Peace of Mind: Experiences at Santa Clara Have Guided Sylvia Tellez Through Life

sylvia tellez

Sylvia Tellez is extending a hand to help future generations.

Sylvia Tellez '79 is the youngest of nine children. She was born in San Diego and traces her roots to Mexico—a point of pride for Sylvia, who would always correct people when they misidentified her ethnicity. "I would tell them, 'I'm not Spanish, I'm Mexican,'" she says.

Growing up in the '40s and '50s, Sylvia felt the pressure from stereotypes attached to women and minorities. School counselors directed her away from college-track classes and Sylvia seemed destined for a career path as a secretary. That outlook changed as a student at Santa Clara, where she received a grant from the Everett Alvarez, Jr. Scholarship Foundation and came to see herself as "an individual who had power and who had gifts, and who was not just going to do what someone else expected of me."

After retiring, she reflected on the lessons she learned at Santa Clara and how they have guided her—in her career, as a member of her community and, most important, spiritually. The decision to donate a scholarship in honor of Everett Alvarez through her retirement savings became obvious.

"How could you not?" Sylvia says. "I've received so much. The tradition here is to have people grow. Santa Clara is so nourishing. I was offered a hand and I took it."

And in her way, Sylvia is ensuring that future generations may be offered a hand as well.

For more information about planning your own legacy for future generations, contact the Gift Planning team at 408-554-2108 or giftplanning@scu.edu.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Santa Clara 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 Santa Clara University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400, 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 SCU 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 SCU 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 SCU 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 SCU where you agree to make a gift to SCU 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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