Big gifts grow – Focus on donors

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Planned giving and large gifts are on the upswing at the United Way of Central Carolinas.

The United Way, which in early 1999 began an initiative to encourage donors to make planned gifts through wills and other estate planning tools, now has created the United Way Legacy Foundation at the Foundation for the Carolinas to handle planned gifts.

The new foundation consolidates $500,000 in planned gifts established so far, and will receive another $3.5 million in future gifts already created through the United Way’s 2˝-year-old planned-giving effort, said Jerry Haynie, the United Way’s vice president for legacy giving.

Planned giving is the focus of a 25-member Legacy Board that consists of professional advisers and former chairs of the United Way board and annual campaign.

Board members visit with older donors, and with donors of any age who have given $1,000 or more.

The United Way also holds financial planning seminars for small groups of donors, and works with professional advisers.

And as the United Way prepares to kick off its annual fundraising campaign on Aug. 24, the organization again is counting on big gifts.

Gifts of $1,000 and more totaled nearly $15.8 million last year, or 43.8 percent of the $36 million raised in the annual campaign.

That was up from $4.4 million in 1995, or 21.5 percent of the $20.5 million raised in that year’s campaign.

The number of gifts of $1,000 or more grew to 6,674 last year from 2,530 in 1995, including 453 members of the Tocqueville Society who gave $10,000 or more last year, up from 78 in 1995, said Ellice Jackson, director of major gifts and the United Way’s Tocqueville Society.

Chairing this year’s Tocqueville Society board is Graham W. Denton, managing director, Banc of America Securities.

Co-chairing this year’s leadership campaign – for gifts of $1,000 to $9,999 — are Vicki Wilson-McElreath, office managing partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ware Schiefer, president and CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas Co.

Linda Reynolds is the United Way’s director of leadership giving.

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