Franklin Trustee Makes 'Transformative' Gift

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(photo courtesy Franklin College) (photo courtesy Franklin College)

A Franklin College alumnus has given a $2 million super endowment gift to the institution. President Thomas Minar says the gift from Douglas Tillman includes cash and planned giving components and will generate income for current efforts and future endowments in perpetuity.

Minar says the gift will help secure the future of Franklin College by assuring continual endowment growth. He says a super endowment is very unusual in higher education and calls it a "unique, creative gift instrument."

"The sole purpose of its annual income distribution is to fund new endowments forever, each with distinctive funding objectives," said Minar. "This is a gift that will usher continued transformation of the college and help support and provide financial flexibility for the needs of the college now and in the future. Doug has come to us with great vision about the future of the college and great understanding of the flexibility that institutions need to prosper. His gift will not only help create the strongest financial foundation imaginable for the college due to its distinctive structure, but also by its acknowledgment of the needs of the college today and the future."

Franklin College says the the use of future endowments created by the gift will come at the recommendation of the president and/or trustees. It must be approved by the board's executive committee. Some of the opportunities that could be created by the super endowment include state-of-the-art classroom equipment, financial aid optimization funds, and faculty development opportunities.

Tillman, who also serves on the college's board of trustees, is a 1970 graduate of Franklin College and a retired executive from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY). He says the goal with his gift is to "make a transformative, significant and lasting gift to better position the college to respond to and support current and future proposals and projects that are innovative and timely when societal changes occur."

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