Bequests and Planned Giving

Leaving a Legacy at the Ackland

Planned Giving provides donors the opportunity to leave a legacy at the Ackland Art Museum. In fact, the Museum was founded with funds from the generous bequest of William Hayes Ackland. For more than sixty years, friends of the University and the Ackland have supported our mission by remembering the Museum in their personal estate plans. With lasting benefit for the Ackland, these gifts may also help donors reduce income or estate taxes. Gift plans help individuals and families accomplish their personal and charitable goals.

The University’s Office of Gift Planning is available to assist you in creating your legacy by:

  • Providing gift plans that benefit you, your family, and the University
  • Identifying immediate and deferred tax advantages to both you and your heirs
  • Helping you create a meaningful impact at the Ackland and across campus.

Their professional staff can offer help in a variety of ways to:

  • Increase your income and save on taxes
  • Make a gift through your will or living trust
  • Utilize highly-taxed retirement plan assets to make a gift

The Ackland would be happy to assist you in arranging a meeting time with the Office of Gift Planning or answer any questions you may have. For more information on bequest and planned giving, please contact Mary Gard, Director of External Affairs, at or 919-843-3592.

Painting of a man wearing all black

Recent Bequests

abstract painting in hues of green and orange

The Art of Giving

Jane Roughton Kearns, a longtime supporter of UNC-Chapel Hill and parent of three Carolina graduates, bequeathed three paintings to the Ackland Art Museum in 2020. The three paintings — two by Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) and one by Milton Avery (1885-1965) — will be transformational for the Ackland’s permanent collection of post-war and contemporary American art.

“I am thrilled that these paintings will go to UNC-Chapel Hill and the Ackland,” shared Kearns. “Even though I didn’t graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, I have a lot of loyalty for Carolina. My family has attended the University for generations, and I think it’s an exceptional public university.”

An art history major, Jane Kearns said she has always loved art, especially female artists and contemporary art. “I was fortunate enough to be able to start collecting art. It’s just something that is wonderful to live with and enjoy, and it enhances your life. It’s particularly stimulating and fun to live with contemporary art because it’s non-representational and can speak to so many things.”

Now, an important part of Kearns’ collection will enhance the lives of Ackland Art Museum patrons in perpetuity.

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Curating Carolina

Charles Millard said serving as the Ackland Art Museum’s director was the happiest time of his professional life. He helped to add more than 800 works to the Ackland’s holdings, expanded the staff, launched an inaugural education program with its first University liaison and presided over a building renovation. One of his innovations was to start a conservation laboratory for works of art on paper at the Ackland. Such a facility is still a rarity among university museums (there are only a handful in the country) and it forms an essential part of our work.

Even after retiring in 1993, Millard continued to help advance the Ackland, creating the Tyche Foundation  to benefit the museum. The Tyche Foundation gift brought 51 works, ranging across some 2,500 years and a variety of the world’s cultures, to Carolina.

When Millard died in 2017, he left the Ackland his entire 375-work collection ranging from South Asian sculpture and photographs to North Carolina pottery and 20th-century abstraction. The gift also includes early cartoons and comic strips, Byzantine earthenware of the 12th century, Japanese calligraphy and master prints from the Western tradition.

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Head shot of Charles Millard smiling in front of a Buddha statue

Art image credits:

Elisabeth Baumann, Danish, 1819-1881, Italy, 1859, oil on canvas, 38 1/4 x 28 in. (97.2 x 71.1 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gift of Ruth and Sherman Lee. Conservation treatment for this painting, completed in 2009, was made possible by the generous support of Katharine Lee Reid and Charles W. Millard. 2003.35.1.

Joan Mitchell, American, 1925–1992, Untitled, 1962, oil on canvas, 63 3/4 x 38 1/8 in. (161.925 x 96.838 cm). Private collection, © Estate of Joan Mitchell.