“Giving back” was a way of life in my family, growing up in western Pennsylvania. My parents were involved
in the Rotary Club, Women’s Club, volunteer fire department, religious organizations, and other civic endeavors
and somehow my parents also had time to work on projects and make donations. This became a part of life for
my sister and me since we merely thought this was how things were supposed to be. Therefore, as I got older,
I always volunteered, even through high school and college, in contributing to civic and other local charities.
Shortly after graduating from law school, I became a husband
and then later a father of three. When I was asked to make a
donation to a capital campaign at Western New England Uni-
versity, my initial reaction was to write a check for $25.
At that time, we lived on a single income, and I was wondering
how I would ever pay for college for the kids, the mortgage,
and other necessities of life. At the same time, I thought that
by making a contribution, I would be part of the process, and
“every dollar helps.”
However, being on the Planned Giving Committee of the
University, I realized that my initial check wouldn’t really go
too far. So I sat with the committee and we developed a plan
that would create a significantly larger gift to be made at a
fairly reasonable cost.
As I was relatively young and healthy, I considered the
purchase of life insurance, which would allow a relatively small
annual contribution to parlay into a larger death benefit (
hopefully not for a long time). The big advantage of this approach
was that the full amount of the death benefit would count
towards the campaign. Therefore, I purchased a $25,000 life
insurance policy with Western New England as both the owner
and beneficiary. In that manner, my annual contribution to the
University became a tax-deductible gift, and the University
received a guaranteed amount of future support.
Over time, I decided that I could make a larger premium
payment (tax deductible) on the policy so that after only several years, the policy would be paid up and I would not have
to make any additional payments. This was accomplished, and
the policy is now fully paid and continues to earn additional
benefits, all under the ownership of Western New England.
When I was asked to write this article, I reflected on why
I made this gift.
I make lots of charitable contributions, but if it had not
been for the Evening Division of the School of Law that
accepted me (as I needed to work during the day), I would not
have been given the opportunity to attend law school and proceed with a career in a profession that I desired. I felt that giving
back was important, and my contribution was one that was
motivated not for tax purposes, but rather, was a gift back for
the benefit of the University and the students. Ironically, during
the campaign, my firm, Bacon Wilson, P.C., also made a contribution to the University, which was recognized with a plaque.
Whenever entering the Alumni Healthful Living Center, I and
other alumni and staff of Bacon Wilson are proud to see our
plaque, and I am pleased that the School of Law has developed
from my days (remembering that the gym was really the
library) into a first class facility. Hopefully, all the other alums
will also join in giving back in the form of current and future
contributions. It really does feel good to make a gift! ◆
To make a gift today, contact Elizabeth
director of gift planning and stewardship
at (413) 796-2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org. *
Development Report By Hyman G. Darling ’77
Hy Darling ’77 stands by the Bacon Wilson plaque, which recognizes the
firm’s gifts to support the University’s Alumni Healthful Living Center.