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NCCU Welcomes First Charitable Remainder Unitrust Gift

From L to R : Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, Rae Helton and Audwin Helton

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has received its first gift through a new investment vehicle that provides tax benefits and income for university donors.

The $220,000 gift from alumni Rae and Audwin Helton is part of a charitable remainder unitrust that was created in October 2017 through an agreement between the NCCU Foundation and N.C. Gift Planning LLC.

The Heltons, who own and operate a successful geographic information systems company in Louisville, Kentucky, both graduated from NCCU in the Class of 1981 and had been looking for the best way to give back to their alma mater, Rae Helton said.

“We decided to invest in the charitable remainder unitrust because it seemed to be a good fit with what we wanted to do on behalf of the university, and it will provide continued support over time,” she said.

Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye welcomed the Heltons’ contribution to the charitable remainder unitrust, a type of trust that provides a fixed annual income to the donors during their lifetime.

“We are appreciative of their generosity of the Heltons and their thoughtful decision to invest in this unitrust to the benefit of their alma mater,” Akinleye said.

N.C. Gift Planning was created to allow NCCU and other medium-sized universities within the University of North Carolina system to work together to meet the high financial-reserve minimums required by this type of financial vehicle, explained Randal Childs, interim associate vice chancellor for development and planned giving at NCCU.

The couple first met as juniors at NCCU and credit their time at the university -  he majoring in geography, she studying library science - for the knowledge and skills that led to their successful business startup, Spatial Data Integration Inc., in 1994.

Audwin Helton, a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, said his support for NCCU is inspired by the legacy of university founder Dr. James Shepard, who provided not only an academic education but an atmosphere for building positive character traits, such as leadership, perseverance and compassion.

Harriet Davis, Ph.D., vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement, said gifts involving estate planning are likely to rise following creation of new investment options through N.C. Gift Planning and NCCU.

“We would urge anyone considering a substantial gift to talk with our Institutional Advancement team about how it might be tailored to fit their life situation, either through a charitable remainder unitrust, annuity or other investment vehicle,” Davis said.

Rae Helton also hopes others will follow their Eagle example.

“I’d also like to issue a challenge to other alumni to think of ways they can give back, whether of time or a financial gift – and to consider this type of trust when they are doing their estate planning,” she said.

To learn more about estate giving options, contact Institutional Advancement at 919-530-7074 or rchilds@nccu.edu.

Published: Thursday, December 21, 2017
by Senior Writer and Editor, Renee Elder
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