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Dynamic Duos of Planned Giving!

Planned giving is one of many ways to support the University of La Verne. These legacy donations provide impact for years—often decades—after the initial gift.

To make a planned gift, donors simply have to include the university in their estate plans, retirement plans, life insurance policies, endowments, or other life planning vehicles. There are multiple options available. These dynamic duos demonstrate a few.

Toni and Oscar Sanchez

Toni and OscarToni and Oscar Sanchez were doing just fine financially. Then, Oscar was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and given less than a year to live.

“I had to ask myself, ‘What’s Toni going to do if I’m gone?’” Oscar said.

A chance meeting led the Sanchezes to a University of La Verne planned giving seminar where they learned about charitable remainder trusts. The trust gave them a sizable tax deduction and lifetime income, and relieved them of the worries of managing multiple apartments during a critical time of medical uncertainty. Instead of having to work their business, it began to work for them, providing a regular income from the proceeds.

Fortunately, Oscar made an amazing recovery, and more than 20 years later, the couple live happily in their beautiful Claremont home and have spent much of the past several years traveling around the world. They had no prior connection to the university, but through their subsequent involvement, they have developed a love for our students and a great respect for the core values that make our institution unique.

Dee Giannamore and Joe Fengler ’89

Dee and Joe

Mother and son duo Dee Giannamore and Joe Fengler ’89 are very connected to the University of La Verne. Joe is a proud alumnus who now sits on the Board of Trustees. For both members of this dynamic duo, higher education was the key to the lives they wanted to lead.

Dee was a single parent who put herself through college while raising her son. Overcoming numerous challenges, she graduated and went on to work in financial management for several Fortune 500 firms. Joe completed his undergraduate degree in political science here, then went on to complete two master’s degrees and work in the federal government for 15 years before settling into his current position as vice president of government relations at Honeywell International.

“With my mother’s experience of going back to school, I always had a deep appreciation for those who had to go back to school for whatever reason to finish their education,” Joe said.

Both wanted to give back to the university in a meaningful way. After giving it much careful thought, they decided to create the Small, Great Things Endowed Scholarship Fund for the Campus Accelerated Program for Adults (CAPA) students. Inspired by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote—“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”—the scholarship specifically addresses challenges often faced by CAPA students, such as balancing education with family, work, and other responsibilities.

Dee and Joe gifted cash and securities to establish the scholarship, allowing funds to begin helping students right away. Dee also made an IRA rollover gift toward the scholarship, which reduced her taxable income while helping her satisfy required minimum distributions for her IRA account. To ensure the scholarship will have a “forever impact,” Dee made another gift toward the scholarship through her living trust.

Thanks to these two superheroes, many CAPA students will receive the help they need to complete their degrees.

Bruce Warner ’62 and Stan Notkin

Bruce and Stan

Bruce Warner ’62 and Stan Notkin have been together for almost 45 years. Married in 2008 when same-sex marriage first became legal in California, they are a true example of a diverse household. Bruce grew up Christian in Southern California while Stan grew up Jewish in New York. Bruce was a teacher while Stan was an aerospace engineer.

Years before they met, Bruce transferred to the University of La Verne to obtain his bachelor’s degree in history and general elementary credential. He went on to enjoy a fulfilling 35-year career in teaching, mostly as a middle school teacher. He credits the university with his success.

“My experience at La Verne changed my life. Being able to leave home, live in a dorm, make new and lifelong friends, and obtain the degree and teaching credentials that I needed for a career that I ultimately loved was astounding,” Bruce said.

When the university was building the Ludwick Center for Spirituality, Cultural Understanding, and Community Engagement, Bruce and Stan were looking for a way to support it. At the time, Bruce was experiencing challenges managing an apartment building his family had owned for decades and was looking for a way to offset a capital gains tax if they sold the property.

With the help of the university’s planned giving office and their own professional advisors, they established a charitable gift annuity with the university, and made a cash gift. This helped them offset capital gains taxes and provided a fixed income while making an impactful gift to the university.

Bruce and Stan used part of the proceeds from the property’s sale to name the Celebration of Diversity Courtyard at the Ludwick Center. This gift is particularly significant because it reflects the couple’s values:

“Being gay, being a couple from differing religious backgrounds, and growing up knowing how important diversity is to our culture, we both were pleased to have that be the name of the place that we were going to help make possible.”