A Legacy of Support for ALL—Michou Yenokida
By Frances Badgett
Michou Yenokida began teaching older adults enrolled in lifelong learning courses in southern California in 2007. A self-described political junkie and retired adjunct faculty in counselor education who began her career in secondary education, Yenokida loves teaching a primarily older demographic.
"I enjoy teaching adults. The participants are engaged and dedicated. They read all the books for the course, they've worked in different careers, they've traveled. They bring so much to the group."
She was fascinated by the 2008 Clinton-Obama primary presidential race and designed a course around it for the University of Washington's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In 2014, after teaching at the Osher Institute for several years, Yenokida moved to Skagit County. In 2015, she taught her course on the election cycle again for the Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL), administered through Western Washington University.
"We discussed all the misinformation and disinformation in the 2016 election. We talked about social media and its role in the election-it was a good class."
Yenokida has not only been a dedicated instructor with ALL, but she has also been instrumental in providing and seeking financial support for the program. While Western provides administrative and logistical support and the instructors are paid a small stipend, the organization is largely volunteer-led. Yenokida hopes to see the program meaningfully supported, a desire that prompted her to spearhead the creation and initial funding of the ALL Endowment.
In addition to her work building lasting financial support for ALL, she also supports ALL with ongoing annual gifts from her tax-deferred retirement account. Her IRA provides current and future gifts to Western and will also benefit her in her retirement. She plans to gift the annual required minimum distribution to ALL and the balance of her IRA is pledged to ALL through her estate. People 70½ or older can make charitable gifts of up to $100,000 annually from their IRA. By transferring funds directly to ALL from her IRA, Yenokida avoids taxes on those transfers, reduces her adjusted gross income, and may also satisfy some or all of her required minimum distributions.
Thanks to Yenokida, ALL will have additional support to help fund the excursions, courses, interest groups and talks that make ALL so valuable to a population for whom enrichment and engagement is especially meaningful.