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Hooks Estate Provides Support for UofM

Ben and Frances Hooks are providing support for future generations of UM students through planned giving from their estate.

Ben and Frances Hooks are providing support for future generations of UofM students through planned giving from their estate.

Although Dr. Benjamin Hooks and Frances D. Hooks never considered themselves wealthy, they were determined to provide philanthropic support through their estate to the organizations they valued.

After Ben's passing in 2010 and Frances' in 2016, the couple's estate made good on their promise. Their daughter, Patricia Hooks Gray, recently presented the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis a gift of $273,000 from her parents' estate. The gift is hopefully one of many as the Hooks Institute kicks off a national fundraising drive during its 20th anniversary in 2016.

The Hooks Institute for Social Change was founded in 1996 by Benjamin Hooks in conjunction with the Department of Political Science and College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Memphis. Its mission is teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change. As Patricia noted at a press conference earlier this year, "Educators, authors, leaders and community organizers have been to the Institute. They have given their knowledge, they have given their advice and they have given solutions to solve problems within the communities. Now we know that those things cost money and that's why we're here today—to get a gift that was left by them for the Institute. I believe that the gift will bring about social change."

Both Ben and Frances led meaningful and impactful lives. Ben was the first African American judge in a criminal court of record in Tennessee and the first African American to serve on the United States Federal Communications Commission. He was a confidant to Dr. Martin Luther King and a member of Dr. King's organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which focused on dismantling formal legal segregation in America. He later became the Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) where he advanced economic empowerment and racial equality for people of color and the poor. In 2007, President George W. Bush awarded Ben the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be awarded to a civilian.

Frances was a devoted wife for more than 50 years, serving as Ben's confidant, traveling companion, appointment secretary and biggest supporter. During her husband's tenure as Executive Director of the NAACP, she worked with local chapters throughout the country as national coordinator of women, which addressed vital educational, social and health care issues.

Making gifts from their estate was important to Ben. In comments made in 2009 on the University of Memphis campus, he said that while he and Frances had never been large wage earners, they had worked hard, saved, and planned to make estate gifts. It was important for them to do so because the civil rights movement had opened doors of opportunity for them that had been shut to African Americans previously. By leaving gifts to important organizations, the couple hoped to encourage greater financial support by African Americans and others to support those institutions that advance human and civil rights.

The University is honored to be home to the Hooks Institute for Social Change and to have received this generous gift.

"Their financial gift to the Hooks Institute symbolizes their never-ending support—not just to this University—but to the welfare of all,” says University president, David Rudd.

Leave a Legacy
If you would like to learn more about how you can give a planned gift to the University of Memphis, please contact Dan H. Murrell, CFRE at 901-678-2732 or dan.murrell@memphis.edu.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the University of Memphis a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to the University of Memphis, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 635 Normal St. Memphis, TN 38152, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the University of Memphis or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the University of Memphis as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the University of Memphis as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the University of Memphis where you agree to make a gift to the University of Memphis and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.