Planned gifts support university’s future

Treasures, spaces within J.D. Williams Library are testaments to benefits of private giving

she-may-never-know-youPlanned giving has transformative power at the University of Mississippi, having provided more than $100 million to date in support of Ole Miss programs, facilities, scholarships and more.

With strategic financial planning, alumni and friends can create an impact with their gifts by including the university in their will or living trust, or by naming the university as a beneficiary of their life insurance policies. These methods can be modified, allowing donors to plan their legacy at Ole Miss while also ensuring financial security for loved ones.

The J.D. Williams Library is but one example of an Oxford campus facility that has benefitted from planned giving – to the tune of $3.4 million. Included in that total is the library’s Ainsworth Commons, which was made possible by a $1 million gift from the estate of Oscar Richard and Edith Wetzel Ainsworth, the largest donation the library has received.

Oscar Richard Ainsworth, a UM graduate, and his wife were longtime faculty members at the University of Alabama. Their estate gift ensures that their passion for education will continue by providing students with learning opportunities for years to come.

“These planned gifts provide a margin of excellence, with the majority of those funds creating permanent endowments,” said Sandra Guest, vice president of the UM Foundation. “Ongoing gifts are received from longtime faculty and library staff members, as well as alumni and friends, who have provided thoughtful support for years.

“Through a planned gift to the university, donors leave a legacy that perpetuates their belief in all that Ole Miss offers to students and society at large.”

The late Charles Noyes, professor emeritus of English, also left his legacy within the library. Believing “a library is the absolute heart of the university,” Noyes helped raise money through the Friends of the Library organization while personally giving more than $266,000 to strengthen the university’s libraries, in addition to a planned estate gift of $128,000.

Planned giving allows donors such as Noyes and the Ainsworths to help transform the lives of students for generations to come.

“University Libraries and the UM Foundation are extremely grateful for all donors with a planned gift intent,” said Angela Barlow Brown, director of development for the library. “These gifts, which support the future of our students and the heart of our beloved university – the J.D. Williams Library – are the legacy of the individual donors.”

Planned giving provides more than institutional support. It can also fund precious, personal collections, which are of great educational value to the university, especially the library.

library_2016The importance of planned giving for Special Collections cannot be overstated,” said Jennifer Ford, head of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. “In many cases, this advance notice gives both the donor and Special Collections a chance to discuss projects and collection needs in detail so that the wishes of the donor are well documented.

“This type of planning helps our department in so many ways, as we rely so much on the generosity of our donors.”

Many gifts arrive at Ole Miss unannounced. While these gifts are greatly appreciated, planning a gift through the UM Foundation enables the university to properly thank the donors and ensure that their intentions for the gift are clearly understood.

While gifts remain confidential, donors who plan their donations in advance are eligible to become members of the 1848 Society, an organization that recognizes the generosity of alumni and friends.