Donor Stories

In Harmony: An Alumni Duo "Plays" It Forward

Judy Winn-Bell '62 and Steve Hayashi '62
Judy Winn-Bell '62 was the new girl from Hanahau'oli School when she first met Steve Hayashi '62 in seventh grade at Punahou. Steve was into theater, drama and photography. He spent four years working with the lighting crew on Dillingham Theater productions, while Judy was interested in music. A shared interest in the arts struck a chord and sparked a friendship.
Steve and Judy went their separate ways—one moved to the East Coast, the other to the West—but it was their connection through Punahou that reunited them and inspired a gift back to the place they first met.

Steve continued his love affair with theater as the drama shop photographer at MIT in Boston. At San Jose State University, Judy majored in speech and drama and briefly studied in Japan. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in linguistics and English language studies. At UCLA, she earned a master's and taught English as a second language, and Steve, after graduating from college, went to Northeastern University to earn a master's degree.
Steve and Judy remained friends, and when Steve moved to Sunnyvale, California, to work in the tech industry, he and Judy found themselves in the same state. A romance blossomed, and in 2000, they married.

Like many Punahou alumni, Steve and Judy had estate plans that included a gift for Punahou, but they had not informed anyone at Punahou about the desired direction for their gifts. Out of his appreciation for Punahou's performing arts programs, Steve's desire was to support English and drama. Judy wanted to honor stepfather Donald W. Bell, a faculty member at the University of Hawai'i—Manoa, through financial aid for students with parents who work in public education.

Fortunately, when Steve and Judy made a gift to Punahou's Annual Fund in 2014, they checked the box on the gift form notifying Punahou that the School was included in their estate plans. By doing so, they began a conversation with the gift planning staff around their interests for their planned gifts and became eligible for membership in Ka Punahou Society, Punahou's legacy club.

Steve and Judy's bequest intentions took shape in the form of the Steve Hayashi '62 Endowed Fund and the Donald W. Bell Endowed Financial Aid Fund. The alumni then decided to establish the funds during their lifetime with a five-year pledge, directing their bequests to eventually flow into their respective funds.

When Steve turned 70-and-a-half years old and it was time to take his first required minimum distribution (RMD) from his individual retirement plan (IRA), he elected to defer the distribution until the following year. He soon found himself facing a larger tax liability as a result of combining the RMDs for the first two years.

Rather than pay tax on the double RMDs, Steve and Judy decided to make a gift to Punahou, becoming eligible to claim a charitable deduction that reduced their taxes while also fulfilling their pledges.

Today, Steve and Judy are active members of Na Hoaloa, a troop of 20 ukulele players that promotes Hawaiian music in the Bay Area. Members of Na Hoaloa regularly perform every first Friday at Kawika's Ocean Beach Deli, owned by David Nottage III '86, in San Francisco.

Both are eternally grateful for the opportunities and experiences at Punahou made possible by the gifts of those that came before them. Recognizing how fortunate they were, Steve and Judy are paying the gift forward today and tomorrow.