Careful charitable planning can allow you to leave a legacy to Carlow University and while also freeing up assets for your family.

Callaghan Society

The Callaghan Society honors the commitment of donors who have included Carlow University in their estate plans. The Callaghan Society is named for William and Catherine Callaghan, the benefactors who provided the means for Catherine McAuley to found the Sisters of Mercy. Legacy gifts provide essential financial support for all aspects of the University while they create a permanent  memorial to the values and interests of Carlow’s most generous benefactors.

A drawing of Catherine McAuley in black and white.

Tax incentives for charitable planning

One of the keys to giving more to your family is to pay less in taxes. By including a charity like Carlow University in your plans, you can significantly reduce or even avoid taxes, leaving more for your loved ones. Charitable planning enables you to create a charitable legacy that continues your giving for decades while it also helps you to reduce or eliminate capital gains taxes and/or estate taxes.

Types of Planned Gifts


A bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an advisor, you can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to family, friends, or Carlow University as part of your  estate plan. When you include Carlow University in your estate plan, you will become a member of The Callaghan Society. A bequest may be made as a percentage of your estate, a gift of a specific asset, or as a gift of the residue of your estate.


If an IRA were given to your family, much of the value would be depleted through estate and income taxes. By designating Carlow as the beneficiary of part or all of your IRA, the full value of the gift is transferred tax free at your death and your estate receives a charitable deduction. If you wish to leave your IRA to your spouse, you may also designate Carlow as the secondary beneficiary. Contact your account custodian to obtain a beneficiary designation form to setup a bequest from your IRA.

Insurance Policy

An insurance policy makes a nice bequest to charity.  As an asset of your estate, an insurance policy is taxable at your death. However, if the policy is gifted to charity, your estate avoids paying tax on the value of the policy and receives a charitable deduction for the gift. You may generally name anyone as beneficiary of your insurance policy and change your designation at any time. Contact your insurance company to obtain a beneficiary designation form and bequest of your policy to charity.

Charitable Gift Annuity or
Charitable Remainder Unitrust

A gift annuity is a contract where we agree to make payments to you and/or your loved ones for life. The payment rate is fixed, so the payment amount never changes regardless of what the economy does.

A unitrust is a special trust set up to pay you and/or your beneficiaries income for life or a number of years. It offers you more flexibility in the assets used and invested, and how the payments (distributions) are made.

Carlow University donors Thelma and Gregory Morris.

Creating a Legacy

Thelma Morris 1970 and Gregory Morris created the Thelma Lovette Morris Endowed Scholarship for African American Students through a gift in their will, known as a charitable bequest. The fund will benefit African American students in need of financial support. A charitable bequest is a meaningful way of supporting Carlow University, as it benefits our students, faculty, and programs and help sustain and strengthen the University for many years to come. 

“When I selected Mount Mercy, I said I wanted to be a name and not a number. I was a name, and people knew me. I wasn’t just another student in a class like someplace very large. We had great relationships and fond memories. For example, I saw Sister Jane Scully at a Carlow event, and I started introducing myself. She said, ‘Thelma, I know who you are.’ And she was the (6th) president of Mount Mercy!

Sister Rita Alice Fitzgerald prepared us so well that when I went to graduate school, there were many things I did not have to take because I was prepared. My experience there gave me a greater appreciation for the field I chose to go into. I really value the experiences I had at Carlow.”

Thelma went on to earn a master’s degree in speech pathology and served as a speech and language pathologist and assistant director of human resources for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

More Information

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Contact Us

Cara Kassabov

Vice President for University Advancement

Phone: +1 (412) 578-6294