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Finding Synergy With MSU

Barbara and Paul provide a generous future gift to MSU to benefit developing countries in Africa.

Paul Bishop and his wife, Barbara, have created a generous future gift to MSU to support developing countries in Africa.

Paul Bishop couldn't sleep. The year was 2009, and he'd just returned home to Kirkland, Washington, from Ethiopia, Africa, where he had inspected water sites with a group from his Rotary Club.

It was the second time Paul ('67, Social Science; '72, Law) had traveled to Africa since retiring from a career in trust management and private law practice. Now, things weren't adding up.

"I had seen a deep, deep warmth in the people in Africa," he recalls. "Their smiles are so genuine. When they greet each other, there's true joy and laughter and spontaneity."

But he had also seen broken down wells and heard stories of children who had died after drinking contaminated water.

"I couldn't forget the beauty of the people, and I couldn't forget their condition," he says.

Paul, who has spent most of his adult life in the Pacific Northwest, had donated to MSU for decades. A few years ago, Paul and his wife, Barbara, also provided a generous future gift to MSU through a charitable bequest in their estate plans.

"The Development office never prodded," he says. "But when I showed a particular interest, they would always follow up and help me focus on an area that fit."

When he mentioned Africa to Sarah Blom, Michigan State University executive director of individual giving, she connected him with leadership for the university's Tanzania Partnership Project (TPP). He listened as students described working alongside students from the University of Tanzania. He liked the program's focus on water and collaboration.

"They listen and build trust," he says. "They equip people and empower them to take responsibility for building the wells and maintaining them."

The Paul Bishop and Barbara Pendras Family Endowment for Developing Countries will support the TPP's worldwide initiatives in safe water, health, sanitation, hygiene or education in developing countries, starting with Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

"It was a total fit," Paul says. "It takes my focus on water, sanitation and Africa, and combines it with my love for MSU—and they have the synergy to make it happen."

To find your philanthropic fit with MSU, contact the Office of Gift Planning at 800 232-4678 | 517 884-1000 or

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Michigan State University 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 and devise to Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, the sum of $__________ dollars (or state percentage of estate) to be held, administered, and used by the Board of Trustees for support of Michigan State University in the area of greatest opportunity (or designated to your college or degree, academic, athletic or cultural program of your choice).

I instruct that all of my charitable gifts shall be made, to the extent possible, from property that constitutes "income in respect of a decedent" as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code.

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 MSU 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.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

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 MSU 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 MSU 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 MSU where you agree to make a gift to MSU 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.