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Gift Planning

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University of Denver
2044 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80210
Telephone: 303-871-2739
Toll Free: 800-448-3238

Meet Our Team

Jon KrausJon Kraus
Executive Director of Gift Planning
Phone: 303-871-4619




Jon Kraus joined University Advancement in March 2015. Jon is Senior Director of Development, Gift Planning, and works with donors, advisors and university partners to explore options for making tax-wise gifts that can have the most impact possible on the university and our students. Prior to joining Gift Planning, Jon was Director of Development for the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver from 2013 to 2015. Jon has 17 years’ experience in financial planning and nonprofit development at various for-profit, non-profit and educational institutions in Denver and Boston. Jon earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Denver and a Master’s of Nonprofit Management from Regis University. Jon enjoys reading, watching movies, hiking, biking, home brewing, and spending time with his wife Kristen and their three children, Joseph, Samuel and Magdalene.


Mary Pat BrennanMary Pat Brennan
Director of Development, Gift Planning
Phone: 303-871-4418




Mary Pat Brennan joined University Advancement in January of 2018 as the Director of Development, Gift Planning and enjoys working with donors, advisers and university partners to create a lasting impression on the University of Denver. Focusing on tax-savvy planning techniques, Mary Pat delights in collaborating with donors to ensure they create their legacy in a way that makes the most meaningful impact on their family, the university, and our students. Mary Pat brings 7 years of experience as a development professional, including fundraising for arts, cultural, and education organizations in both Denver and Chicago. Mary Pat earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Drake University and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University. Mary Pat lives in Denver with her husband, Calen, and their golden retriever, Stanley, and loves to read, volunteer and escape to the mountains whenever possible.


Karen  J.  ShawKaren J. Shaw
Director of Development, Gift Planning
Phone: 303-871-4591




Karen Shaw joined University Advancement in August 2018 as Director of Development, Gift Planning. Karen partners with DU alumni and friends to build your philanthropic legacy in a way that matches your passions to the university’s innovative initiatives. She brings 25 years of non-profit and higher education development experience to this role, most recently serving as Vice-President and Chief Development Officer of an Oregon health care system. Karen earned her BS in Home Economics and Communication from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and is now pursuing her Masters of Divinity with a Social Justice emphasis at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Karen’s passions include writing, jewelry-making, reading (especially mysteries), human rights advocacy, and spending time with her family in Oregon and in the South.


Linda MelickLinda Melick
Gift Planning Coordinator
Phone: 303-871-2739




Linda Melick has been with the University of Denver since 2003 and joined the Gift Planning team in June of 2017. She supports Gift Planning by focusing on estate administration and oversight of life-income gifts.

During her time at DU, Linda has always been in the Advancement division. Prior to joining Gift Planning, she was assistant to the vice chancellor and also worked in Principal Gifts and Advancement Initiatives. She received her degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Geneseo and previously worked in hospital administration, investment banking, computer technology and human resources. Linda lives in Denver with her husband, Jordan, and greatly enjoys reading, working out and almost anything that gets her outdoors.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to University of Denver 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 University of Denver, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 2199 S. University Blvd. Denver CO 80208, 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 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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 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 where you agree to make a gift to the University 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.