Leaving a Legacy: Dave Swinehart


A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Dave Swinehart followed his older brother to Colorado State University so he could be by the mountains. A double-major in anthropology and social sciences, Dave became immersed in his studies both in and out of the classroom. Dave's adventures while working for CSU's Laboratory of Public Archeology included backpacking over the Continental Divide as part of a public utilities contract to avalanche-proof high-power transmission lines and camping in a horse pasture near Craig, Colo., as part of a crew doing environmental impact studies for proposed oil shale strip mining. "These are the experiences that led me to want to leave an estate gift to CSU's Department of Anthropology, so that other students could have similar experiences," Dave says.

After graduating, Dave returned to Iowa and worked in sales for a number of years while actively volunteering in the community. Dave found his volunteer work to be so rewarding that he started thinking about ways to make a career out of it. "I was curious about the world and I believe everyone has a story to tell, so it's no wonder my career has followed a social path," Dave says. "It's all about relationships.

Shortly after Dave's career intentions shifted, he was given the opportunity to start a development program at the local historical museum in Waterloo. He went on to raise funds for the local community college and hospital, while serving in leadership positions in other nonprofit organizations, including the Hartman Reserve Center.

Despite working in a variety of fundraising arenas, Dave says his Achilles' heel was discussing planned giving options. "I thought it was complicated, and I was reluctant to talk about estate gifts or wills until I did my own. Once I realized I didn't have to know it all, that I just had to uncover a desire then bring in the professionals to cover the details, talking about planned giving became effortless."

As for Dave's planned gift, he has designated his IRA proceeds to the institutions that have been significant in his life, which includes CSU's Department of Anthropology. Dave eventually plans to endow his gift, which will provide funding for students to have access to continuing education, field schools, and experiential learning. Dave also gives his time, since his return to Fort Collins to be close to the mountains and CSU again, by contributing to the Department of Anthropology's e-newsletter and business plan designed to engage alumni and increase fundraising for the department.

When a donor provides a direct transfer from a retirement account to a qualified charity, such as CSU, the entire value of the IRA assets will go to the charity tax-free. In addition, the donor's estate receives a charitable estate tax deduction for the entire amount of the gift. Other examples of IRA gifts include a specific bequest to a charity of United States savings bonds owned at death, or the donor can simply change the beneficiary designation on his or her retirement account, e.g. IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or defined contribution plan. Your retirement plan administrator can furnish you with tate designation-of-beneficiary forms to complete. As in a will bequest, you can authorize a portion or percentage of your retirement assets to be shared by any combination of charities and/or heirs.