Lifelong Learner Leaves Estate to Help a Friend and Make a Lasting Impact at Sacramento State

Hazel Cramer left more than $3.5 million to Sacramento State through estate planning.

Hazel Cramer left more than $3.5 million to Sacramento State through estate planning.

When Hazel Cramer was a young woman growing up in Flint, Michigan, she tried to enroll in junior college, but was rebuffed because she was not going to be able to be a full-time student.

"They wouldn't let me in because I had to work," she said.

She took a few classes at a community college, but never received a degree. Eventually she moved to California and worked for her entire career as a bookkeeper and accountant for the State of California.

A Growing Appreciation for Sacramento State
Her involvement with Sacramento State began when attending presentations by the Renaissance Society, a participatory "Center for Learning in Retirement" in which members choose to study topics proposed by their peers who coordinate the seminars. Over time, her interest in the University grew, as did her appreciation of its importance to the region.

As she began to think about ultimate plans for her estate, she thought back on the struggles she faced when trying to enroll in college and wanted to do something significant to help students with similar circumstances.

"I understand that students often have obstacles that get in the way of completing their education," she said, "and I wanted to be able to help."

Endowment to Help Future Students
During her lifetime, Hazel committed close to $1 million to create the Hazel Cramer Endowed Scholarship at Sacramento State. The eligibility requirements for the scholarship are broad, as she wanted to support as many eligible students as possible, and by creating the scholarship when she was alive, she was able to meet the students who benefited from the scholarship.

In December 2014, Hazel passed away at the age of 96, leaving a total of more than $3.5 million to Sacramento State through her estate. Of that gift, $1 million will be used to create the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair in the Department of Public Policy and Administration in the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. It is Sacramento State's first endowed chair and will allow the University to recruit a renowned expert in the discipline to expand the range and quality of offerings for students and promote the campus's reputation as the "Capital Campus."

The funds will be used to attract a talented faculty member as chair, provide research funds and support interaction with the community in a number of ways, such as providing analysis of problems of regional concern.

Helping Others and the University
Hazel also provided for a dear friend by establishing a charitable reminder annuity trust through her estate plans. Her friend will receive a quarterly payment for the rest of her life, and then upon her passing, the remainder will supplement the previously-established Hazel Cramer Endowed Scholarship, ensuring Hazel's legacy at Sacramento State in perpetuity.

Through excellent estate planning, Hazel was able to establish and enjoy an endowed scholarship while she was living, ensure the financial security a friend, and benefit education by supporting students and Sacramento State, which remained her passion.

If you are interested in learning more about gifts of real estate, appreciated securities, charitable gift annuities, or charitable remainder trusts, please give us a call anytime, or explore our website for more information.

We look forward to helping you with your planning.
Kevin J. Gonzalez, MBA, Ed.D.
Director of Major and Planned Gifts
Sacramento State
(916) 278-6290

Lisa Woodard-Mink, CSPG
Director of Planned Giving
Sacramento State
(916) 278-3852

Support Future Students
To learn how planned giving can help you assist Sacramento State University students, contact Lisa Woodard-Mink, CSPG, (916) 278-3852 or

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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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