Skip to Content

Planned Giving

New Worlds

Elsa Lane Nelson

Elsa Lane Nelson ’65

Kalamazoo College's new senior associate director of planned giving, Matthew Brosco, spoke with alumna Elsa Lane Nelson '65 about her planned gift.

Before she started Kalamazoo College, Elsa Lane Nelson '65 grew up in the Milwood neighborhood of Kalamazoo and the nearby small town of Galesburg. K was just the right size to not get lost, and it was the perfect gateway to entire new worlds to explore.

Elsa loved K for both those attributes. After graduating, she pursued an advanced degree at Indiana University (Bloomington). She always wanted to move out west, and after living in Indiana and Wisconsin for a brief time, she moved to California. I recently caught up with Elsa at her home in Sonoma.

Q: How did you end up attending K?
A: While in high school, which was small, I decided a liberal arts college would be better for me than a large state university. I was afraid that I would be lost on a big campus. I visited several schools, and K was the last one. I was sold. The College became my first choice. I was happy with that choice when I was accepted, and still felt good about it when I graduated.

Q: What were your most formative Kalamazoo College experiences?
A: K stretched my mind and my worldview. I was shy, and didn't mix much with my professors other than with those in the history department. Even so, many of those professors outside my major affected me profoundly. The level of my English and literature classes was such that I had to work hard, but over time, I learned to think more critically. I became a better writer. In political science and sociology, both of which I enjoyed, I was introduced to worlds that I didn't know anything about.

I loved the opportunity to go to London to do the research for my senior thesis. I was a residence hall counselor for two years. That opportunity to work with girls from a wide variety of places and backgrounds was the foundation for my work in human resources. So, too, was my work with the Associated Women Students organization. Leadership and self-discipline, critical thinking and working with others were skills I began to learn at K. K also gave me confidence that my potential to develop proficiency in these skills was very strong. Developing self-knowledge was such an important part of my college experience.

Q: Why did you choose to include K in your estate plans?
A: Several years ago, my husband and I decided we needed to start making our estate plans. We felt strongly about supporting causes that are important to us. I received a top-notch education at K, along with a life-changing study abroad experience. I have a personal property trust, and in my will I have named the College as one of the beneficiaries. It was easy. I hope my gift will provide opportunities for others to have similar experiences.

Q: Why did you decide to leave an unrestricted gift?
A: I've been involved in nonprofits enough to know the value of unrestricted gifts to charitable organizations. The College's needs are not always known when you make an estate gift. I believe the College will be in the best position to determine its greatest needs when it receives my gift. If I did not trust the College to manage my estate gift, I would not have provided it in the first place.

Make Your Gift Today
Contact Matthew Brosco, Esq. at 269-337-7288 or mbrosco@kzoo.edu any time to discuss which options can best meet your financial goals.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Kalamazoo College a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Kalamazoo College [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to K or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to K as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to K as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and K where you agree to make a gift to K and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.