A Wonderful Life Rooted in the Gannon Community Inspires a Legacy

After graduating from Villa Maria College with a degree in sociology, Susan Palmisano was beginning her career as a social worker when she met Russell Forquer at a local hangout.

Russell had just started his education at Gannon College. The two dated for four years while Russell completed his Bachelor of Science in math and were married after his graduation. Although they didn't attend college at the same time, they have always shared a deep affinity for the two schools that eventually became Gannon University.

"I was lucky to have high quality professors who taught me the right way to do things," Russell says, specifically mentioning Jim Freeman and then dean, Gerald Kraus. Their high standards were tremendously beneficial to him in his career in information technology.

Susan has fond memories of Sister Wilhelmina and is also grateful for the fellowship among her circle of friends. "Villa Maria wasn't just about the education, but also the values, support and camaraderie everyone shared," she says. "It was like being part of a family."

"We've continued our involvement at Gannon because we've always felt part of their community," Susan adds.

In gratitude for all that Gannon has meant to them, the Forquers have included the University in their will by designating a mutual fund to be given to the school. "I owe them for a fantastic education that allowed me to do well in my career," Russell says.

"The gift is also in appreciation for helping us become whole people who were able to do well not only financially but also in our parenting, our relationships and other areas of our lives," Susan says.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Gannon University 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, a not-for-profit organization, organized and existing under the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, [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 Gannon 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 Gannon 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 Gannon 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 Gannon where you agree to make a gift to Gannon 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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