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Planned Giving

Endowing Your Passion: Cal Johnson '71

Donor Johnson

Cal Johnson

Endowing Your Passion: Cal Johnson '71

Cal Johnson ‘71 wanted to make a creative gift to Kalamazoo College that would benefit not only the academic experience but also the College's bottom line. He thought about his own passion for music and how he could incorporate his goals into a gift that would support K. As a retired Professor of Music and College Organist at Agnes Scott College, Cal understands how planned gifts can contribute much to the life of an institution. He worked with the Kalamazoo College Office of Development to connect with the music department and create an endowment that would be effective for the future of the music program.

"I was able to aide in the long-term planning for the College, while supporting my passion," he said. He established The Calvert Johnson '71 Endowment for the Maintenance of Keyboard Musical Instruments. Fully funded through his trust, the endowment will support the upkeep of pianos, pipe organs, harpsichords, and fortepianos in buildings across campus. Andrew Koehler, Associate Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College, explains "Keyboard instruments are essential to nearly every activity of the music department -from the resonant sounds of our Steinway in the hands of a distinguished guest artist to a student in a practice room drilling chord progressions for a theory class. Having a means to maintain these indispensable resources is critical to our educational and cultural roles at the College."

Even while a student at K, Cal saw the value in maintaining keyboard instruments; his Senior Individualized Project involved the rebuilding of a pipe organ in Battle Creek, Mich. When Cal first came to Kalamazoo College, he intended to study foreign languages. During his sophomore year, he acted as a mathematics teaching assistant in Honduras for his career service work, and he studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, immersing himself in the Spanish culture and traveling in the area. Throughout his time at K, his passion for music and keyboard instruments remained a part of his life, expressed through his performances in various recitals and concerts, including the Bach Festival. His experiences persuaded him to earn his degree in music and pursue a career in the field. Music allowed him to have a broad focus in research, performance, history, and supported his interests in professorship in a liberal arts environment.


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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.

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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

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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.

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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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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.

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