Richters create gratifying estate gift

Len and Terry Richter

Len and Terry Richter have created a scholarship for non-traditional students seeking a communications degree at Washburn.

With the right guidance, creating an estate plan can be a satisfying experience that assures what you leave behind makes a difference for future generations.

Len and Terry, bba '91, Richter raised a family, grew their careers and then retired in Topeka. Washburn University has been a part of their life since Terry started seeking a management degree in 1985 and Len worked as an officer with the WU Police Department from 2002-2005. They regularly attend athletic and music events, as well as Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation events.

"Getting invited to those events reminds us that Washburn thinks we're as important to them as we feel they are to us," Len said. "They make us feel that we matter."

The Richters, who financially support KTWU, athletics and various academic departments, never considered an estate gift until meeting a Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation senior development director, Randall Scott, at After Hours, Washburn's monthly alumni social. During subsequent meetings with him, the Richters realized it was possible to have the surviving spouse commit to a scholarship through their estate at the end of life while also protecting their current assets during their remaining life. The scholarship is reliant on having assets available when the surviving spouse passes. If funds are exhausted, nothing happens. They explained the idea to their daughter, Elissa Moore, ba '08, who would handle their estate, and she was on board immediately.

"We felt very comfortable with the whole process," Terry said.

Len was an accountant for 31 years with the federal government. He now works part time as a police officer with the Kansas Capitol Police. Terry worked with the United States Department of Justice for 26 years. She earned her degree as a working mother, and Elissa earned her communication degree the same way. The scholarship will go to non-traditional students seeking a communication degree.

"After Len and I got married, family and friends kept asking me if I was going to get my degree," Terry recalled. "I replied, ‘I'll go when the time is right.' One day I got up and said, ‘The time is right.'"

Washburn academic advisors helped Terry balance school, work and home. Elissa relied on financial aid and various scholarships to pay for her education. A scholarship to help non-traditional students seemed the perfect gift, and the Richters felt that the financial impact of their gift would be protected forever. The value of the scholarship grows as a portion of the earnings is reinvested to protect the integrity of the gift and promote growth in perpetuity, even if no additional funds are contributed.

“Sit down with somebody from the Foundation to discuss what an endowed scholarship can do in perpetuity — it creates a profound moment in your life.”
—Len Richter

"Washburn University is always going to be here," Len said. "Every year someone is going to have it just a little bit easier financially because we made this decision."

"It doesn't matter that we aren't leaving a huge sum," Terry said. "What is important is that we made a decision to assist Washburn students long after we are gone."

"Sit down with somebody from the Foundation to discuss what an endowed scholarship can do in perpetuity - it creates a profound moment in your life," Len said. "You realize that, by planning now, future Washburn students can devote more time to their studies and less time worrying about finding ways to pay for their education."

If you are interested in funding an endowed scholarship or another gift to Washburn in your estate, contact Jeannie Shy at 785.670.2734 or jshy@wualumni.org.

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