Your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger: Matching the Needs of Donors with the Needs of Ministry

Donated home in Clarksburg

American writer and theologian Frederick Buechner is credited with saying that God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.  This philosophy drives our ministry of planned giving, where we strive to match the needs of the donor with the needs that exist in ministry.  We try to help donors come to that intersection, taking into account their unique circumstances and motivations.  In 2010 we completed a gift that provides a good example.

Rev. John R. Campbell served 40 years in the West Virginia Annual Conference.  John was an only child who grew up in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  After the death of his parents, John inherited the family home on Duncan Avenue, pictured here.  Because he lived in parsonages as a pastor and a district superintendent, he rented the home out to provide some income, but held onto it as a possible retirement home or a nest egg. When John’s spouse, Marlene, died of cancer in 1999, he established the John and Marlene Campbell Scholarship Fund for West Virginia Wesleyan College, their alma mater.

After his retirement in 2004, John married Anita Barnett and moved to Deland, Florida.  After a time, he found it increasingly difficult to be a long-distance landlord and the home began to be a burden to him.  Because of the low cost basis, selling the home would have had capital gains tax implications for him.  Motivated by a desire to add to the value of the previously established scholarship fund and a desire to provide income for his two grown daughters, John asked us to explore several gift options with him.

First, we evaluated whether it would be better for John to sell the house and gift the proceeds, or to gift the house itself.  Since the house had increased in value during the time John owned it, it made sense to gift the house; that way, he avoided capital gains taxes.  Next, we examined with him the various types of life-income gift arrangements.

John Campbell and Jeff Taylor

A charitable remainder unitrust met both of John’s goals – to provide an income to his daughters and a charitable gift to his Scholarship Trust.  Ultimately, it was determined that a Net Income Charitable Remainder Unitrust with a flip provision would be in everyone’s best interests.  What that meant is that the Foundation would not begin to make the annual unitrust payments of 5% to Rev. Campbell’s daughters until after the house sold and the proceeds could be invested to begin to produce income. 

The house sold within six months of the date of the gift.  The Foundation will distribute the unitrust amount to the daughters.  After their deaths, the charitable remainder will be distributed to the previously established scholarship fund for West Virginia Wesleyan College.