A Small Gesture That Makes a Big Difference

Donald Hall and Carol Maxwell

Professor Emeritus Donald Hall and wife Carol Maxwell's gift makes a big difference in the lives of students.

The inside of an anechoic chamber, by design, prevents the reflection of sound. In the basement of Sequoia Hall, stowed behind vault-like doors, it is where Professor Emeritus Donald Hall spent more than 30 years teaching physics students. Even though he retired in 2006, he delights at explaining how it works...and some of the gentle pranks he played on his students.

But as if to contradict the room's silence, Hall and his wife Carol Maxwell have created their own resounding impact on students. Twenty years ago, they created and awarded the James Clerk Maxwell Physics Achievement Awards—named not for Carol's family, but for one of the most influential physicists along with Newton and Einstein. The award provides physics students amounts from $100 to more than $500 each semester for books or other needs.

Hall and Maxwell identified a creative approach to making the donation.

"From the beginning, we recognized a joint advantage in the form of stock as a gift," Hall explains. Annually, they donate appreciated stocks, upon which they otherwise would pay capital gains. The University Foundation at Sacramento State, as a not-for-profit organization, can accept the gift tax exempt.

The award is not dependent on need, and physics students with a B or above in any individual course required for the major may qualify for the funds. Students can also receive the award multiple times, and Hall and Maxwell recall several students who did.

"Even though it's a modest amount, it's still a useful pat on the back for students in the major," Hall explains.

"Receiving awards is always nice, but the environment fostered by such a charitable department is really what makes Physics at Sacramento State stand out," says Eliza Morris, Ph.D. (B.S., physics, 2005), who believes the nature of the department as a whole has helped her value helping others. "As students, we felt as though we were part of a community."

Hall believes that even those with modest resources can still help students.

"There's a feel-good component to giving an award like this," says Hall. "I don't think it has to be a big splash...something small can be something good too."

To learn more about using stocks to support Sacramento State, and other ways you can support our students, contact Lisa Woodard-Mink, CSPG at (916) 278-3852 or lisa.woodard-mink@csus.edu.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Sacramento State 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 Sacramento State, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6030, 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 the University Foundation 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.

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 the University Foundation 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 the University Foundation 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 the University Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the University Foundation 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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