Personal Giving Stories


Marianne Downey and Tyler Fitch Make an Innovative Estate Gift to UIS

Photo of Tyler Fitch and Marianne DowneyWhen Marianne Downey began her career at the University of Illinois in Urbana, she decided to begin a master's degree. She tried a traditional class in Urbana but soon discovered it just didn't work into her schedule. So Marianne applied for an online program at UIS - the Master's of Teacher Leadership (MTL) program - and today she is a proud graduate of UIS.

Marianne appreciated her educational experience at UIS so much that she and her husband, Tyler Fitch, decided to create a scholarship to help other students in similar circumstances. But how could they make a significant gift while maintaining their budget?

Tyler and Marianne solved this dilemma by purchasing a life insurance policy and giving it to the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF). Tyler and Marianne make the premium payments and receive a tax deduction each time. After they're gone, the insurance proceeds will help UIS students.

"This was a way to make an impact on a large scale," Tyler said. "We value UIS, and we get a great feeling out of giving back - especially to an area that meant so much to Marianne."

Like Marianne, Tyler has a reason to value UIS. In the early '90s he joined the excellent Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program at UIS, working one year as an intern and five years in state government before joining the U of I in 1998.

Today Tyler is the Associate Vice President of Planning and Policy Analysis at UIF, and Marianne is Director of Advancement for the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. They are pleased to be able to fulfill their philanthropic goals while also lowering their current income taxes, and they want you to know that the University of Illinois Foundation has experts who can also help you find a way to achieve your goals for giving.


The U of I Foundation gift planning staff is pleased to answer your questions and offer assistance at any time. Please contact the Foundation to learn more.



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