When Claire and Allan Jensen, A&S ’65, Med ’68, invited ten Johns Hopkins students into their home and then out to dinner, there was something unique about the group they chose — it consisted of six students from the School of Medicine and four students from the Peabody Institute. So how did the musicians and the future doctors get along??
“They didn’t know much about each other at all, but it just worked out beautifully,” Claire said. The groups shared stories about their training and their lives, and the medical students made plans to attend a Peabody performance.
Not only was the dinner a meeting of some great and very different minds, it was also a wonderful illustration of the many and varied ways that the Jensens are involved with the Johns Hopkins University.
Allan is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a former chief resident at the Wilmer Eye Institute. He has served a number of important medical organizations, including a term as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Today, at age 68, he runs his own practice along with Claire, who works in the office. With a location near the Homewood campus, they enjoy seeing a number of Hopkins students come through their doors — even if the students are just there to replace a lost contact lens.
Allan and Claire have been active members of the Hopkins community, serving on councils and advisory boards and giving generously to a number of areas throughout the institution. Recently, they agreed to serve as the Johns Hopkins Legacy Society Ambas-sadors on behalf of the Sheridan Libraries, a volunteer role to promote the importance of legacy giving.
The Jensens’ philanthropy at Johns Hopkins includes current gifts, life-income gifts and bequest commitments in their estate plans. In addition to supporting Wilmer and the School of Medicine, they have directed their philanthropy to the Sheridan Libraries and the Peabody Institute, reflecting their love of books and music. The couple is particularly passionate about opera and has provided funding for Peabody to host one of its two yearly opera performances at the Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric. “Peabody is the jewel of the city,” Claire said. “All those wonderful voices, all that wonderful music. We just want that to continue.”
The Jensens established a scholarship for undergraduate vocal students at Peabody, as well as a scholarship at the School of Medicine. They are funding both of these with outright gifts and through a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) — a trust that pays them a percentage of the value of its principal, which is re-valued annually. The remainder at the end of their lives will be added to their scholarship funds. Over time, the Jensens have made additions to the charitable trust to increase its the value.
Allan says the clear benefit of the CRUT is that it provides them with a steady income, but he also enjoys the ongoing communication that comes with it. They receive a check each quarter and yearly financial summaries and reports on how the trust is performing.
The Jensens chose the university to serve as trustee for their CRUT that benefits Peabody and Medicine (alternatively, they as donors could be the trustee, as could a bank, trust company or other individual such as their attorney). At the Jensens’ request, the university will assume trusteeship of a second charitable trust, which will ultimately benefit Peabody and another charity. Regarding his decision to make the university the trustee, Allan explained that he and Claire enjoy quarterly income at a competitive rate, and he values the expertise of the university’s management, investment and administration of the CRUT.
In addition to their charitable trusts, the Jensens have created bequests through their estate planning. For Allan, one of the primary reasons for making a bequest commitment to Hopkins is simple: longevity. Many institutions and organizations close or crumble, but he knows the university is not one of them.
“Hopkins is going to be here 200 years from now,” he said. “A gift to Hopkins will have long-term, meaningful usefulness.”
Claire also sees the university as a place where long-term impact is possible.
“For us, being able to help Peabody is being able to help the students — that’s the bottom line. The same for the Sheridan Libraries. The same for the School of Medicine. You help somebody come to Hopkins and get the best education and then they are able to go out and help other people.”
Through their many forms of philanthropic giving and planning, the Jensens have made an immediate impact on Johns Hopkins and will provide support to foster generations of doctors, musicians and young scholars to come.