How Donna Gurule Sold a Cabin Without Consulting a Real Estate Agent First

Donna Gurule

Dr. Donna Gurule recently sold a cabin in Big Bear and donated $10,000 to Loma Linda University School of Public Health. She loves the school, philanthropy, and traveling with her two twin boys, Evan and Ross.

By James Ponder

Dr. Donna Gurule recently sold a cabin in Big Bear and donated $10,000 to Loma Linda University School of Public Health. She loves the school, philanthropy, and traveling with her two twin boys, Evan and Ross.

Philanthropy is a way of life for Dr. Donna Gurule, assistant dean and assistant professor, at Loma Linda University School of Public Health.

But recently, when she realized the time had come to sell a piece of property she owned in Big Bear, Gurule didn’t consult a real estate agent or philanthropy official at first.

“I had to be at the point where I was willing to let it go,” she says of the cabin she and her late husband, Andy, had purchased as a weekend getaway for themselves and their twin sons, Evan and Ross.

Instead, Gurule took stock of the situation. The place had significant sentimental value for her and the boys, but it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to maintain, given the physical distance from the cabin to her home in the Inland Empire. So, she turned to a friend.

“I promised God that if He helped me sell the cabin, that I would give back,” she shares.

Once she did, things happened fast.

“It was the last of four or five properties that went on the market on our street,” she recalls, “and it was the first to sell. God took care of me and I kept up my end of the bargain, which was to donate $10,000 to the School of Public Health.”

Gurule—who worked with Albin Grohar, PhD, associate professor, and Olukemi Adeoye, BDS, MPH, development officer for the school, to establish the gift—has been involved with the school since 1993.

“My other job took me away for awhile,” she says, recalling the time she spent as director of environmental health and safety for Loma Linda University, “but I came back up here full-time in January 2013.”

Gurule also found other ways to express her passion for the school.

“I have a payroll deduction through the Grow Together employee giving program,” she adds, explaining that her contributions benefit the environmental health program at the school.

She also established a legacy gift to benefit the school. Todd Mekelburg, Director of Planned Giving explains, “Donna’s legacy gift is in the form of a beneficiary designation. This type of gift is easy and affordable, and will have a great impact on the school in the future. Her willingness to give so much, in so many ways, truly reflects her philanthropic spirit.”

“God entrusts each one of us with resources,” Gurule says. “How we develop and use those resources is our choice. And I choose to give part of my resources to Loma Linda University Health.”

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Loma Linda University Health 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 Loma Linda University Health, a nonprofit corporation currently located at (LegalAddress), 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 Loma Linda 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 Loma Linda 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 Loma Linda 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 Loma Linda where you agree to make a gift to Loma Linda 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.