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Bill '61 & Elaine Hurd

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Why and How We Give to Clarkson
September 2010

My wife, Elaine, and I give to Clarkson for many reasons. Foremost is the pleasure of giving and sharing our bounty with others. Elaine came into my life about 15 years ago, after my first wife, Linda, passed on. Linda and I gave to Clarkson every year, but Elaine has taught me more of the rewards of giving. We truly believe that one's generosity will be more than returned, if only because of the positive attitude that is bolstered by generous and cheerful giving.

Elaine and I have done a lot of charitable work, usually accompanied by significant donations. Sometimes our efforts were rewarding, but other times the charity turned out to be undeserving. We decided to become more knowledgeable about charitable giving so we could help charities in fundraising, and to become more discerning in our own giving. To accomplish this, Elaine earned certificates in Fundraising and in Public Relations for Non-Profits from UCLA Extension. I have become a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving.

We have chosen Clarkson as the main recipient of our gifts for many reasons. For one, I feel that Clarkson played a significant role in my success in graduate school and in my career at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Second, I have always wanted to repay my scholarship by helping deserving students attend Clarkson. Third, I have spent most of my life in California, and Clarkson has not neglected alumni on the West Coast. Clarkson staff and Presidents have made many trips to Los Angeles, and I have always been included and treated with friendship and respect. Finally, Clarkson has made great strides over the years, not only in moving to the Hill Campus, but in modernizing the curriculum and instilling an entrepreneurial spirit into the students. This demonstrates that Clarkson has been a good steward of the gifts it has received, which it very important to us as donors. All charitable donors should expect their gifts to be used well.

How do we give to Clarkson? Besides annual giving over the years, Elaine and I made special gifts for my 40th and 45th reunion years. The latter gift is the initial funding of an endowed scholarship. It a pleasure to receive letters each year from the recipients, who are appreciative even though the scholarship amounts have been modest. For my 50th reunion in 2011, we have pledged to bequest to Clarkson a portion of our unused retirement assets (IRAs) to add to the endowment. Clearly we will have no further need for the money. This is the most tax-efficient way of leaving a charitable legacy, because both income taxes and estate taxes are avoided.

The balance of our retirement assets will go into Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs), providing lifetime income to my children and the remainder to Clarkson. An advantage to CRTs over inherited IRAs is that CRTs provide lifetime incomes, whereas an inherited IRA can be depleted to zero if the heir outlives his or her life expectancy. Also, the principal of an inherited IRA could be withdrawn immediately, which is not possible with a CRT. Therefore, the CRTs ensure that my children will have lifetime income, even if they spend other inheritances. And the remainder will benefit Clarkson.

As a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG), I am knowledgeable in how to make charitable gifts in ways that are most beneficial to the donors, the donors' heirs, and the charities. Taxes can be minimized, both for lifetime gifts and for bequests. Secure lifetime incomes can be provided both for donors and heirs, with a gift of the remainder to charity. I would be happy to discuss these things confidentially with anyone who is contemplating a gift to Clarkson. It's another way that I can support Clarkson and help ensure its future.

What's creative about Bill's gift?

  • Bill is planning to leave IRA assets to Clarkson and other assets to heirs, which may save both income and estate taxes
  • Depending on future tax legislation, other IRA assets may be used to fund two charitable remainder trusts, which will generate lifetime income for his children, with the remainder ultimately going to Clarkson
  • Bill created his scholarship endowment during his lifetime, and will enjoy the impact of the endowment for students
  • Bill is connecting his current giving with his estate planning to fulfill his philanthropic goals
  • Bill is timing the creation of his estate gifts so that they may count in his 50th reunion fundraising
  • Bill is working with Clarkson to ensure that his plans and his endowment will function at Clarkson as he intends

Bill, with rescue dogs Feliz & Bijou

Bill, with his two rescue dogs, Feliz (left) and Bijou (right).

Originally from Uniondale, NY, Bill Hurd graduated in 1961 with a degree in electrical engineering. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California and pursued a career at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Bill was certified as a specialist in planned giving from the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies in 2009 and enjoys volunteering his time to confidentially help alumni and friends include Clarkson in their plans.

Read Bill's article, "Family First with a Charitable Trust"
Read Bill's article, "Trust Your Children or Trust a Trust"
Read Bill's article, "Take Care of Yourself First"
Read Bill's article, "Retirement Income for Financial Conservatives"
Read Bill's article, "A Charitable Trust Might be for You"
Read Bill's article, "Charitable Giving May Be Easier Than You Think"
Read Bill's article, "Do You Have a Tax Problem?"

Footnote: Bill Hurd passed away in 2016.  This article is published in thanks and admiration to a loyal Clarkson alumnus.

(rev. 12/2016)