Joseph D. Lawrence ’54

Joseph LawrenceShortly after his 50th class reunion, lawyer, businessperson and educator Joe Lawrence ’54 remarked, “If you’re not inspired by what Deerfield is doing, you might want to think about coming back more often!”

Joe included Deerfield in his will many years ago.  In 2017 he also funded a Charitable Remainder Unitrust to benefit both Deerfield and himself.  The trust will pay him 5% annually for his lifetime, from a professionally managed stock, bond and mutual fund portfolio.  After Joe’s death the trust principal will pass to Deerfield to create an endowed fund in his name.  The Lawrence Fund will support the school’s historic buildings and landscape “in order to maintain the unique character of the campus as a legacy for future generations.” 

Why did he choose a Charitable Remainder Unitrust?  “Several of my long-term stock holdings were in companies that were targets of corporate takeovers that would have included large cash payouts.  While that can be a net positive for many shareholders, I don’t need any capital gains tax event forced upon me!  I plan to leave a substantial portion of my estate to Deerfield, so I don’t want a big and avoidable tax bite taken out of my assets.”

In donating highly appreciated securities to a Deerfield Charitable Remainder Unitrust, a significant percentage of Joe’s capital gain in the donated assets was immediately eliminated.  The rest will be included in his annual payouts from the trust, so he will report some of his annual income from the CRUT as long-term capital gain (taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income).  He was also able to claim a significant charitable income tax deduction in the year of the donation to the trust.

“This feels like a win-win to me.  Deerfield’s done a great job helping me set up this trust, and I was pleased to convert already-dividend-paying stock into 5% income.  Mostly, I’m delighted to have created a practical funding mechanism for the legacy I eventually want to leave to Deerfield.”