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Joni Winston's Generosity Lifts the Emory-Tibet Partnership

Joni Winston

Emory neighbor Joni Winston invests in interdisciplinary education.

Joni Winston had just begun a meditation practice in 2007 when she saw that the Dalai Lama would be visiting Emory University. She lives in Druid Hills, only a few streets away from campus. This “perfect confluence” of events eventually led to her planned gift.

“I’m not an alumna or Buddhist, but I am kind of a science nerd, and I read an article about Emory research findings being presented to the Dalai Lama,” she says. “I was curious about that. Those findings showed that the people who practiced meditation the most, benefited the most. I thought, ‘Why not meditate more often?’”

She became involved in the Emory-Tibet Partnership (ETP), which brings together the best of the Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions for their mutual enrichment and for the discovery of new knowledge. Winston’s planned gift will expand ETP’s work, which aligns with her life goals: bringing contemplative practices to the educational system and supporting efforts to make meditation more mainstream so more people practice daily.

“I’m excited to get behind Emory University, because it can do a lot of things,” Winston says. “We as Westerners are really good at seeing ourselves as separate collections of cells and atoms and understanding through science how that works. The Tibetans have developed their inner world, mindfulness and the skills of gratitude and compassion. Emory gives validation to the belief that by working together, we see that the benefits of both types of knowledge increase exponentially.” 

Winston completed a signature ETP program, Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), and became certified to teach CBCT. The more she explored and benefited personally, the more she wanted to support the partnership financially.

In 2013, she made a significant 10-year pledge that allowed ETP to commit to strategic programming and educational initiatives. Her planned gift will allow Emory to further expand the work of the partnership, including offering CBCT in schools.

“I remember when I first dabbled in meditation, thinking that this would be so important to start young and to offer it in the education system,” she says. “I have a child with ADD and dyslexia, so education is a struggle. By learning compassion, peacefulness and forgiveness, anyone can benefit, no matter their age or what profession or job they are in.”

Today, Winston acknowledges that most people will not take an hour to meditate each day, even though the return on investment is immense.

“I get more than an hour back,” she says. “I need less sleep, I am more rested, and I wake up more refreshed. Less stress, anxiety and wasting time, has improved the quality of my dreams and increased my peace of mind. I’m more centered during the day. I’ve always been pretty healthy, and now in my 60s, I don’t take medication. Isn’t joy and bliss worth 10 minutes a day?”

A planned gift assures that this important work continues after her life ends. The partnership also facilitates Emory College’s academic and cultural exchange programs and assists with related academic courses in Tibetan Buddhism, meditation, and psychology, as well as the language and culture of Tibet.

“I take my role as a donor seriously,” she says. “It’s not just about writing a check, which takes little time and effort, or about a tax deduction. I want to be very intentional about giving, and I want a lot of bang for the buck. I want my time, energy and money to help create a seismic shift in fundamental thinking. For me, a planned gift to the Emory-Tibet Partnership scores off the chart because it’s an opportunity to change the world, to make it more peaceful and to make people happier.”

Making your legacy gift to Emory is easier than you think. Contact Emory Office of Gift Planning at giftplanning@emory.edu or 404.727.8875. For online resources, go to giftplanning.emory.edu.

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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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