Planned Giving

Planned Giving: Creating Your Legacy

Meet Jennifer Finch ’84

Jennifer L. Finch attended Avila University for her undergraduate degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Legal Studies, which she received in 1984. After spending her first year of law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she completed her legal education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, where she was recognized for outstanding service to the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

For more than 30 years, Jennifer has consulted with clients and helped them establish their personalized estate plans. She is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, where she still resides and is active in her neighborhood association and church.

Jennifer has been a speaker at many churches and community organizations and is involved in the Volunteer Attorney Project with the office of Legal Aid of Western Missouri. She was recognized as a Five Star Wealth Manager in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013 in KC Business Magazine.

She is licensed by both Kansas and Missouri and is a member of the Missouri Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Estate Planning Overview

Living Trust

Charitable Giving

Decision Making

Estate Plan Access

Getting Started

How Often Should I Review

Act Now for the Future

With gift planning, you can provide long-lasting support for Avila while enjoying financial benefits for yourself and your loved ones. There are several ways to create your legacy at Avila without affecting your income today.

Name Avila in your will

Student walking on campus framed by magnolia blooms

Planning for the future and creating the legacy you wish to leave is one of the most effective ways to ensure a lasting impact. Making a gift in your will or living trust, known as a bequest, is the simplest way to guarantee that your legacy endures. Your gift may be a specific dollar amount, a percentage of your estate or the remainder after all other provisions are specified.

How It Works
You want to leave money to Avila in your will. You also want the flexibility to change your will in the event that life circumstances change. You can do both with just one sentence.

For an unrestricted gift that allows Avila to determine how to use the funds based on the most pressing needs, use the following language for your will and/or trust:

“I give to Avila University, a Missouri nonprofit institution currently located at 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145, or to its successor thereto, ________________(amount or percentage of the estate or property) for its unrestricted charitable use and purpose.”

If you would like to designate your gift to a specific purpose:

“I give to Avila University, a Missouri nonprofit institution currently located at 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145, or to its successor thereto, _____________ (amount or percentage of the estate or property). This gift should be used for ____________________(state purpose, fund, etc.) if and so long as Avila University determines that the need exists. If Avila shall determine at the outset or at a later time that the need does not exist, or no longer exists or for some reason it is not possible to administer my gift as originally intended, then Avila may, in its sole and uncontrolled discretion, direct the use of my bequest for a purpose related as closely as possible to that stated above.”

If you have named Avila University in your will or trust, please let us know so we can ensure that your gift is used according to your wishes. Notifying us of your plans will enable us to plan for the use of your future gift. However, if you prefer to remain anonymous, we will keep your name and gift in strict confidence.

Please contact Amy Mullinax Drouin at 816.501.3727 or for more information.

Meet our donors

Betty ’83 and Bill Pitts

Betty Sinclair Pitts ‘83 is a champion of education but took a detour before she finished college and received her MBA.

Betty attended Central Methodist University in her hometown of Fayette, Missouri but left school after two years.  At age 25, she moved to Kansas City, where she worked in the telephone industry. She enjoyed her job and received promotions but noticed after five years she seemed to have hit a career ceiling. At age 30, with the support of her husband, Bill, she went back to college to finish her degree. Avila welcomed her with open arms. “I remember everyone being so nice and supportive. I also remember there were other students like me who had gone back to school to finish their degrees so it was a comfortable environment.”

Betty received her Bachelor of Science, Management Science: Administration, and loved the Avila experience so much that she went on to get her Master of Business Administration – Marketing degree.  Avila made it possible for Betty to offset some of her graduate school expenses by serving as a graduate assistant to Dr. L. George Smith. With her Avila MBA, Betty enjoyed a long, successful career with and retire from Hallmark, Inc.

“There is no way I would have been able to go back to school without people helping me with scholarships,” says Betty. That’s why she is establishing the Betty and Bill Pitts Scholarship with a gift to Avila in her will. This scholarship will help non-traditional students who have made the life-changing decision to go back to school.  People helped me; now I can help others.”

Tracy Carlson
Tracy Carlson ’76

From Homebody to Risk-Taker: A Tale of a Serial Educator

Growing up in South Kansas City, Tracy Henrichson Carlson ’76 always considered herself a homebody. She never ventured far from home and enrolled at Avila primarily because it was in the neighborhood. She knew she wanted to be a teacher and that Avila had a strong education program. Little did she know that this seemingly simple decision would change her life.

During her years at Avila, Tracy became friends with classmates from different cities and backgrounds, which sparked a desire to venture beyond Kansas City. Upon graduation, Tracy accepted a position with the Kansas City, Missouri, public schools, but that post was short-lived. She saw an advertisement for teachers to work on Native American reservations. Emboldened by her new network of college friends and her passion for education, she accepted a position on an Arizona reservation. For someone who had never left home, this was a huge step. Tracy hopped in her car and never looked back.

Tracy’s nearly 50-year career in special education spanned tribal schools, public schools, and Catholic schools throughout central and southern Arizona as a teacher, counselor, and consultant. She has retired three times but always returns to her calling in education. “Maybe this time it will stick!” she remarked about her most recent retirement.

Tracy credits Avila for her passion for education and serving those in need. “I was able to teach all grades with confidence, from Kindergarten though high school, because of the broad coursework offered by Avila. The Education Department was so wonderful, as well as the Psychology Department, where I learned various counseling strategies.”

As a way to give back to Avila and help foster the passion of future teachers, Tracy is funding the Tracy Henrichson Carlson ’76 Scholarship in her estate plans. With a bequest in her trust, Tracy has named Avila to create a scholarship for those students majoring in Special Education. “The world needs more Avila-trained teachers.”

Creative ways to support Avila

A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) provides you with quarterly income, an immediate tax deduction, and can be funded with cash or appreciated securities.

How It Works

You transfer cash, securities or other appreciated property into a trust. The trust then pays a percentage of the value of its principal, which is valued annually, to you or the beneficiary(ies) you name. Then the trust terminates, the remainder passes to Avila to be used as you have directed.


  • You receive income for life or a term of years in return for your gift
  • You receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of your contribution
  • You pay no upfront capital gains tax on appreciated assets you donate
  • You can make additional gifts to the trust as your circumstances allow for additional income and tax benefits

A Charitable Lead Trust (CLT) enables you to make a current gift to Avila while establishing a significant gift to children or grandchildren to be realized at a future date.

How It Works
You contribute securities or other appreciated assets to a charitable lead trust. The trust makes fixed annual payments to Avila for a period of time. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal is paid to your heirs.


  • Reduces the ultimate tax cost of transferring an asset to your heirs
  • The amount and term of the payments to Avila can be set so as to reduce or even eliminate transfer taxes due to when the principal reverts to your heirs.
  • All appreciation that takes place in the trust goes tax-free to the individuals named in the trust

Consider making Avila a full or partial beneficiary of your IRA or retirement account. Distributions from qualified retirement accounts to Avila pass free of both income and estate tax

Consider making Avila the beneficiary of your life insurance plan. You can also purchase a new policy and designate Avila as the owner and beneficiary. In this case, you can make annual cash contributions to cover the premiums and be entitled to income tax deductions for the contributions.

“Avila played such an important role in my life. My relationship with the institution, but most importantly the people there, are what I cherish the most. I am very proud to know that one day, my gift will make a difference for students that will follow in my footsteps.”

Belinda Troxler ‘88
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