A Legacy in Action

LeRoy Cornwell and Family

From left to right Lisa K. Nolan, Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine; Cody Branstad; Patricia Cornwell; LeRoy Cornwell; Tasia Nielsen and Chris Rock.

At least once each year, LeRoy Cornwell, a farmer from Ankeny, Iowa, visits Iowa State University to talk with scholarship recipients, not unlike a typical scholarship donor. Except he wasn't the one who funded the scholarship.

Cornwell took over his family's farm in 1999. At that time, most of his interactions with Iowa State University either related to his two sons who were students, or to Cyclone basketball games.

It was his uncle on his father's side, Dr. Gerald William Cornwell, a 1941 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, who established the G.W. and Peg Cornwell Scholarship.

Dr. Cornwell made outright gifts to the scholarship fund, enjoying the immediate effect of his philanthropy. However, he supplemented the fund with a planned gift in his will, creating a "snowball effect" — increasing the impact and enabling future generations of his family to carry on his legacy at Iowa State. For Cornwell, this means a front row seat to a planned gift in action.

"Sometimes I see recipients' names in the paper or in other university publications for various accomplishments or accolades," said Cornwell. "It's refreshing to see and converse with these students with a positive work ethic — not just for their future but also in their current studies."

Giving and Receiving

Normally Cornwell gets to meet with past and current recipients at the College of Veterinary Medicine's scholarship and awards reception each spring. One year, a scholarship student who studied large-animal medicine took a trip with a few of his peers to visit Cornwell's farm. "It was nice to offer them some additional hands-on experience. The recipients tend to study small-animal medicine, so it was good to mix things up and interact with one of the scholarship recipients beyond the annual reception," said Cornwell.

When it comes down to it, it's the deeper feeling of connection with his uncle's legacy, the recipients, and Iowa State as a whole that keeps Cornwell coming back year after year.

"If anything, it's nice to know these students are very appreciative. They're always telling me how these scholarships help relieve them of worry and enable them to devote more time to their studies," said Cornwell. "But mostly, I find it enjoyable to talk face-to-face with someone at the beginning of their life — it ‘spurs me on' even at 73. It's truly a testimony to what life can be if you apply yourself to your education."

The annual trips to the College of Veterinary Medicine inspire Cornwell time and again. The students he meets represent the effects of his family's legacy that will continue generation after generation — a true testament to how planned giving is not just about one person making a bequest, it can be about a family making their mark at Iowa State and seeing an investment, both financial and personal, increase over time.

“I thought about what meant the most to me – outside of my family – and it was obvious that I would give to Iowa State. So I called the office of gift planning and they helped me plan the best course of action.”

- Margaret "Margi" Donaldson

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Iowa State University 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 give to Iowa State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Ames, Iowa, or its successor thereto, ______________* [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 Iowa State 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 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 Iowa State 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 Iowa State 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 Iowa State where you agree to make a gift to Iowa State 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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