Jane Dills Morgan Trust Gives $625,000 to UAMS
Giving and support for higher education were values passed down to Jane Dills Morgan by her parents, Robert Nelson and Lucille Gable Dills.
Generosity defined so much of her life that it's not surprising that she made plans for her philanthropy to extend beyond the end of her life with a gift of $625,000 to UAMS.
R.N. "Bob" Dills of Fort Smith, Jane's father, provided an example from which to learn. After building a successful sand and gravel business later acquired by Ashland Oil, Bob Dills gave generously to the University of Arkansas Athletics program. In honor of her parents and to reflect her passion for the game of tennis, Jane also contributed to the Dills Indoor Tennis Center at the UA, Fayetteville campus. Although few knew, Jane achieved state champion status in the game of tennis as a teenager in Fort Smith.
In her death, Jane was a generous benefactor to many organizations across the state of Arkansas lending significant support to Arkansas Children's Hospital, The Boys and Girls Club of both Faulkner County and Fort Smith, the Bonneville House, the Nature Conservancy, the Old State House Museum and a new facility being built this fall in her honor — The Dills House. Through the efforts of her daughter, Caroline Morgan Ford, and in memory of Jane and R.N. Dills, The Dills House will offer transitional living for women recovering from alcohol and drug abuse.
Jane's sister, Nancy Dills Lee, said that in the course of her life and experience with Parkinson's disease, Jane consulted with UAMS physicians and was positive about the care she received there. Jane was a humble and quiet philanthropist who preferred not to make too much show of donations and support, so Lee wasn't surprised that Jane never mentioned her UAMS donation before her passing.
Of the gift, her daughter said, "My Mother was a proud Arkansan and extremely proud of the world-class status UAMS had achieved in her lifetime. She wanted to do what she could to further UAMS' impact."
Born in 1941 in Fort Smith, Jane grew up with one elder sibling, Nancy Dills Lee. After receiving full academic scholarship offers from Harding and others, Jane first attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, before transferring to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Jane served as an officer of Pi Beta Phi and graduated with honors in business administration. Upon graduation in 1963, Jane went to work for Exxon Oil in Houston. In 1966, Jane married Charles D. Morgan Jr. and became the mother of two children, Caroline Morgan Ford and Charles Robert Morgan. Jane and her family were instrumental in supporting Demographics as it grew to become CCX Network (and later Acxiom Corporation) in Conway.
A celebration of Jane's life was held in the Bonneville House, a beautiful, historic Victorian home in Fort Smith listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The setting was especially appropriate because a generous contribution from Jane helped alleviate a financial strain on the nonprofit society that maintains and curates it.
"I knew Jane pretty darn well," Lee said. "She was a very giving person. She loved her special projects like the Bonneville House, and I knew UAMS also was one of them. She always was interested in UAMS. She knew that's where the care is."
The financial tool Jane used to make that gift was a charitable remainder trust. The trust allowed her to diversify some of her stock holdings and defer the capital gains tax that would have been owed. She received income annually from the trust during her lifetime, and was able to leave transformative gifts to UAMS and five of her other favorite charities at her passing.
Several UAMS benefactors have used them to contribute in support of breast cancer research and educational programs, endow academic chairs and complete construction projects.
Through the charitable remainder trust, Jane Dills left her $625,000 donation to the university to be used by the chancellor for its greatest needs.
"In making this gift, Jane showed great foresight," said Lance Burchett, vice chancellor for institutional advancement. "Her philanthropy is enabling the chancellor to provide matching dollars for leverage to exponentially increase the positive impact of the original contribution."