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Rock-Solid Generosity

Donor Photo

Gene Smith in the field with Ph.D. candidate Rachael Johnsen

Professor emeritus Gene Smith is used to delving beneath the surface to find answers. The recently retired geoscience professor spent 35 years at UNLV studying the earth, with a primary interest in volcanoes. His research has led him from Antarctica to South Africa and will soon take him to Manchuria. But you don't have to dig too deep to find out why Smith chose to include a gift to UNLV in his estate plan.

"The geosciences department and UNLV have been good to me, and it's important for me to give back," he readily explains. "I had a hand in building the master's and Ph.D. programs at UNLV, but it took help and cooperation from many other people.

"In order for the graduate program to be a great program, you have to attract top students and the best faculty," Smith says. "To be great, you need to invest in resources." His gift backs his words. The Eugene Smith Fellowship Endowment Fund will provide support to doctoral students in the geosciences program.

Smith came to UNLV in 1978 for a year as a visiting professor and returned in 1980. He has been here ever since, and is now professor emeritus. When he retired on June 30, along with his wife, UNLV astronomy professor Diane Smith, they had been teaching and conducting research at the university for nearly 70 years combined. In that time, Gene Smith's fascination with the geology of the desert Southwest has never dulled. "Nevada has some of the most spectacular geology of any place on earth," he beams. "It is like a Disneyland for geologists."

Read more at Heaven and Earth: A conversation with Gene Smith and Diane Smith at

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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.

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