Why raise your hand?

Mike Lamb

Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation  vice president for planned giving

We raise our hands for all kinds of reasons. To celebrate, to swear or affirm an oath, to ask or answer a question. Sometimes we raise our hands to identify ourselves and this is the context on which I want to focus in this article.

   Each year, in the planned giving program of the WSU Foundation, we receive many letters from attorneys, executors or trustees disclosing that an alumnus or friend has included a gift to benefit WSU in his or her estate plans. When these gifts were unknown to us during the lifetime of the donor, they sometimes create a mixed response.


    First, we feel some regret at not being able to thank the donor. Our appreciation can be expressed publicly by honoring the donor with membership in our Society of 1895. Named for the founding year of Fairmount College, the predecessor to Wichita State University, the Society of 1895 recognizes those who have included a gift to benefit WSU in their estate plans. These friends receive a framed certificate presented by President John Bardo at the annual Society of 1895 celebration. Their names also are listed on a plaque in the lobby of Woodman Alumni Center and in the WSU Foundation’s annual report. Our appreciation also can be expressed privately with those friends who have shared their plans with us, but have requested that their gift be considered confidential.

Gift detail

   Second, and perhaps more important, some estate gifts come to us with minimal information regarding how the gift is to be used and we are bound by the details of the will or trust directing the gift to WSU. For example, the will may indicate that the bequest is for creation of a scholarship. While this is effective in moving the asset from the estate to the WSU Foundation, this limited wording may not tell us how the fund should be named, the area of study, whether the scholarship is tied to financial need, has a grade point average requirement or is renewable. These are common criteria used by donors in consultation with WSU Foundation staff to define the profile of scholarship recipients. These fund use guidelines also are developed to guide the use of faculty support or equipment and materials funds created through estate gifts.

Raise your hand

   By “raising your hand” and advising us that you have included a gift to benefit WSU in your estate plans, you allow us to thank you in the way you are most comfortable (publicly or privately) and you ensure that we have important details regarding how you want your gift used.

   For more information or to answer any questions, contact J. Michael Lamb, ’80, EMBA, CFRE, WSU Foundation vice president for planned giving, at (316) 978-3804 or mike.lamb@wichita.edu.

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Wichita State University Foundation

1845 Fairmount St., Wichita, KS 67260-0002
Phone: 316-978-3040 | Fax: 316-978-3277 foundation@wichita.edu

© 2014 Wichita State University Foundation

Wichita State University Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.