A Lasting Legacy
bequest intentions propel campaign forward
Thanks to a new initiative, donors who include Boston College in their estate plans can now play an even greater role in the success of Light the World's fundraising goal. Legacy gifts have long been crucial to the University’s growth and success. But today, as BC celebrates its Sesquicentennial, forward-thinking benefactors can include a bequest provision as a meaningful part of their overall campaign pledge.
"The BC community has responded with great enthusiasm to our ongoing campaign push to increase the number of legacy gifts," says Kathleen M. McGillycuddy NC'71, Board of Trustees chair and Light the World campaign co-chair.
"The University wishes to further recognize the critical difference these benefactors and their support play in our mission by counting their planned gifts alongside all other campaign commitments. I hope more BC donors follow their example by ensuring that the next generation of Eagles benefits from an outstanding student experience."
Serving a Vital Need
Since the campaign launch, more than 900 alumni, parents, and friends have helped secure the University's bright future by making legacy commitments that will bolster its financial stability and fuel its continued success. This record-setting wave of philanthropy has increased membership to more than 2,300 in BC's Shaw Society, named in honor of Joseph Coolidge Shaw, S.J., who helped establish Boston College with his legacy gifts.
However, BC still lags its peers significantly in terms of legacy giving. For instance, Notre Dame receives approximately 17 times the number of bequests annually as Boston College and, therefore, can better plan for future growth.
To capitalize on BC's recent strides, the University will count bequest provisions as well as beneficiary designations, such as those made in a retirement plan or life insurance policy, toward the campaign total. Donors may name Boston College as a partial or whole beneficiary of these assets and, as with other legacy gifts, may direct their philanthropy to the school or program of their choice.
Benefactors who will be at least 60 years of age by Dec. 31, 2016, will have their gifts counted toward the campaign's fundraising goal. But regardless of one's age, every legacy gift helps to ensure that BC remains strong for future generations and paves the way for the University's continued rise.
"I am deeply grateful to our donors making legacy gifts," says University President William P. Leahy, S.J. "Their generosity and commitment will have a lasting impact on Boston College."
At Boston College, nursing graduates and longtime friends Charlene Rose Gottlieb '77 and Sandy Chevrette Hughes '77 balanced courses like Pathophysiology and Maternal Child Health with rink time as teammates on the first BC women's ice hockey team. Though they lost touch after graduation, they would meet again at Reunion Weekend in 2007.
As Gottlieb and Hughes renewed their friendship, both discovered their love for BC had resulted in a desire to support tomorrow’s students. They thought legacy gifts could be an ideal vehicle but were concerned about the process.
"Frankly, I felt a legacy gift was out of my reach," says Gottlieb. "But I soon learned that there is an opportunity for all of us to make a gift and help tomorrow’s Eagles benefit from a BC education."
She and Hughes are proud that their legacy commitments, made through a life insurance policy and a retirement plan, respectively, will combine with other planned gifts to bolster their school's future.
"The Connell School of Nursing is one of the best in the nation," says Hughes, "and I want to ensure it continues to educate nurses who balance exceptional skill with compassionate care."
Both alumnae chose to designate their gifts directly to the school and support its most urgent future needs, including student aid, medical equipment upgrades, cocurricular programming, and faculty research.
They decided to make their gifts in honor of their 35th reunion last year—joining a widening circle of graduates who view the occasion as an excellent time to make a legacy commitment.
The perspective a reunion provides can help alumni better reflect on their own experiences. "I was the first one in my family to go to college, and BC gave me options," says Gottlieb. "Attending Boston College validated every dream my parents ever had for me, and I want to be able to help others in financial need."
The two friends now see each other more often and meet fellow graduates at Shaw Society events on campus, whether at game watches, museum tours, or continuing education seminars.
"For so many reasons, making my legacy commitment was such a wonderful decision," continues Hughes. "A legacy gift does not cost you anything now and will continue to strengthen BC for all."
There is a beautiful symmetry to the relationship that Mary '79 and Terry Belton '78 enjoy with Boston College.
The couple met as undergraduates—during a Halloween party on Upper Campus—and took the life lessons they learned at the Heights into their marriage. They also translated the scholarly skills they secured into their careers: Mary was a correspondent with The Associated Press Radio Network until her retirement, while Terry is managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., in Chicago.
Today, four of their five children have attended the University—and the Beltons have found the BC experiences of their sons and daughter to be reassuringly similar to their own.
"As Boston College has become increasingly competitive, BC's commitment to the liberal arts has stayed constant," says Terry Belton. "And the student body is remarkable. My children's friends are very much like the friends that we made there: smart, articulate individuals who genuinely care about the world."
The couple decided to establish the Belton Family Scholarship Fund in 2006 to assist just such students. "We want BC to remain a place that welcomes talented kids, regardless of their financial situation," explains Mary Belton. "We take the University's dedication to need-blind admission very seriously and want to do our part to ensure this policy continues."
Like a growing number of donors, the Beltons recently complemented their financial aid fund with a bequest that will benefit their scholarship. While their fund will last in perpetuity, the couple's legacy commitment will better enable it to keep pace with the rising cost of education, thus ensuring their scholarship helps more students receive a BC education over the decades.
"Much to our surprise, the process was quite straightforward," says Terry Belton. "We simply had our lawyer draw up the bequest when we made other changes to our will and allocated a fixed sum to our alma mater." In many respects, the Beltons felt like their commitment was the right fit for their needs.
"Our legacy gift proved to be an excellent way to strengthen our family fund," he adds. "In the future, our children will be able to support this scholarship, too, so it's great to know that we will help create a BC giving tradition."
Make an impact with legacy gifts
▶ $10,000 Underwrite student programming at the School of Theology and Ministry
▶ $25,000 Provide an annual need-based scholarship to a deserving undergraduate
▶ $60,000 Cover travel expenses for BC Law students participating in legal competitions nationwide
▶ $100,000 Sponsor a four-month exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art
▶ $500,000 Establish an endowed faculty research fund that will enable professors and students to investigate pressing scientific or social issues
Learn more about legacy giving opportunities at www.bc.edu/legacygiving or contact Director of Gift Planning Sue Ramsey '91 at firstname.lastname@example.org.