“My personal ‘root’ to Union College is deep, but not wide,” laughs Pat Benton. Her great-grandfather, Leonard June, painstakingly handcrafted woodwork on the original administration building during the summers of 1890-91. The Junes then moved to California where their descendants attended West Coast Adventist colleges.
In contrast, Elvin’s attachment to Union began in 1942 when his family moved to Lincoln. Elvin graduated from Union College Academy, then was housed on the fourth floor of the old Ad building. After a “paid vacation with Uncle Sam,” Elvin joined the GIs who overwhelmed Union the fall of 1946. His graduating class—1950—was the largest in the college’s history.
After reading in the CORDmagazine about funding a trust with a gift of real estate, Pat contacted the Advancement Office. “We had two building lots that had appreciated so much we could no longer afford them,” she says. “That article made me wonder if they could be an appropriate gift—and a source of income for us.”
The Bentons appreciated Union’s personalized approach to giving. “Because I’m 21 years older than Pat, we don’t fit the normal pattern. Union’s director of leadership giving presented a wide range of options that could be tailored to our specific needs,” says Elvin. The Bentons chose to receive annuity payments for 15 years; the remaining principal will then fund an endowment to assist with the college’s operating costs.
“Because of my experience with another nonprofit organization, I realized the importance of unrestricted gifts,” Pat says. “Our endowment gift will provide a continual stream of unrestricted dollars to help with expenses such as campus improvements, library resources, financial aid and other operating costs—even the utility bills!”
“We want to keep the lights on in the Heritage Room,” Elvin says simply, “where a newel post from the old ad building reminds us of Pat’s great-grandfather and his sacrifice to build Union College.”
To find out more about endowments, see our giving opportunities.