Bob and Jonel Curl's story is as unique as the way they have chosen to invest in our community.
Bob's father was a Methodist minister so when Bob went to the University of California, Berkeley to complete his Ph.D., he was instructed to look up the local Wesley Foundation and present himself as a devout Methodist. His now-wife Jonel worked at that foundation and the two got to talking. They soon discovered that they both had relatives from Center Point, Texas. They decided it was kismet and married in 1955.
In 1958, Dr. Curl joined the faculty of Rice University, where he would spend the next 50 years. Among Dr. Curl's many accomplishments during that time is receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. He and Jonel easily became part of both the Rice and the Houston communities, raising their two sons and investing in bettering the place they call home.
Bob and Jonel began supporting United Way of Greater Houston through the Rice University campaign and have continued to invest in our community through United Way after Bob's retirement from the university in 2008.
"We support United Way because it is a way to address multiple problems people have in the city," Bob says. "I really believe that United Way plugs a lot of holes that might be missed by other charities. We support other charitable organizations, but United Way is critical in terms of making sure that those holes are filled for people."
In recent years, the Curls have taken advantage of an IRS law that allows them to avoid income taxes on distributions of up to $100,000 to nonprofits like United Way.
Generally, a qualified charitable distribution, or charitable IRA rollover, is an otherwise taxable distribution from an IRA owned by an individual who is age 70½ or older that is paid directly from the IRA company to a qualified charity. Qualified charitable distributions can satisfy all or part of the amount of your required minimum distribution.
"The reason we use this pathway is that it allows us to make donations without adding to our taxable income, thereby preserving our standard income tax deduction," Bob explains.
Now, the Curls feel their support of United Way is more important than ever. "With the situation created by the virus, United Way is needed more than ever," Bob says. "I feel pretty strongly that charity begins at home. Especially this last year when things have been so grim for so many people. You can't ignore the people who are right around you."
Learn more about qualified charitable distributions at IRA Rollover (unitedwayhoustonlegacy.org)