Make Alpha Chi Omega a Part of Your Legacy

Written by Marsha Grady, Chief Development Officer

Ernestine Fischer LambertusOne of my favorite examples of sisters leaving a legacy is the story of Ernestine "Mimi" Fischer Lambertus, who was a 1986 alumna initiate of Gamma Omicron chapter at Marshall University. Mimi was initiated at a time when her daughter-in-law Kay Coach Lambertus (Gamma Omicron, '56) was helping as an advisor for Gamma Omicron. But Mimi's journey with Alpha Chi Omega had begun many years before, when she pledged Alpha Beta Chapter at Purdue University in 1931.

Like many college students whose families were facing the financial strains of the Depression, Mimi left school before her initiation and never graduated. She later married her Sigma Chi sweetheart and built a full life in the Indianapolis area. Through the years, she stayed in touch with her Alpha Beta pledge sisters and made friends with many Alpha Chi Omegas in the Indianapolis area. After her initiation in 1986, she became involved with the Indianapolis alumnae chapter.

I first met Mimi after she moved to Des Moines, Iowa, in the early 2000s. Her husband had died and most of her family had scattered, so she came to Des Moines to be near her granddaughter who was my age. In addition to serving on National Council during those years, I was a trustee for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. Throughout that period of time, Mimi was a regular donor to the Foundation and was on my "stewardship list" so I corresponded with her regularly, and finally met her in person in 2012. By then, she was a surprisingly active and alert 100-year-old who still drove herself to the "old folks home" twice a week to work in the gift shop.

I loved getting to know Mimi—hearing her stories about life in the Depression and her short time at Purdue, her devotion to her husband who helped her fulfill her dreams of traveling the world and about her family. But, mostly, I loved hearing how Alpha Chi Omega made such an impact on her that she sought out the opportunity to be initiated over fifty years after she first pledged.

Near the end of the For Now, Forever campaign, Mimi asked me about how she could establish an endowed scholarship fund, which she did with an estate gift of $50,000. Mimi, who had outlived many of her family members and friends, wanted someone to remember how much she loved Alpha Chi Omega. And she wanted to be sure other young women like her, who were facing financial difficulties during their college years, had a little help staying in school and achieving their educational dreams.

Like Mimi, you too can make a difference in the quality of the Alpha Chi Omega experience for generations of women in the future through a legacy gift to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. Over the years, the Foundation has received numerous estate gifts from Alpha Chi Omega sisters like Ernestine Lambertus. These gifts have come in various forms and amounts, but all share the goal of ensuring Alpha Chi Omega's future. As Mimi's example shows, all gifts are helpful in funding the future educational and philanthropic missions of Alpha Chi.

Your decision to include the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation in your estate plan will have a lasting impact on our ability to make that happen by establishing a named endowed fund to provide scholarships, member assistance grants or educational programming—or to help endow the ongoing operations of the Foundation so that we can continue to support the educational and philanthropic work of Alpha Chi Omega.

To learn more about how you can make a difference for future sisters and have a lasting impact at Alpha Chi Omega, contact Elizabeth Donaldson at 317.579.5050 ext. 262 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Alpha Chi Omega 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 Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 5939 Castle Creek Parkway North Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46250, 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 Alpha Chi Omega 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 Alpha Chi Omega 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 Alpha Chi Omega 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 Alpha Chi Omega Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Alpha Chi Omega 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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