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In This Issue


Out of the mouths of babes

It was a late summer evening in 1992. I went out to turn off the hose — with a spot light guiding my way. A swarm of bugs encircled the light as I returned to the house. As fate would have it, one of these bugs flew straight into my ear. I did my best to dislodge the critter, but to no avail. After stifling a laugh, my wife, Susan, did her best to inspect the situation with a flashlight, but could not see the bug, which was still imbedded and fluttered with each beam of the flashlight. She flooded my ear with water, nearly drowning me, but having no effect on the bug. It was getting late, so we made the decision that with our two daughters sound asleep, Susan would stay home and I would drive myself to the medical center. I was not in much discomfort, but each time I passed a streetlight, the bug would flutter. After arriving at the hospital and enduring a few giggles by the emergency room staff, the doctor was able to remove the offending bug.

At breakfast the next morning, we explained the situation to our youngest daughter, then age 4. With the innocence of a child — and a straight face, Katelyn asked, “Why didn’t the bug fly out the other ear?” While one could chuckle at the implication that there was nothing between my ears, I chose to view her question in the context of alternate solutions.

As a WSU Foundation staff member, I often encounter opportunities to seek alternate solutions when working with WSU alumni and friends. There are many options as one considers charitable support of WSU. Should the support be for students, faculty, equipment or facilities? Should the fund created be a current (expendable) fund or an endowed (permanent) fund? Should the gift be made immediately with cash or securities or funded over multiple years with a pledge? In addition, should the gift be funded through estate planning techniques such as a will, trust, retirement plan or life insurance?

For me, these are “how” questions. I believe more important questions center on “why” a donor is considering a gift to WSU. With reflection on donor motivation, we can start with a clear vision of what the donor hopes to accomplish that would be meaningful to the donor and to WSU. For many of us, our motivation for making a gift to support WSU can be traced back to transformational experiences on campus: A faculty member who helped us learn key career skills, leadership opportunities found in student organizations, friendships made and lives changed.

If you would like to share your WSU story and your vision for supporting the university in the future, particularly with a gift through your estate plans, please contact us. Together, we can discuss alternate solutions to yield a gift that is fulfilling and impactful. Until then, we will “leave the light on for you” — hopefully, without any bugs.

Mike Lamb signature