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Woman’s broad interests reflected in estate gift to WILL

Karen Hawthorne loved home and farm, theater and music, and the U of I and WILL.

Karen Hawthorne

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

Keep the idea alive ... forever

Guarantee that Illinois Public Media remains strong forever by leaving a gift in your will.

child with butterflies

Back at the end of the swinging sixties, we had a groovy idea — to expand people’s minds to the breaking point.

Do you remember when TV and radio were young?

Do you remember the days when radio and television could be anything?

You know…fill the minds of children to the brim with exciting ways to connect with numbers and literacy…expose whole generations to wonderful new worlds of music, theatre and the arts…bring incredibly diverse cultures right into the living rooms of millions of homes…and deliver truly unbiased news programs free from commercial or political influence.

Public television and radio brought that groovy idea to life.

And you brought that idea to life, too…through your generous and frequent gifts to Illinois Public Media.

You have been a media pioneer for many years, my friend. Thank you!

Keep the idea alive…forever.

Leave a gift in your will for Illinois Public Media. Get more information.

Mind Expansion

1 Develop the minds of preschoolers with award-winning, research-based shows like Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, WordWorld...

2 Expose whole generations to wonderful new worlds of music, theater, the arts and drama through Great Performances and classical music on FM 90.9...

3 Bring lifelong learning into the living rooms (and kitchens!) of millions of homes with shows like Nova, Rick Steves’ Europe, America’s Test Kitchen...

4 Deliver truly unbiased news programs free from commercial or political influence, with Charlie Rose, PBS NewsHour, Nightly Business Report, Washington Week, Morning Edition and All Things Considered...

5 Make a gift in your will to Illinois Public Media. Add your name to our exclusive Forever Wall in Friends Plaza outside Campbell Hall.. The Forever Wall honors all those staunch supporters who help protect and inspire education, community engagement, and lifelong learning ... by making a charitable gift in their wills to Illinois Public Media.

Celebrating a Life with Memorial Gifts to WILL

Jeanine Abels suggested gifts to Illinois Public Media in memory of her husband, Wade.

Jeanine Abels

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.

Wade AbelsIn 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.

Giving to WILL through your IRA

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.

Choosing to Help Shape the Future of WILL

Susan and Lew Hopkins showed their appreciation for WILL Radio through a current endowment gift.

Susan and Lew Hopkins

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.”

Meet One Family’s Three Generations of WILL Supporters

Rose Nolan discovered WILL radio in 1955. Now her children and grandchildren are fans, too.

Maureen Henry, Colleen Nolan-Grob, Rose Nolan, Kathy Nolan Henry

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.”

Sustaining Members Provide Steady Income

Sharon Michalove uses electronic funds tranfer to contribute to WILL monthly.

Sharon Michalove

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.

Join Our Ireland, England, Masterpieces & Mysteries Tour

Sept. 19-30:  See splendid Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! locations, along with Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Lismore Castle, Waterford and Holmfirth.

Lismore Castle in Ireland

Travel to England and Ireland to see splendid Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery! and comedy series locations. Travelers share something from the start—a passion for WILL and its programs. We'll see Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Lismore Castle, Waterford, Shrewsbury, and Holmfirth, and join mystery expert Antony Richards for a full-day "Inspectors Morse and Lewis Tour" of Oxford. Review the full itinerary for details. For more information, call Danda Beard at 217-333-7300. To make your reservation, call Judy McElfresh at TourGroupPlanners (217-422-5002 or toll-free 877-386-4777).

Civil War Train Tour

Travel on private restored train cars from the 1950s, with sightseeing in Gettysburg, Antietam, Williamsburg and more.

Cannons at Gettysburg with grave markers in background

Sept. 26-Oct. 6, 2013: Civil War Train

Travel on our Civil War Train, featuring unique private restored train cars from the 1950s, to Washington D.C. and Williamsburg with sightseeing in Gettysburg and Virginia along with other historic sites, museums and battlefields. Also included Included are Antietam, Harper's Ferry, the USS Monitor, Baltimore's B&O Railroad useum and Washington, D.C.  Review the full itinerary for details. For more information, call Danda Beard at 217-333-7300. To make your reservation, call Judy McElfresh at TourGroupPlanners (217-422-5002 or toll-free 877-386-4777).

Choosing to Make a Bequest Gift

In addition to their current annual support, John and Lissa May Mudrick have chosen a bequest gift to underscore their appreciation for and enjoyment of the WILL stations.

Head and shoulders image of Lissa May and John Mudrick

Lissa is a University of Illinois graduate who first discovered FM 90.9 for background music while studying. Later, as an agent for State Farm Insurance, she became a charter member of WILL’s Business Partners program. John discovered the stations when he moved to the area in 1987 to begin a new position with Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul.

Shortly after they married in 1993, Lissa and John prepared wills and realized they also wanted to make provisions for various charitable organizations that hold special meaning for them.
“We liked the fact that we could choose to earmark a percentage of our estate, rather than a fixed dollar amount, for WILL and other charitable organizations,” Lissa said. “It’s a good way to think in terms of a ‘no matter what, we can do this’ amount. Plus, it allows for the fluctuations in the value of your assets,” she added.

“And since none of us knows what life has in store for us, it’s also beneficial that the bequest arrangements are adjustable or even revocable in the future,” John said.

The programs that spur John’s support are This Old House, Motor Week, As Time Goes By and any history-related show. Lissa’s favorites include All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.
“We both enjoy the in-depth news reporting, the intelligence and wit in the various entertainment shows and the quality of the research and production in the history and documentary programs. We’re happy to do our part to support public broadcasting because we understand how Illinois Public Media enhances our daily lives,” Lissa said.

“Thanks to WILL’s programs, we keep finding and learning new and different perspectives on our world community,” John added.


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