Gift Planning

Couple "Gives Back to Humanity" with Charitable Gift Annuity

Photo of Patricia and Henry Binzer
Patricia and Henry Binzer

Henry and Patricia Binzer, married for 60 years, have been together since they were teenagers. They have also had a decades-long relationship with the University at Albany, earning four degrees and a certificate in advanced studies between them. Now Pat and "Hank" are giving back with a charitable gift annuity that provides them with income for life while supporting the Internships in Aging Project (IAP) in the School of Social Welfare.

Social workers, Pat observes, are "so marvelous, so giving, and as we came to know the School of Social Welfare, we wanted to do something for the students."

In planning their gift, says Hank, they considered that "while we had a strong portfolio of investments, we wanted additional cash flow." So the couple met with Lori Matt-Murphy, UAlbany's Associate Vice President for Gift Planning, to discuss various avenues of giving. They settled on a gift annuity, in which the University agrees to pay the donor (and/or another individual the donor names) a lifetime annual income in exchange for a gift of cash or securities.

The arrangement pleases the Binzers. Their $100,000 gift is generating the cash flow they desired, but more important, "it gives us a chance to also reward people choosing to enter a field where they will not make a lot of money," says Pat. "It's a commitment to give back to humanity."

The Binzers have been giving back to humanity throughout their lives, both in their careers and as volunteers—and their careers started with UAlbany educations. Pat, after receiving a bachelor's degree in education from SUNY New Paltz, earned an MS in education and an EdD in reading from UAlbany. Hank, after attending the New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences at Utica, New York, and serving in the U.S. Navy, earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from UAlbany and later taught business at the University.

At the time there was no business school, recalls Hank, who witnessed the venue's transformation "to a full-fledged school of business." While he and Pat were students at the downtown campus, they watched the uptown campus being built. Hank says he had "a wonderful experience" at UAlbany, both as a student and as a teacher. After retiring from the New York State Education Department, he operated a consulting business for 15 years.

In Pat's career she taught elementary school and reading, was a language-arts consultant, and served as an adjunct professor at both The College of Saint Rose and Skidmore. In addition, she has been a commercial real estate appraiser, a real estate broker, a consultant for school districts, and a grant writer.

The Binzers also have a long history as community volunteers. Pat has volunteered for the Schenectady Museum, the Albany Institute of History & Art, and a number of other community organizations. Last spring her work on behalf of the elderly earned her the Third Age Achievement Award from Senior Services of Albany. Hank volunteers for a number of Capital Region charities.

Over the years Hank and Pat have maintained close ties with UAlbany and its School of Social Welfare. They've enjoyed attending convocations, lectures, and other University events, including a visit by former president Bill Clinton. Another highlight of their calendar is the IAP fundraiser hosted every fall by SSW graduates to support stipends for future students. The Internships in Aging Project trains students within the MSW program to work with older adults and their families.

The social work connection was forged by Pat's mother, who was a social worker in Columbia County, New York, for 40 years—and went on to have a second career in the same field in Dade County, Florida, after retiring to Miami. As a child, Pat would sometimes accompany her mother as she cared for "children, families, people of all ages."

That formative experience was matched by another one: The day Pat and Hank met. Pat (impressed by the cute new boy who'd transferred to her school in Chatham, New York, from one in New York City) and Hank (no less infatuated by her) figured out a way to sit next to each other and become acquainted. They've been in love ever since.


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