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Former President Donates Life Insurance

By April Marciszewski

Former Oklahoma City University President Burger has purchased a $3 million life insurance policy naming OCU as the beneficiary. The proceeds will be an unrestricted gift to university operations.

“This gift is transformational for OCU,” President Kenneth Evans said. “Unrestricted resources are critical for the ongoing health of the institution, and Martha’s generosity will help ensure that OCU can continue to provide exceptional educational opportunities. This gift is so very special, coming from the past leader of OCU.”

Burger (MBA ’92), who retired as president in June, had intended for years to include OCU in her long-term financial plans. She said she believes in giving back to institutions that helped her.

“The only reason I’m in a position to give back is because institutions like OCU gave me the tools to succeed,” she said. “I want OCU to be one of the cornerstones that helps Oklahoma City demonstrate it is a top-tier city,” said Burger. “I believe every city needs a great private university. For me, that’s OCU. Having a great private university in the heart of Oklahoma City helps the city to attract new business and resonates with creatives who want to see a strong commitment to the arts.”

Burger described OCU as unique because it is both a destination university — for performing arts students, for example — as well as a place where local residents can study and develop the skills they need. She wanted to donate without strings attached after having served as president.

“Of course we celebrated each and every gift, but an unrestricted gift always caused me to give an extra cheer,” Burger said. “An unrestricted gift meant that the funds could be used for things that might not otherwise get funded.”

Burger hopes her gift will inspire others to think about the many ways they can donate to OCU. The university owns the policy, and Burger donates the annual premium in a setup that guarantees the money to OCU in a way that wills — which can be rewritten — sometimes do not. It also gives Burger a tax deduction, and it will leverage her payments to provide an even larger sum to OCU when she dies. Because it is not part of her estate, estate taxes will not be deducted from the amount OCU receives.

“If I were 25 and doing this, the premium would probably be $500,000” for a $3 million policy, she said. “The younger and healthier you are, the less expensive it will be.”

Alan Herndon, OCU director of planned giving, said that if 10 people made similar donations, “it would take OCU to the next level.”

Donors have a variety of planned giving options to accomplish a range of financial goals. Examples include gifts of retirement plan assets, bequests, charitable trusts and more.

Many types of assets can be structured as planned or estate gifts. More information is available at oculegacy.org.

Burger underwent exams to determine her physical fitness for the policy. She couldn’t choose just any charity as the recipient — it had to be one she had supported long-term.

“There are so many ways that I have been entwined with OCU that this seemed like a logical next step,” she said. “I went to graduate school here, and my partner attended undergraduate and graduate school at OCU; I gave my heart and soul to working to move the university forward.”

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