Walter & Don Nell Cunningham: Trine Offers Donors Stability and Confidence

Mr. Walter B. Cunningham and Mrs. Don Nell Cunningham smiling

Mr. Walter B. Cunningham ’56 and Mrs. Don Nell Cunningham, gift annuity donors

Don Nell Cunningham is a woman of independent means-and an independent mind. When she decided to invest in a charitable gift annuity, Don Nell looked long and hard at her many options, finally settling on Trine University-not because it was the alma mater of her husband, Walter, but because it offered all the advantages and intangibles she was looking for.

"When I started thinking about a gift annuity," says Don Nell, "I wanted stability and confidence in knowing the institution I selected would provide me income throughout the contract period.

"I gathered information from universities and charitable institutions, but a remark my husband has made many times in our marriage kept coming back: 'I would not be where I am today if it were not for Tri-State.'"

Walter, a retired Veterans Administration safety engineer, graduated from Trine in 1956 with a degree in business administration. He was able to afford the cost only because Tri-State arranged his schedule so that he could both attend class and work-an arrangement that Walter appreciates to this day.

In gratitude, Walter freely gives Trine credit for its contributions to his career success. He also makes regular outright gifts to the University.

Through Walter, Don Nell learned about Trine, has visited Angola and socializes with other graduates who live near their home in Austin, Texas. She has come away very impressed with the University and the "concern and dedication" it has for students with a desire to succeed.

"When I read that Trine had reduced its line of credit from $2.8 million to zero," says Don Nell, "that indicated my investment was being placed with an institution that would be able to fulfill its obligation to me.

"At the same time it would be used to help others, perhaps like Walter, who to this day 'knows' he would not be where he is if it were not for Tri-State University."

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Trine University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Trine University [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Trine or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Trine as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Trine as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Trine where you agree to make a gift to Trine and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.