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Donor Stories

1754 Society Milestone Member Supports Family for Years to Come

Photo of Carlos Medeiros

“The outstanding education I got at Columbia Business School was instrumental to my very fulfilling career.”

Carlos Medeiros has attended three universities, but it is Columbia Business School that has left an everlasting impression since he earned his MBA there in 1985.

“The one thing I really liked at Columbia—and had not seen before I got there—was the constant pursuit of personal excellence: to do the best that you can always,” says Carlos, a multilingual immigrant from Bolivia who worked for the International Monetary Fund for more than 25 years. “Columbia’s outstanding faculty challenged my capabilities, broadened my knowledge, and provided a very practical education that I have been able to use ever since I graduated from Columbia.”

So when it came time to evaluate his estate-planning options, ensuring the financial stability of his family while also supporting his beloved alma mater were important to Carlos. Little did he know it would lead to him becoming the milestone member of the 1754 Society.

Immigrating to America as a teenager
Carlos and his family moved to the United States when he was 14 years old; there was a great deal of political strife in Bolivia at the time, and his parents wanted him to attend school in the United States.

Carlos earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland in 1978 and two years later earned a master’s degree in economics from George Washington University (GW). He began his career as a research assistant for the World Bank, where he met Patricia, his wife of 37 years, when she was an intern from GW.

A long and successful career inspired by his education
After about three years in the work force, Carlos decided he wanted an MBA and intentionally chose Columbia because of the excellence of the Business School.

“The business faculty has been at the forefront of leadership, particularly in finance, for a very long time,” Carlos says.

After earning his MBA, Carlos worked in the financial sector in New York and São Paulo, Brazil, for many years and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—an organization of about 190 countries that fosters economic cooperation among countries—for 27 years. In his various capacities in the financial sector and the IMF, he worked on macroeconomic issues in the Western Hemisphere. During his career at the IMF, he also worked on financial sector issues worldwide. As part of this work, he led teams that provided advice to strengthen the workings of the financial markets in the Western Hemisphere and Asia. He supervised more than 150 staff members and consultants and retired as senior personnel manager of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department. He wrote or co-wrote some 70 papers on macroeconomic and financial sector issues. He is now an investor and author.

“The outstanding education I got at Columbia Business School was instrumental to my very fulfilling career,” Carlos says. “I use my education every day. That is the reason for my gift. It is also in recognition of the fact that Columbia needs financial support to stay at the forefront of business education.”

The trust that will support his daughter and then possibly Columbia
In collaboration with Patricia, Carlos has thoughtfully considered their future and the future of their children, Michael and Elizabeth. Their daughter, who was born with a developmental disability, has lived her entire life with Carlos and Patricia. To ensure she will be cared for over her lifetime, Carlos and Patricia decided to create a special needs trust. The trust, while designed to provide financial security for Elizabeth, could eventually benefit Columbia.

“We have worked hard to make sure that our financial savings cover Elizabeth’s financial needs and allow her to live well after we depart this world,” Carlos says. “If Elizabeth survives us, our wills trigger the creation of a trust—and when Elizabeth passes away, the trust will donate part of the remaining resources to Columbia. Of course, we do not know how much money will be left then, but our hope is there would still be important resources left.”

How difficult was it to set up the trust? “It’s very straightforward,” Carlos says. “We worked with a financial advisor and a lawyer, and we discussed it with the Business School. Columbia has always been a part of my estate planning, but we decided to make it more explicit than before. This was at the encouragement of Columbia.”

When Carlos informed Columbia of his long-established charitable giving plans for the Business School, he became the 1,754th member of the 1754 Society—a legacy society that celebrates alumni and friends who have made future plans for the University through trust, estate, or other planned gifts. The Society recognizes the vital role benefactors, like Carlos, have played over the centuries in Columbia’s emergence as a preeminent educational institution and the role they play today in ensuring its continued preeminence.

Carlos, who also makes annual gifts to Columbia Business School, said he was surprised when he was informed that he had been identified as the 1754 Society’s namesake member.

“Based on how much Columbia has meant to me, I am very glad that I am this member,” and then adds, “I know it is a privilege, and I hope I can live up to that privilege.”


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