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Chuck and Helen Kennedy

Chuck '53 and Helen Kennedy turned their South Dakota farmland into a gift for future generations of Wheaton students.

Chuck and Helen KennedyDr. Chuck Kennedy ’53 and his wife, Helen, know how to take care of people. Chuck practiced internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, and Helen was a nurse. In their retirement, the Kennedys have continued in that spirit of service, providing for loved ones and for ministry through carefully planned gifts.

Working with the  gift planning team at Wheaton College, Chuck and Helen found a way to make the most of their South Dakota farmland. The value of farm property has risen steadily over the years despite the shaky economy. Normally a sale of such highly appreciated real estate would result in significant capital gains taxes. By contributing their farmland into a charitable remainder trust, the Kennedys were able to avoid all capital gains taxes on the sale of the property, while also creating an income stream for the family. When the trust terminates, the remainder will go to Wheaton College, Chuck’s beloved alma mater.

“The charitable remainder trust met our estate planning needs by providing regular income now and for 20 years after our deaths to provide support for a disabled son. Added incentives were the tax benefits, as the land had quadrupled in value over a 15-year period of time. Capital gains taxes were avoided, and we enjoyed a significant tax deduction and tax-free growth of the trust investments,” says Chuck. “It was a pleasant experience. The process of establishing the trust went very smoothly. The trust has undergone IRS scrutiny with no comments or penalties.”

The Kennedys’ gift was motivated by gratitude, as three generations of the family have graduated from the College and cherished the experience. “We are grateful for the academic opportunities that Wheaton provided for us and our family, along with many lifetime friendships. The trust will assist Wheaton in maintaining strong academic and spiritual standards. Two of our daughters, Paige ’80 and Marcia ’83, a son-in-law, Randal ’83, and a grandson, Andrew ’13, have all been recipients of a Wheaton education so the trust is also an expression of appreciation for their education.”

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