Robertsons Champion Wake Forest Baptist through Volunteering and Philanthropy

Dewey Robertson enjoyed a long and successful career as an engineer and business executive with AMP Inc. In retirement, he has actively pursued a lifelong passion for real estate and has volunteered at Wake Forest Baptist Health since 2014.

He is on the Wake Forest Baptist Health Family Advisory Council and has assisted with resident training at Wake Forest Baptist. He also was a member of the I-40 Closure Workgroup that helped Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center develop strategies for continuing to operate efficiently when construction closed one of Winston-Salem’s major thoroughfares.

His wife, Cynthia, also enjoyed a productive career, retiring from what is now Wake Forest Baptist’s Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations. Since 2014, she has been volunteering weekly at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist. They continue their volunteer work, after receiving their COVID-19 vaccines, by assisting others to get vaccinated at Wake Forest Baptist Health.

An older man with white hair and woman with brown hair, both wearing black aprons with the Brenner Children's logo, smile at the cameraWhen the Robertsons were first deciding on where they might make charitable donations, their four goals were to:

  • See their charitable gifts used for good during their lifetimes
  • Establish a permanent legacy
  • Retain the flexibility to change their plans if circumstances require it
  • Make the most tax-effective gifts possible
“We had read about sophisticated estate-planning techniques, and in working with our financial adviser and attorney, we settled on a plan that met our goals.”

Dewey Robertson

First, they established the Dewey and Cynthia Robertson Fund, which provides annual distributions to the Sticht Center on Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention to support the training of geriatricians and to the Comprehensive Cancer Center to support research. Their endowment lasts in perpetuity.

“Now that we are 70½ and need to take our required minimum distributions (RMD, which are currently required at age 72 for some) from our IRAs, we instead have our financial adviser send this amount directly to our Robertson Fund,” Dewey says. “If our circumstances change, we can easily tell our adviser to send our annual IRA distribution to us or to change our beneficiary. The ability to adapt is easy, and that was important to us. The taxes will be zero if the funds go straight to a charity.”

The Robertsons say it works well for them to name the Robertson Fund as beneficiary of their IRAs. IRA assets left to their family would be taxable as ordinary income, which generally results in the highest taxes possible, when withdrawn by them or their heirs.

“We were pleased that we have the flexibility to leave a portion or all of the IRA to the charities of our choosing,” Cynthia says.

Lastly, they established a Charitable Remainder Unitrust that provides them with a partial charitable deduction on the front end. The income from the unitrust that is generally tax-favored keeps pace with inflation. This income will last for both of their lives, and then a distribution will be made to support the work of Wake Forest Baptist.

Through their volunteer work and philanthropy, the Robertsons have become powerful champions for Wake Forest Baptist.