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A Passion for Teaching and Giving

Couple Makes a Donation to Help Future Generations


John and Beverly Johnson created a charitable gift annuity to help future generations in the field of education.

By Christina Franks, social media intern

Maya Angelou once said, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." Ball State alums John and Beverly Johnson have been teaching and giving together for 56 years.

In 1956, John Johnson saw Beverly Hoover, who was working on her master's in education, talking to a couple friends of his outside of Ball State's administration building.

"She was down there talking to a fraternity brother of mine, who was engaged, and a friend of mine who was married, so I knew they weren't interested," John says. "It took me about a minute after she had left to go down and find out her name. I called her for a Coke date, and we went to the Student Union building that evening. I never dated anyone else after that."

Ball State Beginnings
When he originally enrolled at Ball State, John's intentions were to become a sportscaster, so he spent his time working for WLBC and WLBC-TV as a play-by-play announcer. However, after taking a phonetics course to help him properly pronounce various athletes' names, John was encouraged to consider a future in education and speech therapy.

John and Beverly Johnson have 76 years of teaching experience between the two of them. After their wedding in 1958, they moved to Mishawaka, Indiana, where Beverly helped pilot the elementary guidance program for the state of Indiana and went from teacher to elementary counselor to elementary principal. John traveled to South Bend to work, where he taught middle school math, coached, and continued sports announcing part-time for the University of Notre Dame.

In 1978, the couple moved to Gainesville, Florida. John began experimenting with different ways to help children who suffered from stuttering. He found inspiration from his hobby as a ventriloquist, and began teaching that skill to first-, second-, and third-graders, while also teaching in the elementary gifted and talented program and high school drama in Florida.

Beverly's teaching style gained the attention of other teachers and officials across the state of Florida. John recalls that teachers from surrounding counties would come to watch her teach, and Florida's first lady even visited her classroom. She later was given the Master Teacher Award from the state of Florida, an honor that only 3 percent of the population receives.

"I know I'm prejudiced, of course," John says. "But she was, by far, the best teacher I ever saw."

Helping Future Generations
John and Beverly are now retired and living in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Having no children of their own, they wanted to invest their money in a way that would help future generations in the field of education. Through a charitable gift annuity, they decided to give a generous and unrestricted endowment to Ball State's Teachers College to impact the lives and experiences of its future teachers.

"We love Ball State! We thought Ball State did a lot for us while we were there preparing us for our teaching career," John says. "We thought it would probably do the most good there. With the gift annuity, it was a pretty good investment for us, too."

John Jacobson, dean of Teachers College, says the Johnsons' generous gift could be used to support the work of students and faculty, or to help fund future research and the creation of innovative practices in the field of education.

Because of their generous gift, a large meeting room has been named in honor of the couple. The John S. and Beverly L. (Hoover) Johnson Executive Seminar Room is a space for collaborations, celebrations, and continued learning.

"They were great educators," Dean Jacobson says, "and we do great things in this room."

Discover a Gift That Gives Back
See how a personalized illustration of a gift annuity can provide you with fixed payments and many tax benefits. For more information, simply contact D. Mark Helmus at 765-285-8312 or

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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.

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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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