A lasting legacy for learning
Richard Hovey loves taking pictures of the nearby mountains. For his wife, Sylvia Hovey, it’s morning walks in the clear desert air that she enjoys most about living in Green Valley, Ariz.
After 41 years in the Vancouver area, the couple moved in February 2021 to an apartment in a continuing care retirement community—thanks in part to a planned gift to Clark College Foundation.
The couple established the Richard H. and Sylvia Hovey Charitable Remainder Unitrust in 2018, one of many donations the Hoveys have made to the college since 2002. In addition to benefitting Clark College, the trust helped the Hoveys simplify their estate, receive regular income and lower their taxes.
Instead of selling one of their Vancouver rental homes, the Hoveys donated it to their trust.
As the trustee, Clark College Foundation sold the home and invested the proceeds, which continually fund the trust. A small percentage is paid to the Hoveys each year as income. When the Hoveys pass away, the remainder of the trust will pay for Clark scholarships.
“We have no children and few relatives likely to outlive us,” said Richard. “The trust is an elegant solution to our concerns about maintaining a home, paying the rising cost of our continuing care residence, and making financial decisions during our later years. And it’s a way to help people who need an education.”
“It’s been a part of our lives longer than any college or university we went to. It made more sense to go local,” said Sylvia. Over the years at Clark, the Hoveys volunteered, took Mature Learning courses, and enjoyed their Thompson Fitness Center membership and long walks on campus.
“We want to give back to the community that was so good to us,” Richard said.
The Hoveys built their careers around education. And that’s how they met, in 1970 at a Fullerton, Calif., elementary school where Sylvia taught math and language arts and Richard was the media specialist.
“To me, she was this beautiful, sophisticated woman I’d say hello to, but I was afraid to ask her out,” he said. And she wondered, “Why is he taking so long?” Three years passed before their first date. They were married three months later.
In 1978, the couple followed Sylvia’s sister to Hazel Dell, Wash., where Sylvia worked in her sister’s travel agency and volunteered doing clerical tasks for Clark’s Mature Learning program. Richard continued media center work and taught adult education photography classes.
Sixteen years later, by then owners of several Vancouver-area rental properties, the two moved to the city’s Central Park neighborhood. Sylvia worked at a travel agency for three more years. Richard, already retired, published a travel newsletter for architecture buffs and did commercial architectural photography. Soon they were spending winters in Green Valley, to be closer to three of Sylvia’s sisters.
As the Hoveys reached their mid-70s, “we were concerned about someday losing our memory and the whole scary picture of ‘Who’s going to take care of us?’” said Richard. In 2018, they attended a retirement workshop at Clark to learn about financial options. Then they read about a couple, Sanford Jones and Carol Ewing, who created a charitable remainder trust with a fixed annuity to benefit Clark College.
“Until then, we didn’t fully appreciate the details of a trust,” Richard said.
A good fit
The Hoveys met with Hal Abrams, J.D., LL.M., Clark College Foundation’s vice president of development, to discuss their personal and charitable goals, and better understand charitable remainder trusts.
“We encourage donors to also talk with their own financial adviser and do what fits their goals and needs,” Abrams said.
Setting up the trust “was easy,” said Richard. “Hal and the lawyers did all the work.”
The foundation pools funds and oversees top investors who successfully manage a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds.
“While we hope that our trust account’s value continues to go up,” Richard said, “we do have other income to carry us through a down market.”
In September, the Hoveys added their two remaining Vancouver rental houses to their trust, again avoiding taxes on the sale and greatly increasing their income. They’re financially set for the rest of their lives, while leaving a lasting legacy for Clark students.
“If we don’t have educated citizens, we’re going to have a much bleaker and more dangerous future,” said Richard. “Education helps people make better decisions, and be more successful and responsible. It’s crucial to the advancement of a community, state, country and the world.”
Claire Sykes is a Portland, Ore., writer whose articles appear in Philanthropy, Ruralite, Communication Arts, Chamber Music Magazine and many alumni publications including Clark Partners, Western Washington University’s Window and Washington State Magazine. Visit her online at www.sykeswrites.com