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Paying It Forward: One-of-a-Kind Gift Encourages Students to Give Back


Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Lawrence R. Kem values the importance of an education. He firmly believes in putting back into the institution that fostered his success.

"Figure what your education has been worth to you and put back, for use by today's students, as much as you can afford," says Kem.

Kem has done just that in developing an innovative and unusual "pay it forward" type of fund where he gives to a student who in turn gives back to another deserving student.

Kem worked with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation to establish the Barbara Hope Kem Fund to accommodate his unique idea of supporting Southeast students and to honor his late wife.

"My initial thoughts about recipients, qualifications and the repayment feature related to my situation as a Southeast student. My parents were far from wealthy but were extremely encouraging in my college career. So when, in the last couple of years, I ran out of money, Mom and Dad agreed to loan me the monies I needed to attend. It was a non-interest bearing loan but clearly was to be repaid," explains Kem. "The Foundation and I explored a number of options to create a vehicle like my folks provided for me-no interest, covering much but not all of the basic fees, to be repaid and conditioned on financial need and academic performance."

This spring, his idea will come to fruition as the Barbara Hope Kem Fund will be awarded for the first time. Each recipient will be required to sign a pledge commitment with the Foundation for an amount equal to what they received. The student will begin repayment one year after leaving Southeast, repaying 10 percent of the amount each year over 10 years.

Kem also wanted students to be involved in the selection process, so the selection committee must have significant student representation.

"Student Government, and students in general, are very involved in the process of selecting recipients for this award," says Student Government President Sarah Snyder.

"The committee is chaired by the Student Government Rules Committee chair and includes four students (three of which must represent different colleges), the student regent, a representative from the Foundation and a representative from the Scholarship Office."

The student committee members interview prospective candidates, review applications and score essays.

"Overall, students have been invaluable in serving on the committee and in determining the process by which winners are selected," says Snyder.

Kem is hopeful that his contribution will have a great impact on future Southeast students. "If I ruled the world, the fund would provide scholarships for about three students at a time and would be repaid to give the fund a life for a number of years into the future."

The creation of the Barbara Hope Kem Fund illustrates the successful outcome when donors work with the Foundation to put their personal stamp on their contribution to Southeast.

To learn more about how you can make a difference to Southeast students through endowed scholarships, visit or contact us at 573.651.5935 or 888.812.3769.

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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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