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Autumn 2004 | Volume 27, Number 4 | Campaign

In Trust for the Future

Gifts to The Campaign Benefit Both Students and Donors

For Seattle Pacific University freshman Melissa Miles, it seems like yesterday that she played her first song on the piano. “I was 4 years old,” says the music education major. “I remember playing ‘Hot Crossed Buns.’” Today, Miles’ repertoire has grown significantly and includes Bach, Beethoven, and even her own award-winning compositions.
Music education major Melissa Miles plays for William and Sally Hepler on the baby grand piano they donated to SPU. Valuable musical instruments are just one of the creative gifts received from donors during The Campaign.

It’s no wonder, then, that she auditioned for a music scholarship at Seattle Pacific. “I was really serious about applying for as many scholarships as possible,” says Miles, who received a piano scholarship as well as academic scholarships from SPU.

“I liked SPU’s Christian values, and I wanted to be a student here,” she continues. “But scholarships are the key for most students, making it possible for them to attend.”

That’s why gifts to The Campaign for Seattle Pacific University are so important. Take William and Sally Hepler for example. Bill, a retired electrical engineer for the U.S. government, and Sally, a retired elementary school teacher, selected Seattle Pacific to establish a charitable remainder trust for the creation of student scholarships.

The couple was impressed by the University’s commitment to quality Christian higher education and to careful management of resources. “We wanted the trust to be handled in a wise way,” says Bill, “so we turned to SPU.”

Throughout their marriage, the Heplers acquired real estate holdings that appreciated significantly under their stewardship. When they sold those properties, their attorney suggested that Seattle Pacific could manage their assets in a trust so the couple would not only support Christian higher education and derive tax advantages for their donation, but also receive regular income from the interest for the rest of their lives. Today, those established trusts are worth in excess of $750,000 and will eventually provide scholarships for dozens of SPU students every year.

But the Heplers didn’t stop there. Recently, they decided to increase their contributions even more by donating valuable personal assets they no longer needed. Those assets included a 2003 Winnebago RV, a 1985 pickup truck with only 60,000 miles on the odometer, a lawn tractor, an antique sword collection, and a Baldwin baby grand piano in top condition.

“These gifts represent the kind of creative thinking so important to helping SPU achieve its Campaign goal,” says Vice President for University Advancement Bob McIntosh. “Many trusts and endowments have been funded in similar ways, with a wide variety of assets.”

Examples of creative gifts include personal residences, farms, vacation homes, and rental properties (commercial or residential), as well as personal property items such as equipment, machinery, airplanes, boats, artwork, rare coins, books, and manuscripts. Donors of these types of gifts often receive significant tax benefits, such as an immediate charitable deduction and the avoidance of tax on any long-term capital gain.

Though the majority of the Heplers’ donated items will be sold to fund scholarships, their piano now graces the lounge in Moyer Residence Hall. Moyer is also home to Melissa Miles. “It’s really nice having such a wonderful piano right downstairs,” she says.

Sally Hepler couldn’t be more pleased. “We’re so glad the piano is in a place that will be used by students,” the donor explains. “Bill played the piano when he was younger, and he is happy to see it put to such good use.”

“There are quite a few pianists in Moyer,” says Miles, who has already entertained her fellow hallmates by playing her own rendition of “The Lord of the Rings” movie soundtrack.

Last month, the Heplers joined Miles for a private concert. Far from “Hot Crossed Buns,” Miles played among others “Ballet of the Raindrops,” a song she wrote last year. “She was just wonderful,” says Sally Hepler, who, along with her husband, took the opportunity to tour the Seattle Pacific campus.

“I’m very thankful to them,” says Miles. Chances are good that SPU students for years to come will be saying the same thing.

For information about establishing a charitable remainder trust, or making gifts-in-kind, contact Sheila Williams at 206/281-2063.


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From the President
In 2000, Seattle Pacific intensified its commitment to racial reconciliation. Is it possible, asks Philip Eaton, for SPU to discover ways to tear down walls that divide?

Zorn to Largent
Sarah Zorn and Kramer Largent have teamed up as Falcons, showing the same competitive spirit as their famous NFL fathers. [Campus]

A Fabulous Time to Be Alive
Astronomy is revealing never-before-seen wonders. “We are in the process of discovering a God far greater than we’ve ever imagined,” says Professor Emeritus Karl Krienke. [Faculty]

Putting a Face on Homelessness
Two young alums are at Seattle’s Bread of Life Mission, helping to restore lives — by replacing hopelessness with hope. [Alumni]

Life Stories
A filmmaker talks about his visits with SPU students and his project to share the internment stories of Japanese Americans during World War II. [Books & Film]

Mutual Inspiration
Falcon men’s and women’s soccer teams cheered each other on to success in 2004, as both teams continued the University’s tradition of being a national force in soccer. [Athletics]

My Response
For Sharon Hartnett, assistant professor of education, diversity reflects a piece of heaven on earth. “After all, heaven is a multicultural place,” she says.