There's No Debating the Value of Planned Gifts for Sharon Semmens
As a member of Emory's Barkley Forum, one of the nation's best debate teams, Sharon Semmens 80C 80G honed her critical decision-making skills. Using that same careful deliberation to plan her estate, she has found creative ways to help sustain the Barkley Forum in perpetuity.
Semmens has made Emory a beneficiary of both her life insurance policy and retirement account. The resulting gifts will support Emory College of Arts and Sciences and help build endowments for the debate program and a student leadership award she helped establish.
"The Barkley Forum was my Emory experience," she says. "I gained an interest in and concern about what was happening in my community and at Emory."
Named for Emory alumnus and former U.S. Vice President Alben W. Barkley, the forum excels in regional and national tournaments and partners with Atlanta Public Schools to manage the Urban Debate League for at-risk youth. Semmens' planned gifts will fuel all of those efforts.
Semmens is also an advocate in the LGBT community and helped form the Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA) group. GALA began a campaign to fund a scholarship soon after its founding in 2005, and Semmens led the effort. The GALA Leadership Award was endowed in 2010. Her gifts to the endowment will extend the reach of the scholarship, which has been awarded to five students since 2009.
For Emory College, she has planned unrestricted support. This will allow the dean to invest in priorities such as faculty recruitment and retention, greater access for talented students regardless of their financial means, spaces that enable the best work, academic programs or support services that help students thrive.
Semmens decided to use an insurance policy and retirement account to support Emory because they're simple transactions that earmark existing assets to strengthen the school she loves. Giving retirement assets can protect these assets from estate and income taxes.
She considers her gifts to be "a natural progression of my relationship with the university," she says. "This is also an opportunity for me to make a difference and lead by example."
To learn more about supporting Emory with life insurance, a retirement account or other planned giving strategies, call Emory Office of Gift Planning at 404.727.8875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.