The Legacy Bulletin – Jaxson Sudlow

June 2024

Scholarship Winner to Study Oceanography at UW

The winner of the 2024 Anne Murphy Ocean Stewards Scholarship is Port Townsend High School senior Jaxson Sudlow. At some point in the past several years, you may have been greeted by Jaxson as you entered the museum, seen him in full SCUBA gear helping to move marine life from the Point Hudson jetty prior to the recent construction project, or heard him speak at our recent auction.

Jaxson will start at the University of Washington this coming fall, majoring in oceanography. As a Port Townsend native, Jaxson’s entire life has been spent near the ocean, which has served as both a playground and a classroom for him. From an early age, he was captivated by the sea, kindled by family traditions of fishing, crabbing, and diving. His participation in a plankton lab at PTMSC at an early age opened his eyes to the fact that the sea is teeming with life, and ignited an interest in marine life that continues to this day. Jaxson will learn even more about marine life at UW, where he will pursue a marine science minor on top of his oceanography studies.

In PTMSC, Jaxson found a place where he could discuss and explore his wide variety of interests. For example, after observing an intriguing octopus behavior on a dive, he was able to connect with experts at PTMSC to learn more about this behavior. Having access to people with whom he could have such discussions was extremely valuable to him in fostering a passion for science and a desire to contribute to the growth of scientific knowledge in the future.

One of Jaxson’s most transformative experiences was his participation in the Point Hudson jetty project. As a volunteer diver, he helped relocate marine life to a new artificial reef, gaining hands-on experience in marine conservation. This project not only enhanced his diving skills but also deepened his understanding of marine ecosystems and the importance of habitat restoration. By facilitating this opportunity, PTMSC was able to provide Jaxson with practical insights into the field of research diving, which is his intended career path.

His senior year project further solidified his commitment to marine science. Under the direction of PTMSC board member Doug Rogers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Jaxson collected data on Washington’s market squid population. This involved fieldwork, data analysis, and contributing to research that informs sustainable fishing practices. This experience highlighted the intricate connections within marine ecosystems and the critical role of research in conservation efforts.

Jaxson’s experiences at PTMSC have equipped him with not only the skills and knowledge necessary for his future career but also the confidence and connections to pursue his goals. The Marine Science Center has been instrumental in transforming Jaxson’s passion into a clear career path, guiding him from the shores of Port Townsend to the vast possibilities beneath the ocean’s surface.

In every dive, every data set, and every speech, Jaxson carries with him the lessons and inspiration from PTMSC, a testament to the Center’s enduring impact on fostering future ocean stewards. We are proud of Jaxson’s accomplishments to date, and want our supporters to know they are leaving a legacy through Jaxson and thousands of other young people touched by the Center each year.

Legacy Planning Tip #4: Donor Advised Funds

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle that allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants to qualified organizations over time. DAFs are typically established by charitable foundations, such as community foundations or national public charities, and are used by individual donors, families, and businesses to make charitable contributions and receive tax benefits while also having the flexibility to recommend grants to the charities of their choice. Locally the Jefferson Community Foundation offers DAFs.

One of the main reasons donors use DAFs is the immediate tax benefit they receive. When a donor contributes cash or appreciated assets to a DAF, they are eligible to take a tax deduction in the same year, up to certain limits based on their adjusted gross income and the type of assets contributed. This makes DAFs an attractive option for donors who want to make a charitable contribution but also want to maximize their tax benefits.

Another advantage of DAFs is the flexibility they offer to donors. Once a contribution is made to a DAF, the donor can recommend grants to qualified organizations over time. This allows donors to take the time to research and carefully select the organizations they want to support and also allows them to spread their giving over multiple years. DAFs also allow donors to remain anonymous if they wish, and avoid the pressure of making a one-time decision about where to donate.

DAFs are held by foundations, which are typically established as 501(c)(3) organizations. This allows the foundation to manage the assets, administer the fund, and provide certain legal and compliance requirements, such as ensuring the funds are distributed to qualified organizations and maintaining accurate records of the contributions and grants.

Consult with a tax advisor to see if a DAF is appropriate for your charitable giving strategy.

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