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Donor Relationships Impact More Than the Bottom Line


Douglas Greene

Friend and longtime supporter of Southeast, Douglas Greene of Vancouver,Wash., has been most generous over the past decade.

In 1999, he and his late wife, Janet Paar Greene, a Southeast alumna, established an endowed scholarship that has helped numerous students achieve degrees in English education.

Three years later, Greene established two generous deferred gifts in Janet's memory that will ensure her passion for the arts lives on at the new River Campus. In addition to these planned gifts, Greene will be donating several of Janet's works of art to include in the Museum's collection. In acknowledgment of Greene's generosity and in remembrance of a Southeast alumna, a section of the Southeast Missouri State Regional Museum on the River Campus will be named for Janet Paar Greene.

But Greene's partnership with Southeast has only just begun."Every time I came to visit, everyone has been so welcoming," he said. This trend has continued during several campus visits to share his business experiences with students at the Harrison College of Business. On his last visit with his wife, Heather, Greene issued a $50,000 challenge to encourage alumni giving to Southeast. Greene's $50,000 challenge was met and surpassed within two months, thanks to the generosity of Southeast's alumni!

The response to his challenge and the entrepreneurial spirit of the campus has sparked his latest collaboration with Southeast, expanding Greene's partnership to the area of his own passion-entrepreneurship.

Greene, owner of Skytech, known as "the father of remote controls for the gas fireplace industry," has developed more than 25 unique remote control systems for gas fireplaces/logs sold in the United States, Canada and Europe. Greene has also developed a remote control that turns Christmas lights on and off with the touch of a button-no more getting poked in the head with tree branches or knocking off heirloom ornaments.The remote is shaped like Santa Claus and turns the lights on and off to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

Remote controls from the simple to the complicated are Greene's business. The Christmas light remote was developed about five years ago, but he says he hadn't done much marketing with it. "I've retired four times, and I'm trying to stay there," Greene said. So he decided to give the remote to the students of Dr. Jack Sterrett's MBA entrepreneurship class so they can put the classroom theory into practice.

The students have been divided into teams, and their challenge is to develop the best marketing plan for the remote.The winning team will have the chance to implement theplan through Southeast's Innovation Center, which opened in the summer of 2005 to foster small business growth in the Southeast Missouri region.

"If done properly, this project could generate significant revenue for the University," he said."It's not just technology, but a chance to set up a real business through the College of Business-maybe even involve other alumni."

Greene's dream includes expanding the business into other remotes-fun remotes for kids to turn on their bedroom lights, fundraising remotes for nonprofit organizations, marketing tools for use by businesses, or even mobility aids for seniors. At a recent strategy session at the University, Greene shared his vision that, by implementing this "apprentice" approach, entrepreneurial skills would be taught across all disciplines, giving students in business, arts, sciences or education these much-needed tools for success.

Greene says he hopes to take Sterrett's students to the Hong Kong Electric Show, so they can see how developing and importing products from overseas works and then be able to implement the expansion ideas he sees in their future.

Regardless of what the students do with the technology and new business, Greene's latest gift will benefit Southeast and its students tremendously.Truly the Greenes will have left their legacy at Southeast-a legacy that will keep their passions for art and entrepreneurship alive in the students of today and tomorrow.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Southeast Missouri University 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Southeast Missouri University Foundation, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 63701, [the sum of _____] or [_____% of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal] for its charitable purposes in support of Southeast Missouri State University [for its unrestricted use] or [to establish the _____________ Fund]."

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 Southeast 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 Southeast 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 Southeast 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 Southeast where you agree to make a gift to Southeast 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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