Fall 2006

Carolina legacies in the making

With a little creative planning, donors can contribute to Carolina without making a large gift up front—and still reap the satisfaction of investing in Carolina’s future.

From bequests to life-income gifts, there are many ways to tailor a gift to Carolina in the best way for your circumstances and wishes. Some planned gifts can provide income for life to a named beneficiary, and some allow you to unlock the income potential from a low-yielding asset. Most planned gifts receive favorable tax treatment.

Below are three profiles of donors who are creating a Carolina legacy—each for different reasons. But all of these situations provide a “win-win-win” for them, their beneficiaries and Carolina.

R.B. Fitch honors longtime friend Ben Wilcox with endowed professorship in cardiothoracic surgery


R.B. Fitch (left) and Ben Wilcox (Photo by Steve Exum)

For the first 30 years of their friendship, Ben Wilcox always whipped R.B. Fitch on the tennis court. But 10 years ago they switched to golf, and now Fitch is making a comeback.

Fitch ’55 joked that he’s using all the money he’s won on the golf course to fund a gift to the Carolina First Campaign. In reality, he used appreciated stock to fund a charitable remainder trust that will ultimately endow the Benson R. Wilcox Distinguished Professorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery, in honor of his friend. Wilcox ’53 ’57 (MD), an expert in congenital heart disease, pediatric cardiac morphology and pediatric chest disease, has worked at the UNC School of Medicine since 1963. From 1969 to 1998, he served as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

When he was considering making a gift, Fitch said, he wanted to give to UNC Hospitals, honor Ben and convert some appreciated stock into retirement income. So he created a charitable remainder trust, which pays him income for life. In addition, he received a sizable income tax charitable deduction. At Fitch’s death, the proceeds of the trust will be used to fund the professorship. He called the gift a win-win-win proposition. “It was just the thing to do,” he said.

Fitch, who is developing Fearrington Village south of Chapel Hill, said he has always been impressed by his friend, whom he met in the early 1960s when their families lived across the street from each other. “I like to be associated with people on top of their game,” Fitch said. “And he was always on top of his game in cardiothoracic surgery.” Wilcox, who operated on more than 2,000 children during his career, has retired from the operating room but remains a professor in the Department of Surgery.

A lifelong Chapel Hill resident, Fitch said he feels like he’s grown up with UNC Hospitals. Fitch’s father, R.B. Sr., and wife, Jenny ’60, were treated there. Wilcox operated on Fitch’s father most of one night, and Jenny fought a long battle with breast cancer before her death in 1995.

“Anything having to do with illness or the hospital, Ben was my go-to guy,” Fitch said. “Every time I turned, there was Ben.”

Morehead alumnus and retired heart surgeon honors University foundations that shaped him

Joe Craver ’63, ’67 (MD) just retired from a 31-year career as a full-time cardiac surgeon and professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. Reflecting on his life, Craver felt that there were some pivotal moments for which he was very grateful. The first big one, he said, after being born to and reared by his parents, was attending Carolina as a Morehead Scholar.

Joe Craver (Photo by Fred Bennett)

“This award presented significant opportunities as well as challenges to me—to justify their selection,” he said. “I endeavored to meet those, and I’m now even more grateful for their support and for UNC.”

Leadership became synonymous with Craver on the Carolina campus. He co-captained the football team and received numerous awards as an undergraduate as well as a student at the UNC School of Medicine.

Craver felt that he would like to make a tangible gift to UNC to express his gratitude. He and his wife, Amelia, decided that they were not as dependent on his 401(k) retirement funds as expected. Also, because these funds are taxed at the maximum rate if used personally or passed along as inheritance, they seemed ideal for a charitable gift. Craver sought a creative way to use these funds while he was still alive.

He learned he could buy a commercial annuity within his IRA rollover account and name the UNC Medical Foundation and the Morehead Scholarship Foundation as charitable beneficiaries. Upon his death, they would receive the full corpus (currently valued at $1.25 million, plus their growth) as endowment funds. The UNC Medical Foundation will use $250,000 of these funds to establish the Joseph M. Craver Teaching Professorship. He also will make annual gifts from the annuity income he receives to provide each foundation with current resources during his lifetime.

“This way, the benefits start now for both of us,” Craver said. Craver also purchased life insurance policies for each to protect the values of the ultimate principal distributions to both foundations.

The son of teachers, Craver enjoyed teaching every single day of his professional career and thinks of teaching as a way to “extend one’s life’s work exponentially.” He is now taking that legacy of teaching in another direction by showing others how to discover creative ways to use their resources.

Hammonds continue career-long cause with planned gift to UNC Lineberger

When Denman Hammond ’44, ’46 (CMED) and his wife, Polly, wanted to make a planned gift to help combat childhood cancer, they chose the place where his career began: UNC-Chapel Hill. Their $1.3 million gift will allow UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and its pediatric oncology program to make large strides in research to better understand and treat cancers that affect the smallest and most vulnerable of our population.

“Polly and I hope that our charitable remainder trust donation will assist in supporting outstanding specialists to advance research, care and teaching to benefit children and adolescents with cancer,” Hammond said. The Hammonds transferred stock to the trust and designated UNC Lineberger as the charitable beneficiary. The trust pays the Hammonds some income during their lifetimes. “We have been very pleased with our decision,” he said.

Denny and Polly Hammond (Photo courtesy of Denny Hammond)

Hammond’s career in medicine was recognized by UNC in 1994 when he received the UNC School of Medicine Distinguished Service Award for his professional, service and leadership accomplishments. Hammond was the founding director of the University of Southern California Comprehensive Cancer Center; founder, past president and CEO of the National Childhood Cancer Foundation; a member and principal investigator of the national Children’s Cancer Group for 11 years at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and thereafter served for 24 years as group chair. He authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific manuscripts and book chapters, and he served as a national director and officer of the American Cancer Society.

“Denny and Polly are committed to our vision to have UNC Lineberger become a national leader in curing childhood cancer,” said H. Shelton Earp III, the center’s director. “Denny knows first-hand that great strides have been made, but research on childhood cancer remains a critical need.”

Profiles compiled by Claire Cusick.

Interested in creating your own Carolina legacy? For more information, contact Candace Clark, associate director of planned giving, at 919-962-3967 or 800-994-8803 or createalegacy@unc.edu.