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Supporting Athletics, Building Birmingham

Don and Marsha Hire

Marsha and Don Hire, June 2017

If you didn't know otherwise, you'd assume Don and Marsha Hire are diehard UAB alumni.

And you'd be half-right, because the "diehard" part fits the pair perfectly. A steady presence at UAB athletics events, they are loyal supporters of the Schools of Optometry and Medicine and generous donors to the programs they find most meaningful across campus.

But neither is a UAB graduate, and neither grew up in Birmingham.

So what's the tie that binds the Hires to UAB? Turns out it began with Gene Bartow.

Don Hire, a Memphis State University graduate who met his future wife in high school in El Dorado, Arkansas, was working for Armstrong Relocation in Memphis in the early 1970s, when Bartow coached the Memphis State basketball team to consecutive conference titles in 1972 and 1973, and to the 1973 NCAA national championship game. "That program had been in the doldrums," he recalls. "It was a great time for the school, and my partners in the company were close to Gene."

In 1977, the Hires bought into the moving company's Birmingham office; shortly after they moved to the Magic City, UAB hired Bartow away from UCLA to create an athletic program.

"Because of our mutual ties to Memphis, we got to know Gene here, and saw where he wanted to go with the program, and wanted to be part of it," he says. "We were the first paying members of the Golden 100 Club in 1978."

Bartow served as the school's first head basketball coach and athletic director for 18 years, leading UAB to the National Invitation Tournament in the program's second year of existence. He followed that up with seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 1981 and the Elite Eight in 1982.

Every step of the way, Don and Marsha Hire were there—not just because of their friendship with Bartow, but also because of their growing connection to their adopted hometown.

"Back then, we were new to Birmingham, and met a lot of other people who were involved, and had a lot of fun attending games," Don Hire says. "I even served as president of the Rebounders Club one year. Gene had a vision, and it was fun to watch him succeed."

When UAB launched its football program in 1994, the Hires were among the first season ticket holders. "I feel that for the university to prosper, you have to have athletics for the students to rally around," says Hire, who played offensive and defensive tackle in high school. "Football was the culmination of several dreams, and we enjoyed being on the ground floor."

In the late 1990s, the couple was poised to return to Memphis, but ultimately declined. "Birmingham had become our home," Mrs. Hire says.

Their gifts to establish scholarships in the Schools of Medicine and Optometry were created through a charitable remainder trust that provided income for Don Hire's parents until their deaths, with UAB receiving the remaining funds. And when the opportunity to name the Student Athlete Academic Center was presented to them in 2008, they eagerly said yes.

"Both of our fathers went to college on athletics scholarships, and Don was born while his dad was playing basketball on scholarship," Mrs. Hire says. "College allowed them to be successful in business and in life, and so we wanted to honor our parents while they were still alive by naming the center. The whole family came to the dedication."

The Hires stepped up again to help fund the return of UAB Football in fall 2017, with Don Hire helping to rally other community leaders whose gifts have supported the new Football Operations Center and Legacy Pavilion practice field and other operational needs. "Bringing football back was not just about football," he says. "It's important to the community for UAB to continue to grow."

Over the years, the Hires have seen UAB—and UAB athletics—grow, and have generously funded that growth. "When we came here, UAB was a few buildings and a library," Don Hire says. "Look around now and see how everything has changed—UAB is in every direction, with more to come.

"It's an interesting success story, and being here to see it has been a wonderful experience."

Take the Next Step

Like the Hires, you can leave a lasting legacy at UAB. Every donation, no matter the size, makes a great impact. Contact the Office of Planned Giving at 205-996-7533 or plannedgiving@uab.edu today to learn more.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the University of Alabama at Birmingham 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the University of Alabama at Birmingham [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

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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 UAB or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

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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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 UAB as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 UAB 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 UAB where you agree to make a gift to UAB 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.

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