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A Foundation for Success: Couple Makes a Lifetime Commitment to BSU


Greg and Mira Zimmerman

By Dylan Pieri, Communications Intern

Mira (BS '94) and Greg Zimmerman strongly believe that a good education allows you to excel in your chosen profession. This is why they made a lifetime commitment to Ball State University, choosing to support a program that laid the foundation for Mira's career success.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Mira first visited Ball State during high school to pursue her interest in journalism. She fell in love with the campus and all the university had to offer. "It was one of those things-you just know immediately that it's right," Mira says.

Mira was involved with many student organizations at Ball State, including the Daily News, Public Relations Student Society of America, Cardinal Corps, and Delta Zeta sorority. After graduation, she attended graduate school at Bowling Green State University in sports administration. She interned at the NCAA headquarters in Kansas, which led to a position with the NCAA, now located in Indianapolis, where she is currently the assistant director of academic and membership affairs.

Greg grew up in Harrisburg, Pa., and attended Dickinson College to study history. He went on to study law at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, Greg became a real estate lawyer. He came to Indianapolis seven years ago to work for Simon Property Group and now serves as the senior vice president for Big Box, Theatre and Peripheral Development.

Returning to Ball State

Mira and Greg met in 2011 and married the very next year. Greg had never been to Ball State, so they decided to make a trip back to Mira's alma mater. "We attended the Beneficence Society Homecoming Luncheon, and the next day a football game," Mira says. "People were so nice. It was just like how I remembered it. We even met with John Worthen, who was president when I attended Ball State."

The Zimmermans decided to make a bequest to Ball State to show their appreciation for Mira's education. "I'm a big believer in higher education," Greg says. "I know how Mira feels about Ball State and I've been introduced to it through her. I've spent some time there and now I love it too. I also know how important it is for a university to have bequests, especially from alumni."

Supporting Opportunities for Others

The Beneficence Society Luncheon that the Zimmermans attended featured students from BSU at the Games, a journalism immersive learning experience. These students gave a presentation on their experience covering the 2012 London Olympics. Mira was impressed by this unique opportunity, and decided that she would like half of her bequest to support the journalism department and the other half to support immersive learning experiences. "They didn't have immersive learning when I attended, so I just want students to have this kind of opportunity so that they can end up in a great career," Mira says. "If not for Ball State, and learning how to write well and manage things, I wouldn't be where I am today."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Ball State University Foundation 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 Ball State University Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 2800 W. Bethel Avenue, Muncie, IN 47304, 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 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 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 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 foundation where you agree to make a gift to the 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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