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Leave a Lasting Impact With a Planned Gift

Shannon Wallace

Shannon Wallace, center, was able to start achieving her lifelong dream of having her own classroom thanks to a generous planned gift left by Barbara Guernsey Smith.

After dedicating over 40 years to education as a teacher, Southern Miss alumna Barbara Guernsey Smith’s desire to help students in need led her to leave a legacy at Southern Miss. Her planned gift of $1 million was added to the Dr. James and Barbara Byrd Guernsey Elementary Education Endowment, a scholarship created to support students majoring in elementary education.

“There will never be adequate words to express my appreciation for the generosity bestowed upon me as a beneficiary of this endowment. My life has truly been changed,” said recent scholarship recipient Shannon Wallace.

When Wallace’s journey to pursue a degree began 20 years ago, she never dreamed she would be this close to graduating today. There were countless times she believed a diploma was unattainable, yet, a small voice reminded her of her God-given calling to teach. In July 2012, Wallace re-entered the classroom as a teacher’s assistant, an opportunity that rekindled the fire to have a classroom of her own.

Although her desire to teach was fierce, she questioned how she could possibly go back to college later in life. Where would she find the time or money? As a single mother with four teenage children and no financial backing to support the cost of classes or books, she began to let her worries extinguish her passion once again.

In March 2016, Wallace decided it was now or never. Through the online Teacher Assistant Program at Southern Miss, Wallace was able to keep her job while chasing her lifelong dream.

With financial limitations standing as the last barrier between Wallace and her education, she was surprised and delighted when she was awarded the Dr. James and Barbara Byrd Guernsey Elementary Education Endowment.

“In less than a year, I will finally achieve my lifelong dream,” said Wallace. “That little girl who always asked for the extra workbooks at the end of the school year so she could play school during the summer will have a classroom of her own!”

Wallace is one of 10 students who benefited from the Dr. James and Barbara Byrd Guernsey Elementary Education Endowment in the 2016-2017 academic year alone, demonstrating the ability one person has to impact numerous Southern Miss students in perpetuity.

To learn more about how you can help Southern Miss students achieve their dreams, contact Daniel Barton at 601.266.6428 or daniel.barton@usm.edu.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The University of Southern Mississippi 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 University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Hattiesburg, MS, 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 the USM Foundation 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 the USM Foundation 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 the USM Foundation 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 the USM Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the USM Foundation 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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