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Following Their Passion

Longstanding Supporters Focus on What's Dear to Them

Nancy and Jim Watson

Jim and Nancy Watson

For Nancy and Jim Watson, Ball State University became their home away from home. They attended college together at Elon University in North Carolina, moved to Appalachian State University, spent some time in Arkansas while Jim earned his doctorate, then ended up at Ball State together—together like they'd done everything since they got married.

When the Watsons both found jobs at Ball State, it was like a dream come true. Jim worked with the physics department for 31 years while Nancy worked for the Burris Laboratory School teaching middle school science. The university was their welcoming community from the very beginning, and is still home for Nancy 41 years later.

"There's a friendliness here. Faculty, staff, students...everyone is really friendly," said Nancy, admitting she was leery about moving to the Midwest after so many years in the South. "I loved being a faculty member and a faculty wife. I was part of the university, but I got to know all the faculty wives too. It really makes a home."

After so many wonderful years at Ball State, both Nancy and Jim wanted to make sure the programs they were passionate about continued even after they were gone. Jim passed away in 2009, and following his death, Nancy established the James and Nancy Watson Planetarium Science Education Fund. This endowment is designed to continue the growth of the planetarium and physics department that Jim called home for so many years.

And when Nancy retired in 2007, she began the Nancy and James Watson Burris Scholarship, which benefits low-income Burris Laboratory School students who continue their education as Ball State Cardinals. She also made a provision in her will to provide additional funding to her Burris scholarship and Planetarium science education funds at Ball State, as well as a scholarship fund she established at Elon University. The Watsons' love of teaching and helping students will continue for generations.

"If you're going to make a planned gift, give while you're still capable of enjoying the fruits of that gift. Watch it materialize," said Nancy, who is a proud member of the foundation's Carillon, Fellows, and Beneficence societies. "I started making gifts early so I could watch the impact materialize in front of me, and now I've been able to make sure my gift will continue to impact the university the way I intended."

And if you're considering a gift but don't know where to start, Nancy has some advice for that too.

"I once asked a friend how I should begin the process of deciding where to leave my money, and his advice to me is perfect," she explained. "You want to put your money at the intersection of where your greatest impact meets your greatest passion."

Make a Greater Impact

Follow your passion with a gift to the Ball State University Foundation. Contact D. Mark Helmus at 765-285-8312 or for details.

eBrochure Request Form

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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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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