Skip to Content

"Extravagant Generosity" Launches Philip J. Cohen Scholars Program

Donor Photo

Cheryl Johnston (right) with fellow Philip J. Cohen Scholarship.

UNLV senior Cheryl Johnston has a big heart and high aspirations. The adoptive mother of eight children, seven of whom have special needs, is receiving a degree in social sciences this spring, thanks to a scholarship made possible through the estate of Philip J. Cohen. Mr. Cohen's gift will fund more than 40 full scholarships a year for students such as Cheryl, who prove themselves deserving of support but may not qualify based solely on need or grades.

"I can only describe this gift as a show of extravagant generosity," says Johnston, a member of the inaugural class of Philip J. Cohen Scholars at UNLV and an aspiring social worker who will be applying her skills and compassion toward helping the elderly. The Philip J. Cohen Scholars Program is funded through an endowment that currently sits at $7 million. Over time, it has the potential to become one of the largest gifts for higher education scholarship in Nevada.

Cohen, a gaming and real estate executive who passed away in 2010, embodied the spirit of Las Vegas, according to his niece Joan Rudick. Growing up poor in Baltimore, he left school after the eighth grade but never abandoned his love for education. After staking his success in Southern Nevada, Cohen took night courses at UNLV. In fact, he was close to having enough credits to earn an undergraduate degree. "He loved the Runnin' Rebels and he loved UNLV," Rudick recalls. "My uncle was a real American success story. And now that story will continue through the Philip J. Cohen Scholars. There will be many more successes."

One of those success stories is being realized by Scholar Brian Unguren, a young father who is graduating with an English degree in May and will be entering law school this fall. "Most people think that the greatest opportunities for Las Vegas are on the Strip," Unguren says. "Mr. Cohen recognized that the real opportunity is a few miles to the east—on the UNLV campus. That's where the future of Las Vegas is really being determined."

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the UNLV 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 UNLV Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 4505 S. Maryland Parkway/Box 451006, Las Vegas, NV 89154-1006 , 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 UNLV 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 UNLV 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 UNLV 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 UNLV where you agree to make a gift to UNLV 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.