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Retired Army Nurse Sees Gift Annuity As a Great Way to Give Back

Faith Sterling

Faith Sterling

Had her parents chosen to move to Florida one year later than they did, retired Army Col. Faith Sterling would never have come to Florida State University.

"I was already a freshman at the University of Connecticut when my parents, who were paying my way through school at the time, decided to move to Florida," Faith explains. "One year later and I probably would have stayed where I was because I received a scholarship from the Army that covered my expenses."

Thankfully, Faith did transfer to Florida State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1960. After graduation, Faith served in the Army Nurse Corps for six years. After a three-year break to attend graduate school, she reentered the Corps, serving for a total of 23 years both domestically and abroad.

"The Nurse Corps was a good way to go. The Corps provided a good income and a good career. I did my first tour in Europe and my last tour in Europe," Faith says, joking that these were "tough" assignments. "I was based in Munich, Germany, and also in Stuttgart, Germany."

Faith also describes with pleasure her time at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing. "I taught there from 1970 to 1976," she says. "That was a wonderful experience for me. I was actually a tenured assistant professor and could have gone on the faculty when I retired from the Army." Instead, Faith retired to Ormond Beach, Fla.

Looking for ways to better secure her financial future, Faith began to explore her options. In 2009, she decided to establish a charitable gift annuity (CGA) with the Florida State University Foundation. This allowed her to give back to Retired Army Nurse Sees Gift Annuity As a Great Way to Give Back her alma mater and provide herself with steady payments for the rest of her life.

"I was fortunate in that between my parents and scholarships, my schooling was paid for," Faith says. "This was a way for me to help give other students the same opportunities I had." The CGA she established will ultimately fund the Faith Sterling Scholarship and provide financial support to students in the College of Nursing who demonstrate financial need. (Faith has also included a generous bequest in her estate plan toward the scholarship fund.)

Faith was also attracted by the relatively high payout rates of the CGA. "The CGA was a great choice for me," she says. "Where else would I get such a high return?"

Faith encourages others to consider making a similar gift. "As long as you understand that once the money is committed, it's committed. I believe the CGA is a good way to go, even for those who aren't wealthy."


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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