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Cougars, Is Giving in Your Plans?

November 2016

Wes Mashburn Wes Mashburn met BYU through football team, and he and his family are loyal Cougar fans. Mashburn leads the Gift Planning team at LDS Philanthropies.

As fundraising professionals on the LDS Philanthropies Gift Planning Services team, Wes Mashburn and David J. Smith help people set up donations to BYU that involve more than writing a check or giving online.

“We help people accomplish what they want to do with their resources. When they want to bless the kingdom of God by helping BYU students, we help them do it,” says Mashburn, who leads the team. “To be able to draft an agreement that captures the essence of a donor’s desire to help is extremely satisfying.”

Experiencing BYU

Smith is a third-generation Cougar who grew up going to BYU games, plays, and concerts. In fact attending BYU is a family tradition. Smith’s grandfather taught at the Marriott School for 18 years and went on to work 18 more years in the university administration as a vice president. Smith’s parents, the majority of his siblings and their spouses, and his wife and her siblings all attended BYU.

“I don’t think I had a choice to go anywhere else,” says Smith. “BYU is in my blood!”

On the other hand, Mashburn didn’t learn about BYU until he was 12 years old. His dad took him to the 1980 “Miracle Bowl” in San Diego, and he became a fan and was determined to go to BYU.

David Smith Family David J. Smith loves family and basketball. He writes online articles about the Utah Jazz and closely follows BYU Athletics. Smith coordinates the Jesse and Amanda Knight Society.

Attending BYU was a life-changing experience for both men. “It brought me a whole new level of appreciation,” says Smith, who worked as a student caller asking alumni for donations for three years. “I remember speaking with alumni who gave even though they had reasons not to; their faith inspired me.”

While Smith’s journey with LDS Philanthropies started as a sophomore, Mashburn didn’t know anything about fundraising at BYU until he received a scholarship as a Law School student.

“That’s when I gained an understanding that all of this is not free,” says Mashburn. “There are people who sacrifice to make all of this happen.”

Coming Full Circle

Mashburn and Smith now work at BYU for LDS Philanthropies. They are on campus regularly and interact with students, faculty, staff, and donors. They help people like you make plans to support the university they love.

Smith says that some donors he has visited think their donations are inconsequential. “I know they are not, and I tell them so,” he says. “Every gift blesses the giver as well as the recipient.”

Mashburn says he’s awed by donors who make planned gifts. “They give their assets to help BYU, and I think it says a lot about how important the university is to them.”

Got Questions?

What Is Gift Planning?

Gift planning is planning to make a donation now or in the future. It involves the use of legal and financial planning tools. While there are more steps to a planned gift, the process doesn’t need to be overly complex. Planned gifts help charitable people do more with their resources than they think they can.

What are some smart gift-planning tools?

Wills, trusts, donor-advised funds, gift annuities, life-insurance policies, and retirement accounts are commonly used gift-planning tools; of course each has its benefits and limitations. To learn more and to watch short videos about these tools, please visit

How Do I Make a Planned Gift?

Start by visiting with your financial and legal advisors. They will guide you to which tools will best help you achieve your philanthropic goals. The LDS Philanthropies Gift Planning Services team is available to assist you and your advisors in the process; please contact us at 1-877-650-5377 or

Knight Society


Join the Knights

The Jesse and Amanda Knight Society comprises donors who have made planned gifts to BYU. Members are invited to campus each year for a thank-you luncheon. It’s simple to join; there are no minimum gift amounts and no dues. In fact, if you’ve included BYU in your plans, you are already eligible for membership. For more information please visit or call 1-877-650-5377.

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