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Georgia Roots Lead to Emory College Scholarship Gift

Natalie Ford

Natalie Ford is honoring her mother Myra Ford's sacrifices

Natalie Ford's planned gift to Emory is rooted in the red clay of middle Georgia, where her mother, Myra B. Ford was born in Thomaston, about 70 miles south of Emory.

"To her, Georgia was the best place on earth," says Natalie, who lives in Chicago. "My mother was 18 when she left Georgia to attend college in Chicago. There, she met and married a friend of her brother's, and stayed in Chicago and raised their 10 children. To honor her, I reached out to colleges in Georgia to set up a scholarship, and Emory responded with tremendous advice and support."

A few months after that initial contact, Myra suffered a heart attack and pneumonia. "People from Emory came by to see her in Chicago," Natalie recalls. "Later when we toured Emory, everyone was so nice. All of this helped me see that this would be a good place for her scholarship."

Natalie's vision for a memorial scholarship was well-timed. A generous donor has provided a match on an escalating scale for gifts of $50,000 or more to endowed scholarships at Emory College.

Natalie established the Myra B. Ford Endowed Scholarship from funds she inherited from her mother and other family members, personal savings and monetary gifts from family. Through the matching funds, the scholarship endowment will triple. Natalie's planned gift will increase the scholarship endowment and provide more funding for future Emory College students.

"I want her legacy for good to cascade down like rain for generations," Natalie says. "That is why establishing the Myra B. Ford Endowed Scholarship was so important. Her kindness, humility and compassion left an indelible imprint on my heart, and the scholarship will allow her commitment to helping others live on in perpetuity."

In 2019, the Fords will celebrate the centennial of Myra's birth in Thomaston and her legacy at Emory.

"From her I saw how a mother will fight and sacrifice for her family," Natalie Ford says. "She was so protective of my sister with Down syndrome, and she treated all kids that way; she even took care of kids for parents who never paid her. If another lady had car trouble, our mother would give her the car fare to get to work. Every day we had fresh vegetables, home-cooked meals and a special snack. I watched her give, and try to live by her example."

Natalie also established the Brenda D. Ford Brain Health Discovery Fund to honor her late sister, a retired schoolteacher with a master's degree in education. She suffered from a benign brain tumor and lengthy history of epileptic seizures.

"Nothing can bring back my sister, but through research, someone will find a cure for epilepsy," Natalie says. "I don't want to see anyone suffer and that's why I want to invest in research and education as a legacy."

Natalie herself benefited from scholarships at the University of Illinois, and donor support enabled her to attend Harvard University for a semester.

"Our dad worked construction and I would have had a lot of college debt without someone thinking of setting aside money for students like me," she says. "I believe we owe those who are coming behind us. There is a joy that you can't buy that comes from helping someone in need."

Making your legacy gift to Emory is easier than you think. Contact the team of professionals at Emory's Office of Gift Planning at 404.727.8875 or giftplanning@emory.edu. 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."

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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.

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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

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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 gift 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.

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You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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.

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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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