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A Stanford Family Tree
Just before he graduated from Stanford, Peter Gifford, '97, MBA '04, jumped into the "Claw" fountain in White Plaza, celebrating a record-setting Senior Gift fundraising campaign. Thoroughly soaked, he and his Senior Gift co-chairs proceeded to bring the good news over to the president's office, where they found then-provost Condoleezza Rice.
"We all got hugs in our wet clothes," he says. It wasn’t the first time or the last that Peter and his family helped win support for Stanford. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Karl P. Grube, '35, MS '36, whose family tree bears a multitude of Stanford degrees earned by his son and daughter-in-law, his son-in-law, and his four grandchildren. Now Peter has become the third generation of the Grube/Gifford family to give back to Stanford by making a planned gift.
A Stanford Rough
Karl Grube's love of the university began with his days as a Stanford "Rough" dressed in dusty corduroys.
An aeronautical engineering alum, he later led his family's office furniture business in Illinois. However, "he was a Stanford engineer through and through," says his son John Grube, '70. "He even courted my mother in the wind tunnel." He went on to win the Stanford Associates' Outstanding Achievement Award for his volunteer work for the university.
Karl's loyalty to Stanford had a strong impact on all around him. Family legend has it that his two children could say "Stanford" before "Dad." He encouraged his son John and family friend Jonathan B. Gifford, '64, MAR '66, to attend the university. Later, his daughter Betsy married Jon, and their two children, Peter and older brother Jonathan K. Gifford, '95, both graduated from Stanford.
But Karl did more than recruit students and pursue major gifts for Stanford in Illinois. He also took advantage of estate planning to help Stanford.
In his work, Karl believed in interdisciplinary approaches to research and problem solving, and at Stanford, he recognized the same strengths. "Dad historically championed multidisciplinary research. He felt very strongly that projects and research should be across departments and inter-schools. He saw that Stanford was in the vanguard of collaboration," says Betsy Grube Gifford, herself a longtime supporter of athletics, the arts, and the medical center at Stanford.
That vision of collaboration was at the heart of the bequest he crafted before his death in 1989. By leaving a portion of his estate, together with the remainder of a life income gift he had established during his lifetime, to Stanford's School of Engineering, the Karl P. Grube Laboratory in the Thornton Center became a reality. It is the home of the Smart Product Design Lab, which has helped propel Stanford to the forefront of multidisciplinary research.
From Volunteer to Donor
The example set by Karl was soon followed by the second generation. His son John and his wife, Ann, '74, became committed Stanford volunteers and, in 1999, planned giving donors. A retired bank executive, John served on the staff of the dean of students from 1970 to 1972 and has supported the university ever since, receiving the Governor's Award in 2012. Ann, an Associates' Award recipient, comes from a Stanford family as well—her father, Robert Elliott, '42, LLB '49, was an alumnus and her great-uncle was Fred Glover, '33, an aide to four Stanford presidents and Gold Spike awardee. The couple's children, Katie, '04, and Rob, '08, were accomplished Stanford student-athletes in lacrosse and golf.
John and Ann created a charitable remainder trust, a gift that provides payments to its beneficiaries for life. At the end of the trust term, part of the remainder will be distributed to Stanford. "Stanford was so important to our family that it was just natural to give back," Ann says.
Fountain of Youth
For Peter Gifford—that one-time fountain hopper—the notion of an estate gift arose as he approached his reunion this year. A partner at a private investment office in Palo Alto, he had served his undergraduate class as co-chair for his 5th reunion, a leadership gift committee member for his 10th and 15th, as well as co-chair of the participation committee for his 15th.
Along the way, he had garnered an Outstanding Achievement Award of his own. And he shared his grandfather's confidence in Stanford's power to spark innovation. "I believe the university is well positioned to find creative solutions to the many challenges we face," he says.
Like his grandfather, Peter decided to include a bequest to Stanford in his estate plans. When he informed Stanford’s Planned Giving staff of his plans, he was invited to become a member of Stanford's Founding Grant Society, an association established to honor those who have provided for future gifts for Stanford.
Maybe it's his family tree, with its deep roots at the university, that has given Peter such a long-term perspective on giving. He's thinking not only of the story that began with his grandfather, but also future generations, he says.
"Stanford is going to be a good steward of our assets for generations to come."