Don (’60) and Va Lena (’58) Curran
“It’s an institution of which you can be very proud,” Va Lena said. “I have a special place in my heart for Gonzaga.” After all, it was the place where she received an exemplary Jesuit education and met her husband.
Va Lena met Don Curran (’60) in law school in 1953, where Va Lena was the lone woman in a class of 200 men. She and Don were married in St. Aloysius Church in 1961. In addition to both of them practicing law in the Spokane area, Don and Va Lena are actively involved in all things Gonzaga. Don is a Trustee and a recipient of the Law Medal and the Distinguished Alumni Merit Award. Va Lena, too, is a DAMA recipient, serves as a Regent and is on the Law School Board of Advisors. The Currans have also created an endowed chair in Gonzaga’s School of Law.
Over the years, Don and Va Lena have witnessed the transformation of their beloved alma mater. For instance, when they attended law school, classes took place in the evening in a drafty College Hall (called the Administration Building back then). Now the law school has its own state-of-the-art facility and the Currans are committed to making certain GU continues its upward trajectory by giving in creative ways like “laddering” three charitable gift annuities.
A charitable gift annuity (CGA), though very simple to establish, is a bit different from an outright cash gift. Through a contract, a donor agrees to make a donation of cash or appreciated stock to Gonzaga. In return, the donor receives an immediate IRS-approved tax deduction and fixed quarterly payments from Gonzaga for the rest of their life (or lives, as with the Currans). Upon the death of the donor(s), what remains in the gift annuity account is put to good use by the University.
“Laddering” is the establishment of annuities over a period of years. For the Currans, it creates a fixed stream of income while also leaving a substantial gift to Gonzaga.
“It’s partly altruistic to make a charitable gift annuity - it’s a wonderful way to help out a great institution,” Don said. “But at the same time, it sounded like a good idea to get a higher rate of return at our age. I think it’s a win-win for the donor and Gonzaga.”