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Jane Atwood O'Connell

As a student at the Oshkosh Teachers College from 1931 to 1934, it is unlikely Jane Atwood thought about making a planned gift to benefit future generations of students. But, over time, that's exactly what she did. In 2009, the UW Oshkosh Foundation received a gift of more than $500,000 from the estate of Jane Atwood O'Connell, upon her death at the age of 94, creating a living legacy for future generations.

Jane's estate gift has been used to renovate the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh's Polk Library's 7,600-square-foot circulation area and lobby and to create an endowment for digital, educational and research materials. The bequest is the largest in Polk Library history and will impact countless students who use the library daily for years to come.

The library's circulation area received new flooring, seating and lighting, two stand-up stations for catalog searches, a new circulation desk and upholstered benches. Meanwhile, the lobby, which will be renovated in January, will receive a facelift that includes new graphics and seating for students.

"The gift allows us to transform one of the busiest study areas of the library into a much better learning environment where students can comfortably work alone or in small groups," said Library Director Patrick Wilkinson. "Meanwhile, funds from the endowment will help us provide students and faculty with the information that they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Generous gifts, such as the one from Jane O'Connell, help Polk Library support student and faculty success."

Jane was a member of the Rose Legacy Society, the UW Oshkosh Foundation's planned giving organization, which recognizes friends that include the University in their estate plans. As a student, Jane joined the Alethean Society, one the school's oldest sororities. She also was a member of the French Club and was elected to the Athletic Committee despite not being an athlete in the Girls Athletic Association. In addition, she was an active member of the Alethean alumni group.

Her future husband, Andy O'Connell, attended the Oshkosh Teachers College from 1930 to 1933. He and Jane married in 1946. Although they had no children of their own, they ran a toy store in Dayton, Ohio, for nearly 20 years. Upon retirement they moved to Florida.

"Mrs. O'Connell's gift is a wonderful tribute to the education she received at the University," said Arthur H. Rathjen, president of the UW Oshkosh Foundation. "By creating this endowment and giving funds to renovate Polk Library through her estate plans, she has created a lasting legacy that will have a tremendous impact on future generations of UW Oshkosh students."

eBrochure Request Form

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Contact the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation
625 Pearl Ave. Oshkosh, WI 54901 • Email:
Phone: (920) 424-2178

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to UW Oshkosh Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate for its unrestricted use or purpose or designation of your choice.

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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use or purpose or designation of your choice."

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 UW Oshkosh Foundation 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 UW Oshkosh Foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 UW Oshkosh Foundation 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 a third party where you agree to make a gift to UW Oshkosh Foundation and they, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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