Sharing a bountiful harvest

Local farmer honors family with Washburn's first gift of grain

Eldon Gideon

Eldon Gideon learned the importance of farming and education at an early age. Recently he found a way to use his love of farming to support Washburn students.

The fields of Kansas have been a fitting place for Eldon Gideon's family to raise crops. The harvest Eldon produced last year turned into a fitting way to honor his family and benefit Washburn University.

Eldon donated 47,668 bushels of yellow corn, the first gift of stored grain to the University. He received a credit of $183,523 for tax purposes, the value when transferred, and Washburn kept the proceeds of the sale.

His unique gift is one example of how it can be easier to give from the cupboard instead of the purse.

"Rather than paying the taxes, I thought, it's just as much a benefit to give it to Washburn," Eldon said. "It's just another tool to use for contributing charitable deductions."

Eldon and his sister, Beulah Joy, ba '49, grew up north of Topeka with a love for livestock and farming but their parents made sure education came first for both of them.

"Dad was adamant that we get an education. That's all there was to it," Eldon said. "I have to thank him after seeing what it did."

Eldon got an animal science degree from Kansas State University, and Beulah earned three degrees from Washburn. She worked in accounting and retired as an employee in the state treasurer's office. Her husband, Phillip Joy, ba '50, taught high school math.

Eldon always admired his sister's hard work in the classroom and career. Shortly after her death in 2014, he donated more than $50,000 to create the Beulah Gideon Joy Foundation for Business Scholarship. He used a portion from his grain gift to fund the Phillip B. Joy Foundation for Teaching Scholarship at an equal amount, and he will use remaining funds for additional scholarships or programs.

Eldon's gift is one of many ways to support Washburn and honor a loved one through a transfer of property. Perhaps it's appropriate that Eldon's gift came directly from the land where he and his sister's appreciation for education was cultivated.

"Eldon's unique gift is a wonderful tribute to his sister and brother-in-law," said JuliAnn Mazachek, president of the Washburn University Foundation. "Washburn has a long history of providing quality education, and we are honored he used his gift of grain to give back to something so important to his family."

Contact Jeannie Shy at 785.670.2734 or jshy@wualumni.org to learn how gifts of your property and assets can honor a loved one and benefit Washburn University Foundation.

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