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By Gregg Kleiner
It was 4-H that enabled John Hansen to enroll at Oregon State University in the fall of 1936. He had just sold two prize 4-H cows for $100, which would pay a good chunk of his $317 in expenses at OSU that year.
“Without 4-H I probably wouldn’t have made it to college,” said Hansen, who graduated in 1941 with a degree in crop and soil sciences. “A hundred dollars was a lot of money during the Depression. It helped give me my start at Oregon State.”
That first year at OSU was also when John met his future wife, Ruth, a 1941 business graduate. So in a way, those two 4-H cows launched not only his college career, but also a marriage that has spanned almost 70 years.
These days, John and Ruth Hansen, both 90, are giving back to their beloved alma mater in the form of gift annuities (four to date) — which will ultimately support an OSU program, 4-H, which is near and dear to their hearts, while generating significant and secure retirement income for the couple.
“Ruth and I are glad to give to OSU in this way,” John said, “because we think everybody wins.”
Through a charitable gift annuity, donors can give assets such as cash or securities to the OSU Foundation. The foundation reinvests the assets, and the donors receive a charitable income tax deduction and fixed payments for their lifetimes. Gift annuities can offer more security than many stocks and bonds and sometimes even a higher rate of income. After the donors' lifetimes, the remaining principal will benefit their area of choice at OSU.
The Hansens' gifts will support the Oregon 4-H Center, with which they have both been very involved. For 31 years, John worked for the OSU Extension Service, and Ruth has been a longtime local 4-H leader.
How did the Hansens decide on a gift annuity? “Well, we’ve been married for more than 68 years so we talk things over,” John said. “This seemed to be the way to go because it provides extra income for us, in addition to the gift.”