that have been important in their lives and the lives of others.

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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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