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Planned Giving



  • Please contact Seth Speyer, Executive Director of Planned Giving at 202-885-3411 or

  • Office of Development and Alumni Relations
    4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20016


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Fellowship Enables Pursuit of Passion

Holly Wiencek

Holly Wiencek

Three years after completing her undergraduate studies, Holly Wiencek, CAS/MA ’16, determined that studying United States postal workers’ experiences was her true, albeit unique, passion. Initially attending American University as a part-time graduate student while working in web management at the National Building Museum, Wiencek enrolled fulltime in her second semester after receiving the Harvey C. and Sarah M. Moore Fellowship. This has allowed her to fully immerse herself in her studies, focus on opportunities better aligned with her goals and passions, and accelerated her progress towards receiving her degree this spring.

The Moore Fellowship was established in 1993 by Harvey C. and Sarah M. Moore to provide scholarship support to deserving graduate students studying anthropology. Dr. Harvey Moore served as a Professor and Chair in the Department of Anthropology at American University. This endowed fund was established during the Moores’ lifetimes and supplemented by generous gift through Sarah’s estate. Wiencek noted that the availability of a fellowship specifically for anthropology made American University stand out when she was considering different programs.

Wiencek first developed an interest in the Postal Service while interning at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and working on a project to document the extracurricular lives of postal workers. She later wrote an undergrad thesis in anthropology on the topic at Bryn Mawr College. After achieving a professional goal of working for a museum, she discovered that pursuing her research area had developed into her true passion. Through her studies she is now seeking to answer the question “Why is the USPS failing economically and what does that mean for American culture?”

Wiencek has found that postal workers are an insular community that often socialize together outside of work, forming bowling teams, bands, and other groups. She also notes that a 2006 law passed by Congress that requires the Postal Service to fully fund all pensions and health benefits for workers 75 years into the future, likely intended to garner public support to privatize the Postal Service, has had a deteriorating effect on the labor force. Wiencek hopes to become involved in advocacy for postal worker labor rights following graduation. “As I approach graduation from AU, I feel prepared to begin a fulfilling career advocating for social justice and reform” Wiencek asserts.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to American University 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 American University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016, 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 AU 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 AU 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 AU 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 AU where you agree to make a gift to AU 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.