A history of generosity

Anne Irwin will never forget her 70th birthday celebration among the swell sharks and octopuses at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. It was a kind of homecoming for her.

Members of a select group of generous donors, she and her late husband, Paul Irwin, were part of the original fundraising board for the center. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her strong, consistent support of marine science programs at UCSC. And while students and researchers have benefited from her generosity, Irwin has reaped dividends of her own.

"I took my son and my two granddaughters to the Seymour Center over the Armistice Day holiday," she said. "They all loved it. It is such a beautiful, interactive place. Everyone was amazed at the ocean life and the blue whale skeleton."

The Irwins became involved with UCSC in 1992 because of Paul Irwin's friendship with California State Senator Fred Farr—father of Congressman Sam Farr, D-Carmel. "He said, 'Oh, Paul, you've got to come and be part of this foundation. You will really enjoy it!'" Irwin said.

Paul Irwin joined the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2007, and served as president from 1999 to 2001, when he co-chaired the Marine Discovery Center Capital Campaign.

In 1994, the Irwins funded a life-income gift known as a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) with appreciated securities. It will benefit the Long Marine Laboratory. In exchange, they were able to bypass capital gains, receive a charitable deduction, and increase their income.

The Irwins have contributed nearly $500,000 to UCSC since 1994.

In 2010, Anne Irwin made a generous pledge to establish the Paul and Anne Irwin Graduate Fellowship in Cancer Research. In 2011, she fulfilled this pledge by taking advantage of the IRA Rollover Program. Essentially, donors over the age of 70 are allowed to make contributions to charity directly from their IRA. Although they are unable to claim a charitable deduction for this gift, they are not taxed on the income derived from their minimum required distribution. Congress recently passed legislation extending the IRA Rollover Program throughout 2013.

The Irwins have also contributed to the Physical Sciences Building Campaign, a Library Subject Endowment, and the Leadership Opportunity Awards.

Anne Irwin lives in a retirement community in San Rafael, but owns a house in the Pajaro Dunes and supports UCSC in a variety of ways. She also recently made a gift that assists Watsonville-area students who wish to attend UCSC but are struggling to finance their education.

For more information about planned gifts, please contact Virginia Rivera, Director of Gift Planning, at (831) 459-5227 or