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KSU Foundation

Couple plans to leave a triple legacy at K-State


Mary and Ross Stryker live in Lebanon, Mo., with their cairn terriers, Ozzie and Munchkin.

For Ross and Mary Stryker, life is about surprises.

"It's just funny how the little twists and turns take you down an unexpected path," Ross says. "The unexpected is what's fun about life."

But when it comes to their legacy, the Lebanon, Mo., couple will leave nothing to chance. Both 1978 K-State alumni, they are planning ahead with gifts in their wills to reinforce their top three priorities on campus. Ultimately, the decision centered around two simple questions.

"What was your life about? Did you impact people?" Ross asks.

"I want to touch people in generations we'll never see," he adds. "I want to choose where my money goes. The neat thing about the KSU Foundation is you can literally designate exactly how you want that money utilized. You have control over it, even after you're gone."

Covering their top three priorities

1. Military family initiatives

The first funding choice was obvious for the Strykers. With a 12-year history in the Army and a current orthodontics practice serving largely military clientele, they felt compelled to fund military family initiatives in the College of Human Ecology.

The Ross and Mary Stryker Military Families Excellence Fund will broadly impact a range of disciplines through the college's nationally recognized Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families. The institute coordinates workshops, clinical programs, research and education to engage and serve military families now and into the future.

"Any time we get affirmation of the work we're doing at the institute, it's fabulous, but more importantly, this gift recognizes the needs of military families," says Briana Nelson Goff, director of the institute and professor of Family Studies and Human Services. "This is a group that really merits these kinds of programs."

As daily firsthand observers of modern military family life, the Strykers couldn't agree more.

"We witness every day in our office the sacrifice these military families make," Ross says. "It's just neat to hear their stories, and unfortunately we've had several tragedies, too. Anything we can do for the military, it's the least we can do."

2. Student athletes

With a second fund designated for K-State Athletics' Academic Learning Services Office, the Strykers will support student athletes, particularly those returning to college to finish degrees.

"We wanted them to be able to look back and know they got everything they needed out of K-State," Ross says.

The gift also allows Ross to honor a deep tradition in his family, where everyone always came together for K-State game day.

"He's got a 94-year-old mother who still watches all the games," Mary says. "I'll be on the phone and she'll remind me when the games are on."

3. Animals


The Strykers' third gift will align with one of their lifelong passions-helping animals. As longtime cairn terrier owners, the couple created a local society to subsidize veterinary care for pets in need and will now fund spay and neuter educational outreach through the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Together the three gifts will make a tremendous impact across campus, and the full extent of that impact may unfold in unexpected ways. But after all, as the Strykers say, therein lies the fun.

Start crafting your legacy
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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the KSU Foundation 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 the KSU Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Manhattan, KS, 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.

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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

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 K-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.

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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 K-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 K-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 K-State where you agree to make a gift to K-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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