Charity Begins at Home
Burke, who taught history and government for 33 years at Chatsworth High School, wanted to continue helping students, and believed that the beneficiary should be the university that helped launch his career. After speaking with CSUN’s Office of Planned Giving about his options, he decided to set up a charitable gift annuity with CSUN.
The annuity, established for his wife, Carol, was funded by some appreciated stock Burke owned since the annuity helped him bypass some capital gains tax. Once the annuity began, the university started to give Carol a set payment that will continue for the rest of her life.
“I had a good education,” said Burke, a CSUN graduate. “When I went to school, it was dirt-cheap — I had no loans that I had to pay back. But my granddaughters are now paying a fortune to go to school. In a way, I’m giving back, helping a student to be able to attend CSUN, or helping CSUN to expand its activities.” Burke graduated in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in social science when the school was known as San Fernando Valley State College. During his time as a student, he discovered a love of public service, becoming active in campus politics, spending time on the student council and running for student body president.
After graduation, Burke remained politically active. He ran for the California State Senate, was the chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, and was on the Democratic National Committee. He attended several national conventions in support of presidential candidates like Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown.
After retiring from teaching in 1998, Burke continued his work with the Los Angeles Unified School District for another 15 years as chief of staff to board member Jon Lauritzen and chief advisor to board member Bennett Kayser. He also founded the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program for teachers.
In recent years, Burke moved to Oahu, Hawaii, but his heart has remained tied to the San Fernando Valley. Fifty-five years after his graduation, the names of the CSUN professors who made an impact on his life roll off his tongue. “One of the things that made my education so good was the professors I had — Campbell, Stelk, Fleming, Pitt,” he said. “I believe in education, and the tax break and annual payments from the charitable gift annuity made it easy for me to decide how to help.”
If you would like to learn more about a CSUN Charitable Gift Annuity, please contact June Penrod, Director of Planned Giving, for a free, confidential conversation by clicking here.