Elevating their commitment to Elon
Elon parents Geoff and Dottie Jenkins P’09 P’15 are making a difference at Elon through planned gifts.
By Jaleh Hagigh
Geoff and Dottie Jenkins have a simple mantra in life: When you find something that inspires you, support it.
That’s what the couple from Dartmouth, Mass., did eight years ago when they made an estate gift to Elon to ensure that future generations of students would enjoy the same life-changing education that their son, Matt ’09, did. Earlier this year, they elevated their commitment to Elon by increasing their gift after watching their daughter, Ellie ’15, discover her passion for serving others.
“Elon was a great fit for Matt and Ellie,” Dottie says. “They were both very happy, worked hard and were motivated to learn. They graduated as self-confident adults who knew they could make a difference and add to the goodness in the world, and we liked that.”
Matt and Ellie also learned the value of persistence, taking risks and resilience, which Dottie says has been invaluable as they pursue careers in screenwriting and nursing, respectively. Geoff, a successful business executive, admires Elon’s entrepreneurial spirit. “I’ve been involved with startups my whole life and what impressed me about Elon is that Elon has been executing its strategic plan and improving every year, from increasing in selectivity to strong student engagement to the development of the campus, which creates a wonderful backdrop for learning,” he says.
To show their appreciation for Elon, Dottie and Geoff named the university as the primary beneficiary of a charitable trust. By establishing a charitable trust, donors receive income for life while providing future support for their favorite charity or institution. “The trust was a very convenient way for us to make a gift that is meaningful and to recognize an institution that is important to us, and at the same time still gain some tax benefits from the funds that have been invested in the trust,” Geoff says. “It’s a win-win situation because as the donor you have a good idea what your annual return will be, and you’re building a charitable gift that increases in value over time for Elon.”
Also important to the couple was making their gift unrestricted. “It gives Elon the flexibility to apply the monies where they’re needed the most, and that changes over time,” Geoff says.
Dottie and Geoff have served on the Parents Council and are part of The Elon Society, the university’s premier annual giving recognition society. They are also members of Elon’s legacy society, Order of the Oak. The couple have watched with pride as Elon continues to set its sights higher each year. “Many schools sit on their laurels,” Geoff says. “Elon is always looking ahead, staying on the forefront and innovating, and gaining national recognition for its efforts, which is inspiring.”
Dottie agrees. “Elon is a great school, and we just see it getting stronger and stronger,” she says. “We feel that supporting education gives you a bigger bang for the buck because you’re empowering a whole generation to change the world.”
They encourage more parents and alumni to make Elon part of their estate planning. “We all think about doing this kind of thing,” Geoff says. “The next step is to just do it. It’s easier than you think, and Elon will walk you through the process. You’re never too young to start.”
Learn more about how you can make a difference at Elon with a planned gift by contacting Carolyn DeFrancesco, director of planned giving, at (336) 278-7454 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting elon.plannedgiving.org.