New deferred giving program leverages power of gifts

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The University of Tulsa has established a new deferred giving program that allows donors to greatly leverage their giving today into a much larger gift in the future.

The Pioneer Program is available to all donors under the age of 50 who wish to establish a life insurance policy benefitting TU. The primary advantage of giving through life insurance is the opportunity to make a substantial and lasting gift for a modest, upfront investment. Policies established through the Pioneer Program can be paid in a lump sum or spread over time, typically five to 10 years, depending on the donor’s wishes. All payments made toward Pioneer Program policies are fully tax deductible by the donors.

Most Pioneer Program donors choose to designate the proceeds of their life insurance to establish a named endowment at TU. These named endowments – which can be established in the name of the donor or anyone the donor wishes to honor – may be designated for scholarships or any other university program of interest to the donor. An endowment fund is one that provides financial support for perpetuity because only a portion of the fund’s earnings are spent each year for the designated purpose.

Named endowments at TU require a minimum contribution of $25,000, which typically provides $1,500 in annual earnings to support a donor’s designated purpose. While a gift that size might be out of reach of many young alumni, the Pioneer Program makes it possible for a donor to create a $25,000 endowment at a greatly reduced rate. For example, an individual between the ages of 21 and 25 could establish a $25,000 policy for as little as $288 per year (or $24 per month) if paid over 10 years.

Layne Fisher (BS ’07, MBA ’09) established a planned gift for merit-based scholarships, with preference given to graduates from Skiatook (Okla.) High School.

“As a young alumnus just starting my career, I was drawn to the power of the Pioneer Program because it really leverages my small gift today into a gift that will make a meaningful contribution for the students in generations to come,” he said.

Another young alumnus, Sam Steffy (BS ’07), established an endowed scholarship for business majors, which will be named in memory of his former boss, Cynthia J. Sharp.

“When I learned about the Pioneer Program, I immediately thought that this would be a great way to establish a scholarship as a tribute to my former boss, who was a major influence in my life,” he said.

For more information on the Pioneer Program, please contact Amy Berry at (918) 631-3111 or

Amy Berry