Mother of Two Academy Grads Provides for the Academy’s Future and Her Own with a Charitable Gift Annuity

Kathleen BranchKathleen Branch might seem an unlikely candidate to make a planned gift to the Naval Academy Foundation in the form of a charitable gift annuity. She's not an alumna, and she didn't grow up in a Navy family. But that all changed back in the early 1990s.

The single mom from Minnesota was visiting Annapolis on vacation with her sons Matthew Zarracina, then 12, and Alan Zarracina, then 8. The two boys watched the Naval Academy Visitor Center film "To Lead and Serve" and were hooked. Both went on to attend and graduate from the Academy, and both became aviators—Matthew in the Navy, Class of 2001, and Alan in the Marine Corps, Class of 2004.

"Their years in Annapolis were just amazing," said Kathleen. "I had no husband or brothers, and the Academy helped my sons become men and realize their dreams."

Little did Kathleen know that her sons' Naval Academy experiences would have a transformative impact on her own life. Looking for advice on helping Alan navigate the typical challenges facing midshipmen, she was introduced in 2002 to Captain Daniel B. Branch Jr. '59, USN (Ret.). A widower and former nuclear submariner, Daniel remained very involved in Academy life as a donor, an Athletic and Scholarship Programs trustee, a Blue and Gold Officer and an active member of the Colorado alumni chapter, serving at various times as chapter president and Shipmate correspondent. Eight months later the two married in Annapolis.

"He was the love of my life," Kathleen said. The couple traveled the world together, making regular trips to Europe and coming to Annapolis several times a year for President's Circle Weekend (an annual event recognizing donors in the Naval Academy Foundation's premier leadership giving society) and for football games and other celebrations.

Daniel lost a battle with cancer in 2013, but Kathleen's relationship with the Academy and the Foundation continues. She is a President's Circle donor and recently became a member of the Robert Means Thompson Society (RMTS) by establishing a charitable gift annuity (CGA) with payments deferred to age 65. RMTS honors donors who have provided for the future of the Academy with a life income or estate gift.

With her CGA—an opportunity she learned about during a President's Circle Weekend planned giving workshop-Kathleen transferred assets to the Naval Academy Foundation and earned an immediate income-tax deduction for a portion of her gift. In exchange, the Foundation will provide her fixed payments for life after she turns 65. After she passes away, the Foundation will put the remainder to use.

"I want to be able to show my gratitude to a great institution that has given so much to me and my life," said Kathleen. "With the CGA, I am able to be generous but still make an investment in my own future. So I am happy, my tax accountant is happy—and the Foundation is happy!"


© United States Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the United States Naval Academy Foundation 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 the United States Naval Academy Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 274 Wood Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21402, 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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, 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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 the Naval Academy Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Naval Academy Foundation 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.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.