The Jesuit values instilled in Gary ’67 and Diane (Faudree) Buckley ’67 during their undergraduate experiences at Seattle University – concern for the less fortunate, for social justice and for taking personal responsibility to help build community wherever one lives – are foundational to the life they have built together over the past 50 years. Now enjoying retirement in the college town of McMinnville, Oregon, these two lifelong educators, with the help of a philanthropy-minded financial advisor, have found a way to affirm their values and give back like never before.
The Buckleys’ Story
Gary and Diane met at Seattle U, where she was majoring in elementary education and he was studying political science. Both were involved in several of the same extra-curricular activities, and they began dating. By senior year, Gary had decided to get a PhD and teach international politics. Shortly after graduation, he and Diane married and moved to Colorado, where he enrolled in a combined MA/PhD program at the University of Denver. The couple welcomed two of their three sons while Gary was in grad school.
Completing his PhD after a detour for service in the US Navy, Gary landed a teaching position at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and remained there his entire career. Son number three soon came along, and when the boys were old enough Diane went back to school, earning a Master’s degree in education at NAU. She worked in the Flagstaff Unified School District for 25 years as a classroom teacher and teacher/librarian.
Throughout their careers, the Buckleys remained connected to Seattle U through consistent giving to the Annual Fund, and campus visits during summer vacations in the Northwest. “We always contributed because we felt that it was important,” Gary explains. “We valued the Jesuit education we received, and wanted to support its continuation.”
In 2017, Gary and Diane decided to commemorate the 50th anniversary of both their marriage and their graduation from Seattle U by establishing the Diane and Gary Buckley Endowed Scholarship for Teacher Education in the College of Education. Their financial advisor guided them in making a Qualified Charitable Distribution from an existing IRA to fund their scholarship endowment.
“The Buckleys wanted to support students who are committed to the values of Jesuit education, and asked what would be most beneficial for the College,” says Deanna Sands, Dean of the College of Education. “When they learned about our new undergraduate and alternative pathways to teacher certification, they decided to define their scholarship criteria broadly. Their gift supports our vision of “meeting students wherever they are” by offering programming that aligns with students’ personal needs and interests.”
According to Gary, “You rob yourself of certain life satisfactions if you put off giving until you’re gone. We want to do something to make a significant impact on a young person’s life, and to be around to see how that person uses the boost to go on and do wonderful things. We’ll also give through our estate.”
An Easier Way to Give
Knowing that the Buckleys give to a number of charitable organizations, their financial advisor also suggested setting-up a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). This type of fund receives gifts of cash and securities, such as appreciated stock, and enables the donors to take a tax deduction when they transfer resources to the fund. Donors do not directly control the money once it’s in the DAF. Rather, they “advise” the fund’s administrator how to spend it by designating an eligible charity and the amount to be donated. The administrator then sends a check directly to the charity. The money remains in the DAF if the donor chooses not to donate in a particular year.
“The best thing about the DAF is that we don’t have to do any recordkeeping for tax purposes,” Diane explains. “At tax time, Fidelity Charitable Fund sends us a tax form with a summary of what has transpired in our account, and that’s what we file.”
“It’s just so easy,” adds Gary. “Our DAF has had an enormously freeing effect and the funny thing is, we’ve greatly expanded our charitable giving because of it.”\