For almost a year, longtime supporter of the University of Tennessee Jim Powell worked on a secret project that would honor Sandy, his bride of almost 55 years.
He finally told her what he had been up to: He made a $1 million gift commitment to establish the School of Music Excellence Endowment as a tribute to his wife. In recognition of his gift, the School of Music and the University of Tennessee recommended naming the state-of-the-art, 400-seat performance venue in the new Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall. The recital hall will be the "jewel" of the Haslam Music Center, scheduled for completion in 2013.
Jim then went a step further. Because the interest income generated from the new Music Excellence Endowment would take about a year to build, he made an additional commitment of $50,000 so the School of Music could use funds—right away—to recognize outstanding faculty members. James Fellenbaum, associate professor and director of the UT Symphony Orchestra, and Andrew Skoog, associate professor of voice, became the first recipients of the Sandra G. Powell Excellence Professorships.
Even with these commitments, Jim still had more to do for the School of Music. The Powells are leading the School of Music's Steinway Initiative, a $3.5 million project to become designated as an All-Steinway School. It is a mark of excellence that is known internationally.
To gain the distinction, 90 percent of the pianos at the UT School of Music must be Steinways. This means the school needs to purchase 61 Steinway pianos to either replace or add to its existing inventory, says Cathy Dodge, senior director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Powells have committed $1 million toward the effort.
Being an All-Steinway School "is a big boost and it attracts the better students," Sandy says. "I look forward to seeing the quality of the students that come here."
Last month, to thank the Powells for their longstanding support of the university, UT officials planted a "wolf eyes" Chinese dogwood at UT Gardens. The Powells are the first university donors to be commemorated with a tree planting there. Only two others—retired plant science professors—have been recognized in the same way, according to James Newburn, the assistant director of UT Gardens.
Jim, who founded Johnson City—based Powell Companies, which deals in construction, says he wants students to have the same opportunity he did.
In 1955 he enrolled at UT as a freshman, thanks to a $200 scholarship.
"No matter what I do, I'll never be able to pay that $200 off," he says.
Sandy didn't attend college—a priceless opportunity that is at the heart of "why we absolutely love giving students a chance to go to college."
Students who have been beneficiaries of the Powells' generosity often ask them what they can do in return.
"We have always responded, 'Sometime down the road when you're able, help one other person,' "Sandy says. "Keep the gift of giving going."
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.
A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The University Of Tennessee 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 The University Of Tennessee [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 UT 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 UT 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 UT 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 UT where you agree to make a gift to UT 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.