Wills and Ways
hen Emily Callaghan ’41 died in 2000, she and her husband, Lewis, gave Sarah Lawrence a very generous bequest: Worth more than $2 million, the gift was primarily the proceeds from the sale of property in California that had been acquired by her ancestors through a Spanish land grant.
Marcuse Pfeifer ’58 is also planning a bequest: She will leave the College a beautiful old colonial home in a charming New England town.
Years—and 3,000 miles—apart, these gifts of real estate are both “planned gifts”—gifts that are arranged now, but will not be available to the recipient until a future time.
“Planned gifts are great for people who want to do something for the College, but can’t part with their assets now,” says Eileen Smith, director of planned giving.
Planned gifts reflect a donor’s hopes for the future—and they usually benefit the future of the College. They’re especially critical to Sarah Lawrence, an institution which, at 75 years old, is much younger than most of its peers: Others have had a century or more to accrue the large endowments that play a huge role in what they can offer their students, but SLC’s endowment is still in its infancy. “Planned gifts have been responsible for building up the endowments of colleges across the country,” Smith says. “At Sarah Lawrence, they are ten times as important because we need our endowment to grow exponentially.”
Anyone can make a planned gift—and people do it for many reasons. Consider Adrienne Hart ’83, who has no children and has made the College the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. “Sarah Lawrence has been meaningful to me in my life,” she says; planning such a gift means knowing that her assets will be paid out.
Or consider Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin, parents of Ian ’74 and Laurel Ann ’75. After years of generously sponsoring prizes for student achievement and faculty excellence, they designated the College as beneficiary of an insurance policy; SLC can either continue to pay the premiums and keep it in force, or can cash the policy. This was the Lipkins’ first planned gift. Why? They have been “fantastically impressed” with what Sarah Lawrence inspires. “It’s great for a young person who has a fire in his or her belly to be able to go on and do something with it,” says Stanley.
A planned gift, like one set up by Margaret Parker ’60, can take the form of a charitable remainder trust, which converts one’s assets into a lifetime income stream without generating estate and capital gains taxes. Whatever remains at the donor’s death will go to the charity of his or her choice.
Or, like Emily Callaghan and Marcuse Pfeifer, a donor can simply include the College in her or his will. Sally Meigs ’44, whose faculty included Joseph Campbell and Horace Gregory, is doing just that. It’s simple, she says. “The College made my life so interesting—it was just dazzling. I thought if I was going to leave some money, I’d leave it to Sarah Lawrence.”