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An Extraordinary Life and Gift


Richard Leroy Walters

Sitting outside a senior center in Phoenix, Ariz., wearing his signature baseball cap and backpack, a clean-cut homeless man would surprise many with an extraordinary gift and a reminder that you can't judge a book by its cover.

Rita Belle, a registered nurse who met Richard Leroy Walters at the senior center, became one of the few people to befriend this homeless man before he died. She tried to help him get off the streets, assisting with doctors' appointments, grocery shopping, and even finding him a place to live. But Richard didn't seem to care much for material possessions, and the only hints of the legacy he'd leave behind came from his mysterious phone calls discussing finances and income taxes. "I'm sure that's when he was making his trades and so on," Rita said in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR). "He was involved in investing; we talked investments a lot."

An Unexpected Surprise

In 2007, Ball State University, NPR, the senior center, a Catholic mission, and several other nonprofits that were important to Richard received unexpected, substantial gifts from his estate, which was worth about $4 million.

Richard graduated from Ball State in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics. He was a member of the National Math and Science Society Sigma Zeta while attending Ball State. He earned his master's degree in engineering from Purdue University, and served during the Korean War in the United States Marine Corps.

Upon retirement as a jet propulsion engineer at AlliedSignal Inc., Richard moved to Phoenix and survived off of services provided by a Catholic mission and a local hospital. He retained few material possessions, despite his large estate, not even owning a car. He had no spouse or children.

Richard's unconventional path led him to become a great philanthropist who generously supported organizations that touched his life. Loyal to his alma mater, he made a gift of approximately $400,000 to the Ball State Fund, which provides unrestricted support for the university's priority projects. His gift is a reflection of his values and commitment, providing a lasting legacy for future generations of Ball State students.

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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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