Charitable Lead Trust Offers Opportunity to Support Ball State, Transfer Family Wealth, and Reduce Taxes

Longtime benefactors of Ball State, John W. and Janice B. Fisher have provided generous financial support to the university's major capital campaigns, Wings for the Future, the Alumni Center fund drive, and Above and Beyond. And we welcome their support of Ball State Bold.Fishers

The Fishers' support has included the creation of a unique gift that allows them to provide an inheritance for their loved ones while benefiting Ball State. In 1984, they established a charitable lead trust. This type of gift arrangement allowed the Fishers to transfer cash and assets, which later appreciated in value, into the trust to support Ball State for a set number of years and then return the trust's assets to their loved ones at the future value of these assets.

"Creating a lead trust not only permits us to make a significant gift to Ball State, it also allows us to pass along something to our grandchildren, paying less taxes to do so," said John Fisher, adding that it was a good business decision. 

A lead trust is considered a "charitable loan" that can save the donor a substantial amount in gift and estate taxes. While a lead trust can be used to transfer assets to children, another consideration is to benefit grandchildren, as the Fishers did, or other descendants, particularly if your children have large taxable estates. These long-term trusts can encourage the independence of loved ones, help them with future education costs, or provide financing to start a business. 

The Fishers have a vested interest in the continued growth of Ball State. Janice Ball Fisher is the daughter of Edmund B. Ball, one of the five industrialist brothers who provided funding to create Ball State. 

A former president and chairman of Ball Corporation, John Fisher was a national cabinet member in the Wings campaign, served on the Campaign Executive Committee for Above and Beyond, and is a member of the National Campaign Committee for Ball State Bold. He has also served as an executive-in-residence at Ball State and, in 1972, was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the university in recognition of his contributions to American business and education. 

Their gift to the Above and Beyond campaign created the Fisher Distinguished Professorship in Wellness and Gerontology, a wellness community outreach program, and an endowed chair in wellness and gerontology. The gift also supported renovation and expansion of Scheumann Stadium, which includes the Fisher Training Complex.

The Fishers made the largest private gift in the Wings for the Future campaign, establishing the Fisher Chair in Exercise Physiology in the Human Performance Laboratory and creating funds to help build Worthen Arena. 

The John and Janice Fisher Institute of Health and Well-Being was named in their honor.