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Planned Giving

Learning a Lesson and Leaving a Legacy

Jan Bilden

Jan Bilden '73

"This gift is in line with my values and anytime you can be generous you feel good about it. Giving within your lifetime can be minimal—I've been a teacher and counselor and making a lot of money hasn't been a priority. When you reach your 60s and 70s you realize that by living fairly conservatively and making a plan, you can have an impact and do some good."

Concordia College alumna and seasoned educator Jan Bilden '73, recently learned an important lesson that will impact others for years to come. When Jan's mother passed away, she and her three siblings had a daunting task ahead of them: clean out and sell their parents' home of 55 years and determine the value and distribution of their assets.

"That process spurred me to create a will. I realized that I shouldn't assume that my daughters will know what I want, and this will make it easier for them when I am gone."

As Jan worked with her financial advisor, she reflected on the forces in her life that shaped who she is. There were many, but Concordia College was one of the most impactful.

"Reconnecting with Concordia through the National Alumni Board was such a rich experience. It served as a good reminder of the value and benefit I gained from my education and the people I met."

Growing up in Northwood, North Dakota, among family members who attended North Dakota State University, making the choice to attend Concordia wasn't a given for Jan. It was her two uncles—Great Uncle Joe and Uncle Barry—who encouraged her to become a Cobber.

"My Great Uncle Joe was a C-400 member and told me that you never waste money spent on an education. Uncle Barry, a Concordia grad, said that I would like the people at Concordia, and he was right. I was surrounded by good friends and truly benefited from the great faculty and staff on campus."

Ruth Berge was one of those people. Jan had three years of organ lessons from Ruth, a woman she calls "a force to be reckoned with." To this day, Jan still plays the organ for her church and is grateful for Ruth's instruction and high standards.

Jan BildenHer experiences as a field hockey player, on the track and field team and conducting services at churches as a member of an outreach team were also rewarding, in addition to rigorous study as a double major in biology and physical education.

"I studied a lot! I do think my broad liberal arts education at Concordia prepared me for graduate school. The work I did on my graduate degrees was easier than my undergraduate degree! I also had the skills to apply to a variety of career opportunities such as parish education and youth ministry, writing, editing and research."

Jan has spent most of her career as a teacher and school counselor in Minnesota. However, she also worked in a publishing house as an editor and as a youth and education professional for a church in White Bear Lake. She has since retired but smiles and says, "I'm still playing the organ for my church though, so not completely retired!"

She is also an active volunteer and board member for environmental and health issues and enjoys running. Her most recent race was the Fargo Marathon 10k. Her daughters Rachel and Bethany, '05, keep her on her toes too. Jan says they are grateful for her decision to create an estate plan in which she has included Concordia as a beneficiary on a percentage basis.

Make sure the causes you care about are supported

You can be like Jan, and make sure your wishes are clearly outlined regarding your legacy. Reach out to Trina Hall at or (218) 299-3445 to discuss the best way to get started.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Concordia College 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 Concordia College, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Moorhead, MN, 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 Concordia College 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 Concordia College 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 Concordia College 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 Concordia College where you agree to make a gift to Concordia College 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.