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Alumna Gives Back to University That Provided So Much to Her

Cassandra D. Jenkins

Cassandra D. Jenkins

As a young girl, Cassandra D. Jenkins spent hours reading mystery novels and watching crime shows, where she imagined investigating crimes and solving cases alongside the heroes and heroines of her stories.

The Pensacola native knew from an early age who she wanted to become and found Florida State University to be the perfect place that would allow her to grow professionally and personally. Cassandra graduated magna cum laude with Bachelor of Science degrees in criminology and sociology in 1979 and earned her master's degree in criminology in 1981. Her commitment was not limited to her studies. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate career, she was a dedicated member of Lady Seminole Boosters, the Black Student Union, the American Criminal Justice Association and dormitory government, among other student organizations.

Cassandra's love for and service to her university continues through Seminole Boosters, where she serves on the national board of directors. She is also a lifetime member of the FSU Alumni Association and the FSU Black Alumni Association, of which she was a founding member. In addition, she serves as the national chairperson of the FSU Black Alumni Association's board of directors.

Cassandra further demonstrated her love for FSU by generously creating bequests that will benefit the Alumni Center, the Black Alumni Association and the women's basketball program. As a member of the James D. Westcott Legacy Society and the Custodes Lampadis Society, she gives back to the university that has given to her.

"Through gifts of time, talent and treasure, I can guarantee that the exceptional programs that mean a tremendous amount to me will continue," Cassandra says. "Estate planning is more than simply saying, ‘I gave a gift.' It is saying a gift came from my heart to help someone else, who will hopefully then reach back and pay it forward, ensuring another's future success."

Cassandra, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet to the Florida Parole Commission in October 2010, has committed her life to service. Since graduating she has served as an administrator, policy advisor, delegate and consultant for several institutions, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and Children's Campaign, Inc.

"Estate planning is a testament to understanding your gift is bigger than you," Cassandra says. "It's about the history and future of our university. For me, giving to our university ensures minority students will be a part of Florida State's story forever. I am proud to give back to the university that has given me so much."


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Florida State 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 give to Florida State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Tallahassee, Florida, 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 the FSU Foundation 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 the FSU Foundation 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 the FSU Foundation 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 the FSU Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the FSU Foundation 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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