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In Sports and Philanthropy, Timing Matters – Just Ask Jim Jones

Give to Appalachian | Appalachian Today

Jim and Elaine Jones

Jim Jones understands the importance of giving wisely. The former Appalachian athletics director, tennis coach and professor of accounting knows that timing matters – whether in recruiting, perfecting a serve, or in making a gift to Appalachian. In these economically trying times, his method for supporting Appalachian might also be of interest to others.

As an athletics administrator, Jones was one of the founders of the Yosef Club, which provides scholarship assistance to student-athletes. Even after retiring, Jones and his wife, Elaine ’61, continue donating to many worthy causes at Appalachian. In addition to their personal gifts, they established two endowed scholarships in Jones’s name. The first provides scholarship support to the varsity tennis program. The second provides financial aid to accounting majors in the Walker College of Business (80 percent) and also tennis scholarships (20 percent).

The Joneses utilize a strategy for providing future support for these endowments through their establishment of charitable gift annuities with the Appalachian State University Foundation Inc. These charitable gift annuities provide annual payments for life to an individual of their choice. The donations used to establish the annuities qualify for charitable tax deductions in the year of the gifts, and a portion of the annuity payments are tax-free to the recipient. Upon the death of the last surviving income recipient, the remaining funds will be applied to the endowed scholarships.

For the Joneses, giving wisely involves some strategic planning and an astute sense of timing. As with many older taxpayers with mortgage-free homes, the couple would normally take the standard deduction because itemizing charitable contributions, taxes, medical expenses, etc., would not lessen their income tax liability. However, given Jim’s accounting background, and the fact that he and his wife are loyal supporters of Appalachian, they time their larger gifts to Appalachian to occur in odd-numbered years (e.g., 2007 and 2009, etc.). They also paid their 2008 property taxes just before the Jan. 5, 2009, deadline, and will pay their 2009 property taxes by December 2009, essentially “doubling-up” on this significant expense in a single year. State estimated taxes can also be “doubled” in this manner — to a lesser degree.

This approach enables them to maximize their allowable itemized deductions on their 2009 tax returns, thereby qualifying for a greater income tax deduction in 2009 and other odd-numbered years. They take the standard deduction in the even-numbered year when allowable deductions are much lower. (Note: A recent change in the law allows a $500 per person deduction for property taxes paid in addition to the standard deduction).

“It is important to know that anyone can make regular gifts to Appalachian through charitable gift annuities, and receive lifetime benefits. It’s also comforting to know that the scholarship endowments will receive additional funding after we are gone. It pays to plan ahead and more importantly, to include Appalachian in our charitable and tax planning strategies,” Jones said.

You can establish a charitable gift annuity with an initial gift of $10,000, and receive payments for the lives of one or two donors. Additional annuities can be created for any amount over $1,000. If you would like to explore creating a charitable gift annuity at Appalachian, or providing for a bequest to Appalachian through your estate, contact Geoff Graham, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Gift Planning and Real Estate Management, at 828-262-4023 or

For free, informative brochures on planned giving, visit the following links:

The ABC’s of Planned Giving

Organizing Your Estate Documents