Washburn announces $1 million gift, kickoff of legacy giving campaign

     Washburn University announced today that two sets of donors—Greg, bba '88, and Jaena, ba '89, Greenwood, and Bruce and Theresa McPherson—have made a combined $1 million gift to the university to encourage others to put Washburn in their will or estate plans.

     The “I Will for Washburn: Greenwood/McPherson Legacy Challenge” means anybody who makes a new, documented commitment to include Washburn as a beneficiary of their estate will receive $10,000 from the Greenwood/McPherson fund to immediately direct to any area of Washburn. This campaign is the first in Washburn’s history dedicated solely to encouraging people to remember Washburn in their wills or estate plans and will run until the Greenwood/McPherson fund is exhausted.

     “Universities are, quite literally, built on legacy gifts—people who came before us deciding to leave something to their alma mater or local university after they’re gone,” said Jerry Farley, president, Washburn. “We receive gifts of that kind from time to time, and they provide an enormous boost. One hundred new people putting Washburn in their wills would be transformative for the future of this university.”

     Anybody is eligible to participate in “I Will for Washburn” and the $10,000 can be directed to any Washburn fund or entity. Marshall Meek, president, Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation, said the intent is to get more people aware of the importance of estate planning and highlight Washburn University’s exceptional impact on students and the Topeka community as a cause people can support through bequests. He hopes the campaign will help jumpstart the process for people who may be considering updating their estate plans or want to learn more about how they can create a legacy at Washburn.

     “The foundation can answer questions, help walk people through the entire process and offers estate planning resources,” said Meek. “We have people tell us all the time how much easier it was than they thought it would be, and how, once they’ve done it, they feel such a sense of comfort and pride in being able to establish a plan for the future and give back to the things that are important to them.”

     For native Topekan Bruce McPherson, who said Washburn has always been one of the bright spots and engines of growth for the city, part of the fun of the challenge is getting people engaged with the university and realizing all the ways they can support it.

     “I think people will be surprised not only by how easy the foundation makes it if you need advice or help in updating your will to include Washburn, but then all the different areas you can support with the $10,000. Not just the general fund, but any department, any sports team, all kinds of scholarships—I really hope this is a good way to open people’s eyes to all the things Washburn does and how you can help support it.”

     The Greenwoods agree, and say they hope this initiative has a broad range of impact.

     “We hope this is a win-win-win,” said Greg Greenwood. “A win for donors thinking about their estate plans, to help get them over the hurdle of planning what happens with their assets after they’re gone. A win for the university now--$1 million spread around an institution Washburn’s size will have a huge impact on students and campus today. And most of all a win for the future of Washburn. This is something that will be paying off by changing student lives for generations to come.”

     “This is a unique campaign, something we’ve never done before,” added Meek. “I would tell anybody, if you’ve ever thought about updating your will or estate to include Washburn, now is the time. Include Washburn in your estate, receive $10,000 to make an impact today. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

     More information about the campaign can be found at: www.wualumni.org/IWillForWashburn



Sarah Towle

Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation


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