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This Inspired Lauren Giles to Plan Museum Gift

Lauren Giles

Lauren Giles 03C

As a child, Lauren Giles 03C felt very lucky that her father often took her to the Michael C. Carlos Museum because it was next door to his office. Micheal W. Giles was the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Political Science before retiring in 2018. "The Carlos Museum was magic," she recalls. "Full of cool stuff that I had never seen before."

Positive experiences like this led her to choose Emory College for her undergraduate education, which has given her a strong foundation for professional success as an attorney. In early 2016, Lauren made partner at Alston & Bird LLP, a law firm in Atlanta, and began planning financially for the future. As part of her plans, she has made a bequest to the Carlos Museum.

"A lot of people in my demographic don't think about the long term as much," Giles notes. "We are more present than future oriented in this life stage. As I was redoing my life insurance and retirement plans, I thought about what was really important to me. I have felt so invested at Emory because my father gave his life to the university and never left. Coming back here after the passage of time, I realize how much the university has given to me. I feel in my heart that service to Emory will be part of my future, and this planned gift felt like the right choice."

As her childhood affinity for the Carlos deepened, she sought to honor a part of Emory that serves as a crossroads for intellectual inquiry and scientific research. The Carlos collections date back to 1876, and the museum's growth has paralleled Emory's as a teaching and research institution. Collections span nineteenth-century acquisitions of Asian art and objects by Methodist missionaries to more recent acquisitions supporting the university's strengths in Latin American, African, Classical, and Middle Eastern Studies. The museum has a distinguished history of providing opportunities for scholars in many disciplines to expand their work and for students to learn by participating in academically rigorous projects.

"I believe in Emory's values and its unique gifts as a research university and liberal arts university," she says. "In a real way, my planned gift to the Carlos Museum values both of these things."

Today, Giles volunteers extensively at the museum, including serving on the Visiting Board and as an ambassador for its Young Associates program. She also is a member of the Emory University Annual Giving Board. Her involvement has deepened her appreciation of the museum and its community reach, which inspired her to find new ways to give back.

"I see the commitment that the museum takes first hand, and it is very emotionally affecting for me. When we had an event at the home of a Carlos family member, I understood that everything about the museum came from what generous people were willing to do."

Her planned gift is part of her multifaceted support of the museum. When the Carlos promoted a Momentum crowdfunding project to replenish the bus transportation funds, Giles and her parents offered a leadership-level challenge grant. "It's not hard to ask people to support something that you care about. If I think it's important, I want to be the person who gives first because someone has to be."

To learn more about the many planned giving strategies available at Emory, contact the Emory Office of Gift Planning at 404.727.8875 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Emory 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 Emory University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Atlanta, GA, 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 Emory 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 Emory 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 Emory 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 Emory where you agree to make a gift to Emory 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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