Planned Giving

Helen Knight Uses Gift Annuity to Increase Scholarship for 4-H’ers

Photo of a girl with a cowHelen Knight has always had a passion for helping students. Born and raised in Knoxville, Mrs. Knight taught business education in Maury, Rutherford, and Davidson counties before returning to Knoxville upon retirement. She now channels that passion into helping students at UTIA.

“My late husband, Felix, and I spent our lives in public service—he as an Extension Agent (with two degrees from UTIA’s Herbert College of Agriculture) and me as a high school teacher (with a degree from UTK’s Haslam College of Business),” Mrs. Knight explained. “Because we had no children of our own, the students we served became our children—particularly the students involved in the 4-H program.”

It was no surprise to anyone when the Knights made gifts to fund a scholarship endowment for 4-H’ers prior to Felix’s death in 2006. “I saw firsthand the benefits of Extension and particularly 4-H,” Mrs. Knight said. “Our hope was that the Knight scholarship could ease the financial burden associated with going to college for those 4-H students.”

The Felix and Helen Knight Memorial Scholarship Endowment was initially funded with a bequest and a charitable remainder trust. Mrs. Knight, however, felt called to do more. That “more” came in the form of a charitable gift annuity.

“I was intrigued by the charitable gift annuity because I was able to make a charitable gift and receive a tax deduction and then get an income stream for life,” Mrs. Knight said. “Evan Beech (Assistant Director of Advancement) suggested it, and it made perfect sense for my situation. The Advancement team assisted with the paperwork, and I didn’t even have to see my lawyer. It was an easy gift to make.”

Because of the Knight’s generosity, many 4-H’ers are able to study at the Herbert College of Agriculture. “Felix earned a bachelor’s degree in dairying and a master’s degree in animal husbandry. He spent his entire career as an Extension Agent, doing what he loved to do,” Mrs. Knight says. “The UTIA played such a significant role in my husband’s life. I want other students to have the opportunity to pursue their passions just like he did.”


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