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Planned Giving

Karin Douglas '84

Karin DouglasKarin Douglas' life could almost read like action-packed novel with all the right elements—adventure, travel, a fascinating career, love and resilience. Douglas' life began in Germany and she came of age during World War II, a tumultuous time period for the world and humankind. "I saw everything," said Douglas ‘84 on a recent late spring evening as she sat in her spacious living room at her Stratford townhouse where she has resided for over forty years. A daughter of an engineer, Douglas would often watch her father tinkering with projects at home and was in awe of his work and technological prowess. Shadowing her father, Douglas gleaned engineering skills in her own right which would underscore her life-long commitment curiosity, scholarship and academic pursuits.

Following her formal education in Germany and Switzerland, Douglas jumped at an opportunity to move to the United States to pursue her career in engineering. She quickly realized that being a woman in the male-dominated field in the 1960s would force her to work harder than her male counterparts, challenge herself, become a wielder of force, and to break barriers. "It was the reality and I knew that I would have to prove myself," said Douglas.

Douglas would go on to marry her now late husband, Robert Douglas, who was also an engineer, and their life was grounded in community and helping others including under-privileged youths.

As Douglas became more settled in her career, she decided heightening her education would be key to her future and in 1980, her hunger for wanting more led her to Sacred Heart University, just miles away from her home. At the urging of her friend and neighbor, the late Evelyn Conley, an attorney and the wife of Sacred Heart's founding president, Dr. William H. Conley, Douglas enrolled in Sacred Heart University's paralegal studies program. "At that time, Sacred Heart was still a fairly young university but the paralegal program was already well-known and very prestigious," said Douglas who attributes her career as a regulatory agency compliance coordinator at ITT Flygt to Sacred Heart's strong legal studies program.

As a non-traditional student, Douglas fell in love with Sacred Heart and its altruistic foundation in serving the greater good and its commitment to feeding not only one's intellect but also the heart.

Earning her degree while working full-time and balancing a life with her husband was no easy task, but Douglas excelled in her studies, she earned honors and graduated Magna Cum Laude. As she looks back on her life and her journey that also included a love for aviation and she became a licensed pilot, Douglas sees her years at Sacred Heart as watershed moments and her education especially learning the notion of serving others were key to her life. Continuing that principle, Douglas decided in order to help the next generation fulfill dreams of education and a career in law, she established a scholarship in honor of her dear friend, Evelyn Conley. Douglas' generosity and hope for the next generation would continue.

1992 was another watershed year for Douglas-she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery and treatment, and another breast cancer surgery in 1998. Her illness and eventual remission spurred Douglas to become an activist and patient advocate by educating others on the effects of Lymphedema-an adverse side effect she developed which typically is caused by the removal or damage to axillary lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment. Douglas would go on to create the Pink Wristband for use in hospitals and a Lymphedema Alert bracelet, distributed as a fundraiser by the National Lymphedema Network (www. They provide a way of alerting healthcare providers not to use an at-risk arm for any invasive testing or blood pressure screening and, thus preventing treatment which could cause Lymphedema or worsen an existing condition.

Her illness and advocacy led Douglas to launch another scholarship, named after a special individual who was influential on Douglas --Sister Margaret Palliser, Ph.D., who once served as Sacred Heart's assistant vice president for Mission and Planning for several years, and who also suffered from Lymphedema. The Dr. Margaret Palliser Endowment for Physical Therapy, like the scholarship named for Conley, both aim to help students with a high academic record with financial assistance and underscore Douglas' commitment to scholarship and to the Sacred Heart community.

"Sister Margaret is a dear friend and an example of courage and grace and I thought it was fitting to create a scholarship in her honor," said Douglas.

What are Douglas' words of wisdom for the next generation of students at Sacred Heart? "Make the right plans and set goals, be consistent and don't let anybody deter you from your pursuits."

Douglas continues her quest to help carry on the legacy of learning at Sacred Heart, and has bequeathed a significant part of her estate through the University's planned giving program. "I don't have children of my own but I want to have an impact on the next generation and to give them opportunities," she said.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Sacred Heart 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

Bequest Language

"I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY [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 SHU 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 SHU 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 SHU 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 SHU where you agree to make a gift to SHU 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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