Dunn Center recipient of $100,000 trust

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By Cindy Simpson

The Michael Dunn Foundation’s focus is on helping make sure the Michael Dunn Center can continue serving Roane County’s developmentally disabled well into the future.

Martin and Dorothy Skinner are among the Foundations biggest advocates.

The couple recently did their own part to contribute to the agency’s future by donating $100,000 through a charitable remainder annuity trust.

“We’ve been trying to get them to have a gift annuity program for probably 10 years, and it is finally now becoming a reality,” Martin Skinner said. “We’re the first ones and hope others will jump in and do the same thing.”

Wade Creswell, Michael Dunn Center’s vice president development and public relations, said the Skinners’ gift is by far the largest donation the foundation has received.

It marks the start of the Michael Dunn Foundation Legacy Society.

“It is just a way to formally recognize those that have or will donate over $10,000 to the Michael Dunn Center,” Creswell said.

The Skinners’ son, Mike, has Down syndrome and works through the center’s works program. Mike Skinner’s wife, Sharon, works part time.

Mike Skinner is high functioning and lives in an apartment with his wife.

“That was our goal from the beginning so he’d be able to be self sufficient,” Martin Skinner said.

“He does cooking. He does shopping. We taught him to do it.”

The Skinners want to ensure that Michael Dunn will be available, especially when they are no longer living.

“We wanted to find a way we’d be assured that Michael Dunn system would exist when both of us were dead so there would be something to help Mike if needed,” Martin Skinner said.

The charitable remainder annuity trust is just one of the ways those willing to donate are encouraged to look at, a way that not only benefits both Michael Dunn Center and those making the donation.  

The donor will receive a return as long as they are living. Once deceased, the remaining assets go to the Michael Dunn Center.

Such a trust can be set up with cash, stocks, real property or other assets.

The Skinners have been involved with helping bring help to the developmentally disabled since before Michael Dunn Center became a reality.

Martin Skinner said his wife was on a committee that wanted to bring such services to the area.

“We’ve been involved in it ever since Mike was born in 1959,” he said. “When he was born, they told us he’d probably not live past 12 years.”

Later, Michael Dunn Center became a huge asset to the community.

“It is a wonderful, wonderful facility and assistance they give to people,” Martin said.

Creswell said the Skinners’ donation and those in the future will help the facility in its present operation and have “a huge impact on the service we provide to the service recipients (in the future).”

The Michael Dunn Foundation, started in 1984, came about because of the need to support those with developmental disabilities with more than public funding.

Michael Dunn Center and its services have been around since 1971, Creswell said.

“The foundation was later developed to serve as a safety net for the programs of the Michael Dunn Center,” he added.

The Foundation has a portfolio worth about $3.5 million, but Creswell explained some of that is tied up in property actually used by the center.

Also, that $3.5 million doesn’t even come close to paying the $7.2 million in payroll.

“If the Foundation liquidated everything we had, it would cover less than six months’ payroll,” Creswell said.

For more information about the Michael Dunn Foundation, visit www.michaeldunnfoundation.org.