Skip to Content

Gift Planning

Passionate About Haverford and the Power of Planned Gifts

President Benston, <em>left</em>, meets with Sheila Sachs and William Marsden '78.

President Benston, left, meets with Sheila Sachs and William Marsden '78.

William J. Marsden, Jr. '78 and Sheila K. Sachs share similar passions: they have found professional satisfaction and success as attorneys; they both love Haverford and serve on the Board of Managers together; and they believe in the power of planned gifts such that both are planned giving donors and planned giving co-chairs for Lives That Speak: The Campaign for Haverford. Their respective introductions to the College could not, however, have been more different.

Haverford's basketball coach visited William's high school one day, looking for prospective team members. William was on his high school's team at the time and the coach recommended him for his athletic ability and high SAT scores. Two weeks later, William visited campus for a tour and interview. "Once I had an opportunity to get to know the place a little better I was sold," he remembers. "It was small and intimate. The students were smart and engaged."

Sheila first visited campus in the spring of 1960 with her husband, Stephen H. Sachs '54, but, "My real introduction was when I accompanied Steve to his 25th Reunion," she says. "I can't tell you how surprised and delighted I was to find that his classmates were people who shared and cared and who were not trying to impress anybody. It was a special experience."

These early impressions of Haverford seeded in both William and Sheila an enthusiasm for the school that, in both cases, would eventually become multi-generational.

Quakerism had a profound influence on William during his time at Haverford. He was very involved in Quaker affairs on campus and became a Quaker after graduating, eventually joining the Corporation of Haverford College. Before attending law school at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, he worked for a year at the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C. Today he is the founder and former managing principal at Fish & Richardson P.C.'s Delaware office, where he specializes in patent and other technology disputes. He and his wife, Ellen, a graduate of Earlham College, reside on a farm near Avondale, Pennsylvania, and are members of London Grove Monthly Meeting. Their three children—Benjamin, Margaret and Emma—attended Westtown School, and Ben '08 and Emma '13 graduated from Haverford.

Sheila earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland after attending Vassar College and obtaining a B.A. from Goucher College. She is a member of the law firm Gordon-Feinblatt, LLC in Baltimore, Maryland, where she devotes a substantial part of her practice to the field of family law. Sheila has served on the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners and Board of Trustees of Goucher College, as well as many community and professional organizations. Public service is extremely important to her and to her family. Steve, a former United States Attorney for the District of Maryland and Attorney General of the State of Maryland, was Students' Council president at Haverford and interacted directly with then-president of the College Gilbert White.

"Gilbert White was very significant in my husband's experience," Sheila explains. "What Steve learned from observing and interacting with White is what Steve calls ‘principled leadership.' I think that is something that is valued at Haverford." Sheila and Steve's children value it too. Elisabeth '87 directs a workforce development organization and Leon '89 is a professor at the University of Kentucky. Both followed in their father's footsteps, and the family's Haverford legacy extends to Sheila's son-in-law, David Sheehy '88, and nephew Alex Kleinman '94. She hopes that the next generation "will recognize what is unique in a Haverford education and will choose the institution."

But, family is not the only way in which William and Sheila have perpetuated their families' Haverford legacies. Planned giving has been a personally meaningful—and financially practical—way for their families to give back to Haverford. Sheila's introduction to the concept of planned giving came over dinner, more than 15 years ago, with a Bi-Co couple who were making planned gifts to Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. "It made me think," Sheila says, "that here are people who worked in public service and higher education and yet they are doing something that will perpetuate institutions they love and respect. I thought, if they can do that, why can't we do that." Soon after, Sheila and Steve made a provision for Haverford in their wills. "Then I became aware of annuities," Sheila continues. "We had to think about retirement. Gift annuities would provide for us in years when earned income would be reduced. But, after we no longer needed the income stream, the assets could benefit the College. It was also an economic benefit to us because we got substantial charitable income tax deductions in the years when we established the annuities." The annuities they established will eventually benefit the Sachs Family Fund for Public Policy and Public Service. The Fund, which will eventually be fully endowed, has been partially funded for current use so that Sheila and Steve may see how it benefits the College during their lifetimes. "It is rewarding to get a letter from the College every year that tells us the status of our fund and how it was used in the prior year. It is good to know that the institution is shepherding the money and is very sensitive to the donor knowing how their contribution is being deployed."

William and Ellen's planned gifts will be added to the College's unrestricted endowment, the income from which will benefit the greatest needs on campus as they evolve over time. As a student, William did not realize what he now knows given his role as a board member: "Those who pay full tuition, even their education is subsidized by the endowment. I was someone who went through on financial aid, so in that sense I had an even greater debt." Feeling a strong desire to repay that debt, William and Ellen made their first planned gift in the form of a life insurance policy. Then, after joining the Board of Managers, William learned about annuities. "In the current financial environment, having a component of a retirement income…is beneficial and tax-advantaged as well. It met our needs very well, allowing us to step up our overall contribution to the Lives That Speak campaign." In addition, the Marsdens have participated in and sponsored special giving challenges in both the current campaign and previous one, Educating to Lead, Educating to Serve. Those challenges have focused on annual gifts from William's classmates in honor of their 35th Reunion, and, more recently, to encourage young alumni to make gifts that would qualify them for membership in The 1833 Society.

Now, as planned giving co-chairs for Lives That Speak, William and Sheila have encouraged their fellow board members to make planned gifts—the majority of whom have—and they are urging all alumni to consider making a planned gift. These gifts have a dramatic impact on the strength of Haverford's endowment and bring the College closer to its $225 million campaign goal. "It's almost like doing a grassroots campaign," Sheila explains. "If everybody does what they can through planned giving, it will fortify the institution tremendously." William adds, "There's a ‘toolkit' out there. There are many, many attractive options that can be tailored to fit almost anyone's situation. If you talk to the folks in development, they can figure out what works best for you."

To find out how your planned gift can be credited to the Lives That Speak campaign, click here.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

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

"I give to Haverford College, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041, 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 Haverford 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 Haverford 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 Haverford 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 Haverford where you agree to make a gift to Haverford 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.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address