U of I professor tells us why he supports WILL with an ongoing monthly gift.
Patrick Keenan listens to NPR’s Morning Edition on a small transistor radio every morning when he’s getting ready for work. At night, when he’s doing the dishes after his kids are in bed, he listens to podcasts of Fresh Air on his smart phone. And he always listens to the Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle.
He said he recently became a sustaining member of Illinois Public Media to make sure he was doing his part to support the public radio news reporting that he counts on every day.
“As I read the newspaper, I can see that it is literally shrinking,” he said. “There’s no really good news on television. NPR is the most important thing to me for staying informed, and we have a local gem in WILL,” said Keenan, a University of Illinois law professor who moved to Champaign-Urbana in 2001.
Being a sustaining member by giving an ongoing monthly gift makes his support “idiot-proof,” he says. “Before, I would call in during the pledge drive if I remembered. This is the first time I’ve been a sustainer. This way, I don’t forget to make a gift. My support continues until I decide to stop.”
Although he listens to NPR reports a number of different ways—radio, Web streaming, podcasts—he realizes that by supporting WILL, he is also supporting NPR because member dollars help pay WILL’s NPR dues that enable NPR to create programming.
Keenan said NPR does two things that make it not just important, but essential to him. First, it helps him keep up with what’s happening in the world and around the country, things that he might not be exposed to without their reports. Second, NPR has gotten much better at covering breaking news in the last five years.
He listens to Illinois Public Media’s regional news reports, and also enjoys the agricultural reporting. “I grew up on a farm, and WILL’s agricultural news is the best in the country. I am just personally interested. It’s done in a way that’s informative and accessible,” he said.
Host Dianne Noland will lead a group of friends of WILL.
Howard Rutan traveled the world, and returned to his central Illinois homeplace. He included a charitable gift annuity for WILL in his estate plan.
Howard Rutan traveled the world, working for the Department of Defense in Europe where he taught math to the children of U.S. military families. But when he retired in 1978, he moved back to the family farm in rural Fithian. He had grown up attending the one-room Biddle School there, and earned two degrees in teaching math from the University of Illinois.
After returning to the house where he was born, he became an enthusiastic fan of PBS programming, including Mystery!, Masterpiece Theatre, and science and public affairs programming.
“I believe that Channel 12 (WILL-TV) has affected more lives through its highly acclaimed programs than can be imagined,” he said in a 1990 Patterns testimonial.
Rutan, who died at age 88 on May 7, included a generous charitable gift annuity for WILL in his estate plan. The gift will be used to help fund television programming at the station. He had wanted to make sure that the programs he loved continued to be available to the public for years to come. “I am not going to need my estate when I am gone, and it makes me feel good to know that WILL will take care of it,” he said after he made the gift.
Rutan lived in Munich, Frankfort, Casablanca, Ankara and London, coming home each summer to the family farm, telling stories of his adventures. “It was a source of great pride for Mom and Dad to review the annual showing of snapshots of my travels in Europe, Asia and Africa,” he said.
Rutan was content after he moved back to the farm, said Bill Satterwhite, board member of the Danville Public Library, where Rutan regularly checked out reading material, particularly mysteries. He lived with a succession of yellow Labrador Retrievers—Nicky, Sandy and Buddy—and loved to show off the giant oak tree certified with a plaque from the National Arboretum Society to have been growing when the Declaration of Independence was signed. “It must be 10 to 12 feet in diameter. It probably stands 100 feet high,” Satterwhite said.
Rutan also took up counted cross-stitch and quilting, and left more than 150 pieces to the Danville Library, which will rotate them in display. ‘He would order patterns through the mail and then modify the patterns. He used his math background and created special tools to help,” said Satterwhite.
In addition, he was a good bridge player, playing once or twice a week with groups in Champaign-Urbana. “His math education helped him there, too,” Satterwhite said. “I think he often won the money.”
For more information on how you can remember WILL in your estate plans, contact Illinois Public Media Development Director Danda Beard at 217-333-7300 or email@example.com.
Michael Purnell likes how-to shows on WILL-TV, while his wife Hilary Frost-Kumpf appreciates WILL information she can pass on to her global studies students.
Michael Purnell of Springfield has learned car care and repair from MotorWeek, home repair from This Old House and Ask This Old House, and woodworking from New Yankee Workshop.
“I enjoy planning and completing projects and being self-sufficient. Watching WILL-TV helps me with both,” he said. “The how-to programs, as well as the news, documentary and science programs, are among the many benefits WILL-TV provides to me and to the community.”
It’s one of the reasons he and his wife, Hilary Frost-Kumpf, choose to be donors to WILL. While Michael, a retired state environment and energy programs manager, relishes the how-to information he gets, Hilary says she’s appreciative of information on WILL-TV that she can pass on to her global studies students at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
“BBC News, Need to Know, Frontline and Global Voices keep me abreast of the latest issues, which I then share with my students. NOVA, Nature, American Experience and so many others are also valuable to Michael and me,” she said.
Hilary said she regularly requires students in her classes to use readings and videos from PBS. “Frontline and Frontline/World have been particularly rich sources. Their website not only provides links to videos, but also extensive background readings on the topics. Many of my students use that site for their research papers,” she said.
“Because we so frequently use what we learn from watching WILL-TV, both personally and professionally, we think it’s important to support the station financially so that it can continue to inform us and other viewers as well,” Hilary said.
Karen Hawthorne loved home and farm, theater and music, and the U of I and WILL.
Karen Hawthorne, who died of pancreatic cancer last June, lived almost all her life in the house near Farmer City where she grew up. “She liked being out in the open on the family farm and having all the old things around her that she loved,” said her friend Kitty Grubb.
Karen amazed her friends with her many gardening and cooking skills. “We kept calling her Martha Stewart because she loved playing around in the kitchen, and doing things like making her own marshmallows,” Kitty said. Her brandied apricots were famous. “You had to be careful—they were really potent,” Kitty said.
But Karen’s broad interests went beyond home and farm. She loved live theater and music. “We always joked that we’d rather see a bad play than a good movie. We liked live theater,” said another friend, Larry Buss. She loved to take in shows at the Krannert Center and the Station Theatre, and she played piano and organ both as a volunteer and professional musician.
She also enjoyed public television and radio programs, and when she died, she left a generous estate gift to WILL. “She loved the University of Illinois and the arts, and she thought WILL would be a good recipient,” Larry said.
Karen was known for being frank and telling it like it was. “She was opinionated. If she thought she was right, she was right. But once you became close to her, she would go to the wall for you,” Larry said.
Earlier in her career, Karen worked in the office of the Urbana Park District, and in the office of several departments on the University of Illinois campus. She was also a longtime volunteer with U of I Extension and the Farmer City Garden Club.
After Karen died, her favorite band, The Blue Collar Bastards, played at the funeral. “There was dancing,” Larry said. “People said they had never been to funeral like that before.”
We’re grateful that Karen remembered WILL when planning for her estate. For more information about how you can make an estate gift to WILL, contact Danda Beard at 217-333-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeanine Abels suggested gifts to Illinois Public Media in memory of her husband, Wade.
When Wade Abels of Bloomington died in March, his wife, Jeanine, planned a celebration of his life. At a memorial service, she displayed photographs of him and also of the buildings that he had worked on as an architect, including the education building at the University of Illinois and the Performing Arts Center at Governors State University.
In his obituary, she also suggested that people who wanted to make memorial gifts could make a donation to Illinois Public Media in her husband’s honor. “I thought it was appropriate since we were celebrating his life, and public television was important to him.” WILL-TV programs, particularly British comedies, The PBS NewsHour and Masterpiece, brought so much enjoyment to his life, she said.
The Abels’ daughter, Anne Santucci, of Highland Park, Ill., said that for as long as she could remember, public television was the only TV her dad watched. “He loved Nature and Nova and Frontline. He and my son had wonderful conversations about all of those programs,” she said. When she was growing up, the family watched Monty Python every Sunday night.
“He loved the political shows, and he kept up with everything. But in the last two or three years of his life shows like Last of the Summer Wine and Keeping Up Appearances, those things made his life bearable. He needed something to make him laugh and smile.”
Wade Abels was a member of the Bloomington architecture firm of Hilfinger, Asbury, Cufaude and Abels. He did detailed architectural drawings for the U of I education building, working collaboratively with design architect A. Richard Williams. During Abels’ 15-year tenure as the principal in charge for architectural work at Governors State in University Park, he was proudest of the university’s performing arts center, a seven-story brick-and-glass building completed in December 1995.
Public service was Wade’s first priority in addition to family, Anne said. He served for many years on the Bloomington Zoning Board of Appeals and on the Bloomington Beautification Committee. “He really felt that everyone deserved to have beautiful spaces and access to those spaces,” she said.
Daughter Amy Carey, of Grand Rapids, Mich., said she remembers her dad, listening to the news on public radio, as well as reading several newspapers. “He was one of the most well-informed people I’ve ever known,” she said. Yet, she said he was quiet and unassuming, and had an incredible work ethic. “He often came home for dinner and went back to the office, not because he was a work-a-holic but because he wanted to do everything possible for his clients,” she said.
Jeanine, a collage artist who uses hand-screened Asian papers, acrylics and watercolors, misses her life partner, but stays busy creating one-of-a kind art cards and larger pieces that reflect her interest in Asian philosophy. And she still watches Masterpiece and other WILL-TV shows she and her husband loved.
Longtime public broadcasting supporters Case and Elain Sprenkle let their IRA make their gift to WILL--tax-free.
It’s part of a “charitable rollover” provision that allows individuals to make gifts directly to non-profit organizations like WILL. Charitable IRA Rollover gifts count toward a donor’s required annual minimum distribution, which reduces taxable income.
Charitable IRA Rollover guidelines
Donors must be age 70 ½ or older and own an IRA. Other retirement plans such as pensions, 401(k) and 403 (b) plans are not eligible.
Individual donors may make gifts up to $100,000 through year-end 2011.
Only the IRA trustee or custodian can transfer the gift. If a donor withdraws funds and then contributes them separately, the withdrawn amounts will be included in the donor’s gross income.
Gift amounts are not included in the donor’s taxable income. Accordingly, a charitable deduction is not allowed.
Transfers can only be made to public non-profit organizations such as WILL.
IRA gifts cannot be used to fund “life income gifts” such as charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts.
Learn more by consulting your financial advisor or by calling Danda Beard at WILL, 217-333-7300.
Susan and Lew Hopkins showed their appreciation for WILL Radio through a current endowment gift.
WILL was one of the first acquaintances Susan and Lew Hopkins made as newcomers to Champaign-Urbana 40 years ago. They chose to show their appreciation for this longstanding friendship through a current endowment gift in support of WILL Radio.
“We attended a planned giving seminar a number of years ago that highlighted the benefits—both to donors and to University of Illinois units—of current, rather than estate, gifts,” Susan Hopkins said. “Once you’re certain that you’ve taken care of your own financial needs, it becomes interesting to look at how to support organizations that you value.”
The seminar provided Susan and Lew with the perspective to explore funding two gifts—the one for WILL and another for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning within the U of I College of Fine & Applied Arts, where Lew taught urban planning for 35 years and served as head of the department for 13. They realized that instead of selling their rental property themselves, they could donate it to the University of Illinois Foundation, which would in turn sell the house. This approach saved on capitol gains tax, while Susan and Lew received a charitable deduction. A somewhat similar strategy would be to give long held appreciated stock.
From their early support of WILL with $25 annual gifts, the couple became more invested in the future of AM 580 as they realized the extent to which they relied on the station for in-depth perspectives on issues, quality news reporting and entertaining conversations on a diverse array of topics, as well as chances to call in with questions for radio guests.
During a radio fundraising drive, they learned the cost of a day of programming. The information formed the basis for the concept of their gift, established in 2007. The income from this endowment now provides one day’s broadcast funds each year.
“We’re realizing that it’s more fun to be generous while we’re around to see the results,” Susan said. “In doing a current endowment, we wanted to front load our contribution to WILL to do our part to help insure its health and survival in the face of the vagaries of other funding sources.”
Rose Nolan discovered WILL radio in 1955. Now her children and grandchildren are fans, too.
Although WILL-TV was brand new in 1955 when Rose Nolan moved from Chicago to Champaign-Urbana for her husband to enroll at the University of Illinois, she first discovered WILL Radio’s classical music programming. Today she’s still a WILL and public broadcasting fan, now joined by her children and grandchildren.
Daughter Colleen Nolan-Grob, an oncology nurse, remembers growing up in a house filled with music. “If it was on WILL, we listened to it—symphonies, marching band pieces, jazz,” she said. “My dad, who had been in a drum and bugle corps, would whistle with any type of music and often would serve as conductor—he was pretty good at it. My mother would have the radio on anytime she was in the kitchen or in her sewing room.”
Kathy Nolan Henry, employed at the Illinois State Geological Survey, distinctly recalls their youngest sister, Moira, enjoying The Electric Company.
Her daughter, Maureen Henry, loved the PBS Kids program Arthur. “They had positive lessons and interesting guest characters,” she said. “I’ll never forget that I learned who Yo Yo Ma and Click & Clack were because of that show.” Maureen is now an English teacher at Heritage Junior High School in Homer.
All four agree that WILL offers an incredible array of widely accessible programs. “From kids to adults, liberals and conservatives, it really is something for everyone,” Colleen said. Maureen added, “Watching programs on WILL was something that my family could do together, and have discussions about. My parents instilled an appreciation for WILL in me from a very young age. We support the stations because we believe in what public broadcasting is all about.”
Sharon Michalove uses electronic funds tranfer to contribute to WILL monthly.
Sharon Michalove is a sustaining member of WILL. Her membership never lapses, but she can stop or change her gift at any time.
When you set up a recurring gift through an automatic bank transfer (EFT), a credit card payment or through University of Illinois payroll deduction, you can designate that the gift continue until you wish to make a change. Ongoing support, like that provided by Sharon and many other Friends of WILL, provides WILL with steady, reliable income that balances the uncertainty of other funding sources.
Because this option reduces the amount we spend on renewal notices, sustained giving ensures that your dollars go farther to support the programs you care about. Plus, the one-step process is much more convenient for you.
Sharon used payroll deduction to make her monthly contribution to WILL when she worked at the University of Illinois. Now that she's retired, she uses electronic funds tranfer. "I never have to remember to send in my contribution, and WILL is assured of sustained montly support for their program services," she said.
Get more information on sustained giving.
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