Invaluable educational experience inspires planned gift to Grinnell College

June 19, 2018 — In terms of grades or academic achievements, John Peele ’64 knew he wasn’t going to stand out among his Grinnell College peers of the early 1960s.

John Peele '64
    John Peele '64

But in terms of receiving an education that set him up for a happy and successful life, Peele would give Grinnell College an “A”. Peele is returning the favor in the form of a $25,000 charitable gift annuity to his alma mater.

“This shows how even someone who isn’t near the top of the class at Grinnell can come out a winner in life,” Peele said. “That’s how I feel, and because of that I’m ready to give back.”

A charitable gift annuity, or CGA, is a planned gift to the College. Donors transfer cash or property to Grinnell in exchange for a partial tax deduction and a lifetime stream of annual income from the investment.

Peele’s sister, Errett Peele Schmid ’60, has made two CGA gifts to Grinnell. Both siblings live in the Kansas City area. After Peele sold his business in 2017, he was looking to make some investments, and he remembered what his sister had done.

“She was happy with it, so when I received some information in the mail from the College about setting one up, I looked into it further,” Peele says. “I like the CGA route because it provides a nice return on investment and helps me fulfill the responsibility I have to the College for making a difference in my life.”

Peele grew up in Topeka, Kansas. When he arrived at Grinnell, his favorite part of attending the College was meeting people from other locales and backgrounds. It was eye-opening at the time.

He played on the freshman baseball team, and was actively involved in intramurals during his time on campus. His Cowles Hall intramural team won a trophy every year Peele participated.

Peele said the greatest skill he developed at Grinnell was the ability to think.

“Having the ability to think critically has served me well,” he says. “When I got to Grinnell, I was in over my head in some regards. But through coursework and the professors, I learned so much. The ability to think and solve problems stayed with me through 50 years of working and owning businesses.”

After earning a history degree from Grinnell, Peele went on to obtain an economics degree from Washburn University. He worked for Hallmark for 14 years before running his own businesses that focused on environmental cleanup and hazardous materials removal.

The CGA will support the College’s Pioneer Fund, which bolsters Grinnell’s operations and provides unrestricted funds for areas of greatest need.

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

To learn more about the benefits of CGAs, please contact Buddy Boulton, Grinnell College director of planned giving, at or 641-990-7128.