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Tara Gagne

Memories, Ministry and Munificence: Touchstone to the Past, Springboard to the Future

Tara Gagne

Tara Gagne with her husband, Scott, and 3 children

Tara Gagne's memories of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh began much earlier than her freshman year at college. As a 3-year-old, she lived on Florida Avenue in Oshkosh with her parents, William '75 and Joy Vanden Heuvel.

Tara, '93, '98, warmly recalls riding on the back of her father's bike on campus when he was a student at UW Oshkosh. She attended day care at the Newman Center, a campus ministry that helps students develop a faith that is the center of their lives. And she still remembers people cheering during Winter Carnival and her wide-eyed excitement when her tricycle was used during the competition.

In Dad's Footsteps
Following in her father's footsteps, it seemed natural for Tara to enroll at UW Oshkosh. By then, the family had moved to Wausau. UW Oshkosh was far enough away from home yet close enough to family.

She loved learning and applying knowledge. She thrived while student teaching because she could build on the solid foundation she gained, take charge and move to the next level.

As president of the Student Council for Exceptional Children, Tara used her marketing skills gained at UW Oshkosh to create fundraising activities and foster awareness for special education. She remembers trips taken with the Ski Heilers Club and the lifelong friends she made at UW Oshkosh.

Tara was named outstanding senior and outstanding senior in special education. She graduated with a bachelor's in special education in 1993. She returned to campus and earned a master's degree in educational leadership in 1998.

The Part That Newman Plays
The Newman Center continued to play an important role in Tara's life. As a student, it became the source of her spiritual ministry. She was inspired by the leadership of Rev. Jeff Vanden Heuvel, who later conducted the marriage ceremony of Tara and her husband, Scott.

Enlightened and inspired by the Christian values she embraced at UW Oshkosh, Tara incorporated them into her life and passed them onto her children, Carter, Spencer and Sydney. Further, she integrated them into her profession of teaching autistic children and service through mission work.

Giving Matters
Tara is grateful for her UW Oshkosh experiences. She recognizes that others gave gifts to further her education. Based on her belief of giving back, it was natural for her to create a bequest in her will to her alma mater.

Her estate gift will provide scholarships to special education students and benefit the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association, of which she was a board member from 1993 to 2000.

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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