New legacy society announced for estate gifts

October 19, 2020 | Center for Charitable Estate Planning |

Harding University’s Center for Charitable Estate Planning today announced the James A. Harding Legacy Society, a new stewardship program that recognizes donors who support the university through their estate plans, wills or gifts of assets.

Gifts through estates are used specifically to support Harding’s endowment, which funds student scholarships, significant faculty positions and designated programs. Presently Harding’s endowment is valued at $169 million.

“The James A. Harding Legacy Society is our way of acknowledging a donor’s commitment to the future of the University,” said Ken Bissell, director of the Center for Charitable Estate Planning. “Making a legacy gift reflects the donor’s ongoing commitment to Harding’s mission. It enables a person to act on their convictions and make a difference for years to come. Unfortunately, these gifts often go unnoticed because they come at the end of a donor’s life.”

The program is named for James A. Harding (1848-1922), who was a pioneer in establishing colleges affiliated with the Church of Christ. Along with David Lipscomb, Harding helped found and served as the first president of Nashville Bible College in 1891, which later became Lipscomb University. He later founded Potter Bible College in Kentucky. Harding College (now Harding University) was named in his honor when it was founded in 1924 upon the merger of Harper College and Arkansas Bible College in Morrilton, Arkansas. His son-in-law, J.N. Armstrong, was Harding College’s first president.

Donors who qualify for membership in the Legacy Society typically support the university through estate bequests, trusts, annuities, IRAs or insurance policies. Membership benefits include invitations to annual meetings and special events, public recognition on Harding’s campus, newsletters, and estate planning seminars.

“Since our inception nearly 100 years ago, Harding has been blessed by the generosity of tens of thousands of alumni and friends who believe in our mission,” said Dr. Bryan Burks, vice president of Advancement. “Gifts through estates are critical to our long-term financial health and are among the largest donations we receive. The James A. Harding Legacy Society gives us an avenue to thank our donors who remember us in this very special way.”

For more information on the James A. Harding Legacy Society or ways to support Harding through estate giving, contact the Center for Charitable Estate Planning at 501-279-4210 or visit harding.edu/ccep.

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