A trust established by late Wilson County businessman William C. "Bill" Marks has gifted a total of $1 million to four local institutions.
Marks, who passed away in 1997, set up a planned gift called a charitable remainder unitrust one month before his death. The William C. Marks Remainder Unitrust matured after a 20-year period, at which point the trust was to be distributed at different percentages to four local organizations: Cumberland University, Friendship Christian School, the Lebanon Wilson County Public Library and College Hills Church of Christ.
During the course of his life, Marks went from a farm boy in the Grant community to attaining significant wealth. By the time of his death, he had become the managing partner in Wilson County Rock Products Inc., a principal shareholder in Wilson County Concrete Company, an investor in several other businesses and had accumulated multiple development and rental properties.
"Bill once told me that he got his start digging potatoes in Grant and hauling them to town to sell," remembered former State Sen. Bob Rochelle. "He was a smart, hardworking businessman who was very involved in the commercial, political and community aspects of Wilson County."
Marks provided for trustees - Rochelle, Mike Flanagan, and Randall Clemons - to manage the trust assets. The trio recently distributed the funds to the local non-profits, which Marks believed had been the most beneficial to the community during his lifetime.
"Bill was a wise man who wanted to give back to his community," Clemons said. "It has been an honor to help carry out his intent."
Flanagan noted the gifts were given without restrictions, meaning the four institutions can each decide how to best use the funds.
Cumberland University received a $250,000 gift as part of the distribution.
"Everyone at Cumberland University is extremely grateful for Mr. Marks' thoughtfulness and generosity in planning his estate," CU President Paul Stumb said. "His belief in us during his lifetime translates today to a major gift that couldn't have come at a better time in our history."
Marks' son, William David Marks, passed away earlier this year on Jan. 12. He was also an active supporter of Cumberland University, especially the Phoenix Ball, Mad Hatter Ball and a painting restoration project.
"The Marks family has left a legacy of generosity toward Cumberland University that will benefit our students for years to come," Stumb noted. "That's the power of a planned gift."