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Nancy '86 & Ivan Mailhot

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A Family Affair
April 2012

Except for the desert tortoise, just about everyone else in the Fiacco and Mailhot families has a tie to Clarkson. At least that’s how it seems when you speak with Nancy and Ivan.

Nancy Fiacco ’86 and Ivan Mailhot both grew up in Massena, NY. Nancy and her three brothers (Michael ’81, Joe ’82, and Bill ’83) all attended Clarkson, and both Nancy and Ivan have connections to Clarkson through extended family members, but they didn’t meet until after Nancy graduated from Clarkson.  They actually met in Boston when a group of former Massena friends met at Faneuil Hall.  After marrying in 1989, Nancy’s career eventually took them to Owens Corning in Granville, OH, where she was Director of Strategic Sourcing, then to Phelps Dodge Mining Company in Phoenix, AZ, where she was Vice President for Global Supply Chain and then Senior Vice President for Human Resources, and now most recently to P. F. Chang China Bistro in Scottsdale, AZ, where she serves as the company’s Chief People Officer.

It was after the move to Arizona that the Mailhot family was adopted by the desert tortoise, Darwin, who keeps in touch through periodic appearances in their backyard.

The desire to support Clarkson and at the same time recognize her parents resulted in an inspired decision for Nancy and Ivan. “We wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Clarkson for my great education and ‘thank you’ to my parents for making it all possible,” said Nancy. “But how do you do that in a meaningful way, and frankly, in a way that blends into your financial picture?” A conversation with the Annie Clarkson Society provided the answer. “We discussed a range of possibilities,” said Nancy. “When we talked about charitable gift annuities it clicked. We could make a gift to Clarkson, provide income to my mother, and generate an income tax benefit for us. It fits our goals perfectly.”

“Our discussions with the Annie Society allowed us to explore options in a collaborative environment. It’s like having your own philanthropic advisor,” said Ivan. “We crafted a plan that will meet our family, financial and philanthropic planning goals. This plan allows us to create several annuities, and someday the remainders will be used at Clarkson to fund the James and Virginia Fiacco Scholarship Endowment in honor of Nancy’s parents.”

The family connection continues at Clarkson. The eldest of the family’s four children, Noelle and Jacqueline are Clarkson students while James and Mackenzie are still at home watching with interest.  Noelle is a junior with a concentration in supply chain management and Jacqueline is a sophomore with a focus in mechanical/biomedical engineering. Though the Potsdam weather is just a bit different from their home in Scottsdale, AZ both feel right at home on the Clarkson campus especially since they have two Mailhot cousins, Michael and John Paul, attending Clarkson right along with them.

As for Darwin, the tortoise? Already a marvel of environmental engineering and with many years’ experience applying its mechanical abilities, Darwin’s current interest seems to be more culinary rather than business or engineering.

The structure of the Mailhot gift plan:

  • The gift annuity provides fixed, guaranteed income to Nancy’s mother for life.
  • The payout rate is generous, based on Mrs. Fiacco’s age.
  • There is peace of mind that the quarterly income payments are made automatically to Mrs. Fiacco and that the 1099R income statement is provided annually.
  • Funding an annuity generates an immediate income tax deduction for Nancy and Ivan.
  • There is no cost to create an annuity, and additional annuities may be created at any time.
  • The remainders from the annuities will someday fund a scholarship endowment at Clarkson.
  • Their gifts count at full value in the Evolution to Excellence fundraising campaign and in Nancy’s anniversary reunions.