The Simple Equation of Giving

Cara Heiden

Cara Heiden was named multiple times as one of U.S. Banker magazine's "25 Most Powerful Women in Banking."

Cara Heiden excelled at math as a young student growing up in Denison, Iowa, but her choice to study accounting at Iowa State University was not a calculated move.

Heiden left her hometown after high school to earn a degree in math education at a teacher's college in Nebraska. During her freshman year, her father became seriously ill. She wanted to transfer to a college closer to home and started researching Iowa schools when a good friend suggested Heiden change her major to accounting.

"So, I changed it all up. I pursued accounting and finance courses at Iowa State and was able to get home frequently for my dad and family," she explained.

It was a pivotal decision for Heiden, who found she enjoyed her new classes.

Heiden was solely focused on becoming a certified public accountant and working at one of the "Big 8" accounting firms, when a professor called her out of class one day. Don Brown, who taught accounting, wanted her to interview with a representative from a large corporation visiting campus. "Brown wanted to make certain I understood all the career path options he thought were available to me," she said. Brown, along with other professors, encouraged Heiden to realize her career and leadership potential.

She graduated with honors in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Administration from the College of Sciences and Humanities. Heiden started out as a certified public accountant at Ernst & Young, where she was one of only four women and the first woman to travel out of town for client engagements.

After three years at Ernst & Young, she joined Norwest Bank Iowa, now Wells Fargo Bank Iowa, in 1981. She worked her way up to become the bank's chief financial officer. In 1992, Heiden had the opportunity to become the chief financial officer for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Throughout the years, she subsequently assumed various operating leadership roles and became its co-president in 2004. Heiden was named multiple times as one of U.S. Banker magazine's "25 Most Powerful Women in Banking." She retired from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in 2011.

"I am extremely thankful to my professors and how they motivated my intellectual curiosity and my confidence that I could reach high goals," Heiden said.

She wants to similarly encourage today's young women to envision a full range of possibilities for their future. This past summer, she joined Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds as a featured speaker at the first Young Women in Business Leadership Camp held at Iowa State.

Cara Heiden

Cara Heiden was named multiple times as one of U.S. Banker magazine's "25 Most Powerful Women in Banking."

Recently, she established the Heiden Fund for Women in Business to support the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business's initiatives to increase the number of women on its faculty and the number of young women pursuing a degree in business.

Heiden has provided additional financial support to the university over the years through current giving and a bequest. "From the very beginning, my financial support has been directed to faculty development — attracting, retaining and developing the highest quality of faculty," Heiden said. "This is because I hope all students can experience effective relationships with professors, like I had, helping them achieve student and career success."

For Heiden, philanthropy and supporting Iowa State is a simple equation: "Find the cause or need you're most passionate about, get involved in helping solve it, financially support it and, along the way, experience the rewarding feeling."

Inspire Future Leaders

Whether you've reached the top of your field or are still aiming to get there, you can make a difference in the lives of Iowa State students — in the Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business and across campus. Visit isugift.org to learn more.

“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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