Planned Giving

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A Beautiful Legacy: The Floyd and Harriet Miller Endowment Fund

Floyd and Harriet MillerDid you know there are more than 1,000 varieties of peonies? The Rev. Floyd Miller did. He had 200 varieties of them in his Fergus Falls garden. Floyd was devoted to the flower; to his wife, Harriet, of 46 years; to his church, St. James Episcopal; to his member organizations; and to his friends.

And at his death in 2007, just two weeks shy of his 100th birthday, Floyd devoted a significant amount of his estate to establish an endowment fund to benefit the community he called home for 50 years.

The Floyd and Harriet Miller Endowment Fund is a component fund administered by West Central Initiative. It will provide funds to Fergus Falls nonprofits and to St. James Episcopal Church. Floyd served St. James for 18 years, first as vicar and then as rector. After retirement, he was named rector emeritus of the parish.

Meticulous, conscientious and considerate, Floyd carefully planned out his will to benefit several organizations, both local and national, and those he wished to thank for their kindness. But there was still the remainder of the estate to consider.

Dic Pickett was a longtime friend of the Millers, and the executor of Floyd's will. The two had talked about establishing a community fund for several years. Harriet died in 1990, and they had no children, so "he didn't have [an obvious] place for the money to go," Dic said.
Floyd was influenced by the community trust established by his friend, Frank Veden, a local dentist. Floyd was interested in creating a fund like the Veden Trust that would help the community for years to come.

Dic and Floyd worked with Floyd's attorney, Dave Lundeen, and West Central Initiative to establish the endowment fund according to Floyd's specifications. Now, the Millers have left a legacy that will have a lasting effect in Fergus Falls.

Floyd left another kind of legacy as well. This summer Dic and his wife stopped in Pipestone, Minn., where Floyd grew up, to pay their respects at the Miller family plot. They intended to plant his beloved peony as a remembrance. But there was no need. The cemetery was filled with peonies in full bloom, including those on Floyd's grandfather's grave, which Floyd personally planted.

WCI has worked with many regional donors to establish 69 component funds to meet donor interest and critical local needs. WCI staff and the component fund advisors raise, manage, and distribute funds to address a variety of issues including: economic development, local schools, lakeshore environment, community projects, libraries, local nonprofits, and many more.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to West Central Initiative 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 West Central Initiative [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 WCI 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 WCI as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 WCI 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 WCI where you agree to make a gift to WCI 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.

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