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50-Plus Years of Loyalty to Wartburg Inspire Bentzes' Generosity


Myrin and Audrey Bentz met at Wartburg College and married immediately following Myrin's graduation in 1957 with a liberal arts degree.

For more than 50 years, they've maintained ties with their alma mater despite living for most of that time on the West Coast. Myrin, 72, enjoys following Knights athletics online, and Audrey, 71, has a special place in her heart for the Wartburg Choir. Last fall, they returned to campus for Myrin's 50-year Homecoming class reunion. The experience reinforced their love for the college and inspired them to establish a charitable gift annuity, something they had read about in mailings from the college.

"We've been very blessed in terms of our financial situation, and rather than have the money be invested in things that we really don't know where it's going, we prefer to let our investments have wings, so to speak, and play an important part in the lives of young people, especially those in the Lutheran faith," Audrey says.

After Wartburg, life took the Bentzes to Dubuque, where Myrin entered Wartburg Theological Seminary. Following his graduation, he spent 37 years in the ministry, serving in Kansas City, Mo.; Anchorage, Alaska; and for 29 years in Portland, Ore. Audrey held jobs in a public defender's office and in churches. Together, the couple raised five children and now has nine grandchildren.

Since Myrin's retirement in 1998, the Bentzes have owned and operated Morningsong Acres Retreat Center, a retreat facility for small groups located north of Lyle, Wash.

Audrey and Myrin say the Wartburg development staff provided excellent help in setting up their charitable gift annuity, and because they had recently sold some land, they appreciated the tax shelter their gift provided. Their gift benefits the college while providing them with an annual source of revenue.

"It wasn't just a transaction," Myrin says. "It was a personal thing. And that really made it a joy."

Although the Bentzes chose to direct their gift to the general fund at the college, donors can also designate their gifts for scholarships, endowed funds or special projects.

To find out how you can receive similar benefits while helping Wartburg, contact Don Meyer, CFRE at 319-352-8487 (toll free) or 319-352-8666 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Wartburg College 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

The bequest language for Wartburg College is "I [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, [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 Wartburg College 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 Wartburg College 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 Wartburg College 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 Wartburg College where you agree to make a gift to Wartburg College 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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