Coming Full Circle

By Wende Persons, '74

Judy Cope and Wende Persons

Judy Cope and Wende Persons

It's funny how life works, how a serendipitous choice to come to SUNY Fredonia in 1970 fueled my lifelong connection to music and desire to give back to the school nearly 50 years later. I chose Fredonia for three excellent reasons in my teenage mind: the college had a very good women's tennis team, it was in my National Ski Patrol area in Western New York and SUNY's in-state tuition would make it possible to afford a junior year abroad in Austria. A fourth reason quickly surfaced: the lure of the School of Music.

Midway through my first semester, I switched from an English major to music and I was accepted into the piano studio of Claudette Sorel. She was a former child prodigy turned star pianist, the first woman to be named a Distinguished University Professor in the SUNY system and a great teacher. I was nowhere near her best student, and when she discovered three years later that I was on Fredonia's varsity women's tennis team, she asked why I wasn't majoring in tennis!

and Wende PersonsBut I loved being at Mason Hall, surrounded by music and musicians. After graduation and a brief, lonely stint teaching elementary school music, I stumbled into arts administration and an incredibly fulfilling career in New York City promoting musicians and classical music.

More serendipity: 14 years ago my friend Judy Cope called for advice about her new job running the Sorel Charitable Organization. I had no idea Claudette Sorel had started a foundation before her death in 1999 to create opportunities for women in classical music and to bring more women composers and conductors into the concert hall. Judy had no idea I was a student of Miss Sorel, as all of us at Fredonia called her, and she invited me to join the Sorel Advisory Board.

Fredonia Tennis Team, Fall 1970

Fredonia Women's Varsity Tennis Team, Fall 1970 (undefeated)
Row 1: Perla Hewes, Wende Persons, Rosie Jeannette
Row 2: Pat Kubelle, Gail Seefeldt, Dodie Hovey, Jan Little and

We have had a lot of fun working together through the years, including honoring Claudette Sorel's memory at Fredonia and celebrating the Sorel gift of a new Steinway concert grand and a Claudette Sorel Memorial Piano Scholarship. In addition, the Sorel Organization has continued to extend their generous support to Fredonia Music faculty by providing grants for individuals and programs such as the annual Claudette Sorel Piano Competition.

I never made millions working in the arts, but I am so much richer for attending Fredonia and creating a life in music. Whenever Fredonia called to ask for contributions, I joked I would give a lot more when I won the lottery. Making this planned gift now through the Dallas K. Beal Legacy Society is the next best way.

Learn how you can support educational opportunities for future generations of students at Fredonia. Contact the Fredonia College Foundation at (716) 673-3321 or Foundation@fredonia.edu and we can help you begin developing your legacy blueprint.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Fredonia College 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 Fredonia College Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Fredonia, NY, 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 Fredonia 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 Fredonia 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 Fredonia 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 Fredonia where you agree to make a gift to Fredonia 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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