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Cynthia Schumacher and Nina Shuman
Cynthia Schumacher and Nina Shuman
Providing for Increased Excellence in Education

Cynthia Schumacher and longtime friend Nina Shuman spent more than 30 years of their lives as teachers. "Nina and I were blessed with the opportunity to receive an outstanding education," Cynthia says. "We believe that every child in this country should have that same chance." Though both retired in 1985, they have continued their work to provide quality public education through their philanthropic activities.

Most recently, Cynthia established a charitable gift annuity (CGA) that will ultimately support the College of Teacher Education at Florida State University. Responsible for educating teachers for service in the classroom from pre-K through grade 12, curricula in the college are built around three pedagogical arenas: literacy and reading, math and science, and special education. Cynthia's CGA will ultimately support the research, teaching and service being done in the literacy and reading area.

The path toward making this gift began in 1946, when Cynthia came to Florida State College for Women (renamed Florida State University the following year when the institution became co-educational). "Both Nina and I separately decided to become teachers," says Cynthia, explaining that though the two attended Florida State during the same four years, they did not meet until after graduating in 1950. "Since teaching is by nature an altruistic profession, helping others and giving back is not unusual."

Indeed, both women have given generously to their alma mater over the years. "During our teaching years, we were not working in a profession that enabled us to garner much wealth," Nina says. "So we began gradually. In recent years, we have learned more about saving and investing our resources, which has enabled each of us to support university projects or programs in a more substantial way."

In 2002, the two established the Phoenix Fund for Professional Development in Public Schools. Its purpose is to create working partnerships among the college's faculty and students, K–12 public school teachers and administrators, public school students and local communities.

As Cynthia and Nina have grown older, their thoughts have turned to other ways to give. The charitable gift annuity was particularly attractive to Cynthia as it allowed her to make a large gift while also providing her with some financial security. Receipt of some family assets made it possible for her to make such a gift two years ago and, through wise investing, to expand it again this year. Nina is planning to pursue a similar strategy in the future.

"Just as donating to scholarships and endowments are excellent methods of supporting the university, establishing a charitable gift annuity is another wonderful way to contribute," Cynthia says.


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