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Donor Profile - Lois E. Elliott

Aug. 25, 1915 - Dec. 21, 2005

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Lois. Her delightful personality, wit and charm were captivating. The Elliotts' generosity has made a lasting impact on the students of Eastern Illinois University. Photo of Lois Elliott

The late Dr. Charles and Lois Elliott always knew that they wanted to leave a legacy to EIU in their estate plan to honor the many years Dr. Elliott taught in EIU's School of Technology (1945-1973). A scholarship endowment was created and was awarded right away when he retired. "We knew we wanted to create the scholarship and did while we could enjoy meeting the recipients," Lois shared. "'Hoop' really enjoyed getting to know the recipients." When Dr. Elliott passed away in 1988, Lois wanted to make an additional gift to the scholarship that meant so much to her beloved, "Hoop." She contacted the philanthropy staff who presented her with the idea of a Charitable Gift Annuity. After consulting with her attorney, Mrs. Elliott created her first of several CGAs benefiting scholarships in the School of Technology.

A charitable gift annuity (CGA) allows a donor to make a gift to a charitable organization, like EIU, and receive a fixed rate of return for that gift for the rest of the donor's life. CGA's usually pay a higher interest rate to the donor than what he or she could get from another secured investment like a savings account. It also relieves the donor from worrying about market fluctuations. A CGA is a good charitable giving vehicle for those who want to leave a legacy and need the income during their retirement but do not necessarily want to keep the asset. The rate of return on the gift depends upon the donor's age, the value of the gift at the time it is given, and other donor information. There are also several tax advantages that can benefit the donor with this type of giving arrangement.

The thought of managing investments was daunting to Mrs. Elliott, and she admitted that her retirement income has been better than she anticipated since creating her first CGA. Many of her friends had to adjust their lifestyles based upon the fluctuation of the stock market, but Mrs. Elliott continued to enjoy traveling and other activities until she neared the end of her life that she might not otherwise have been able to enjoy with the worry of her investments. Mrs. Elliott really liked the fact that the CGA guaranteed a fixed interest rate for the rest of her life.

Mrs. Elliott planned to make a gift through her estate plan anyway. By giving it early, she increased her income, which allowed her a living expense while Eastern still received the money she wanted to give.

Lois once said, "The best thing about giving is knowing the difference 'Hoop' and I have made in the lives of the students who benefit from the scholarships. We've gotten to meet many of them and have stayed in touch over the years. It is very satisfying to know that we've helped a student obtain their education . . . some have even gone on to complete doctorate degrees!"