Willamette University

Giving Back: Flying High

Flying High

Dan and Penny (Russell) Miltenberger ’75 have deep roots in Oregon.

Dan and Penny (Russell) Miltenberger ’75

Penny grew up in Merlin, a few miles removed from the interstate near Grants Pass, and Dan grew up in Pendleton. When it was time for college, Willamette offered Penny important scholarship support; she knew she preferred a small school, so she enrolled and didn’t look back. She enjoyed her four years in Salem, majoring in chemistry and working part-time for the campus food service.

The couple’s path got more interesting following graduation. When Penny and Dan settled in Albany, Ore., she opened a downtown delicatessen and drove a bus; he worked for paper mills. Flying, however, was their real passion. Penny has had a pilot’s license for 25 years, and in 1994 the Miltenbergers built their own single-engine plane.

Years ago, the Miltenbergers began investing in local real estate to provide for their retirement. They eventually accrued six rental houses and a number of hangars at the Albany airport. And when they began thinking about diversifying their investments further, they exchanged two parcels of property for an interest in a Willamette charitable remainder trust.

The trust is now providing the Miltenbergers with an inflation-resistant source of income that won’t go away. Eventually, it will provide a significant addition to Willamette’s endowment in the Miltenbergers’ names.

Penny explains why they contributed their property to the trust: “We get the same income with no work, and with tax benefits to boot. The Willamette staff did all the work; we only signed a few documents.”

The Miltenbergers’ trust will help future students directly as they pursue their own Willamette education. And who knows where they might end up.

A charitable trust or other life-income plan can be a satisfying and smart way to convert real estate, securities, or other assets into a secure source of income.

Contact Steve Brier, for more information on gift planning at 866-204-8102 or giftplanning@willamette.edu.


In a recent survey, 95 percent of Willamette CLA alumni said that they were satisfied with their educational experience.

Last fiscal year, 23 percent of CLA alumni made a gift to the Willamette Fund. Annual fund dollars make the undergraduate experience what it is for today’s students, just as they did for those of you who were here before. If you are among the 95 percent and haven’t made a gift this year, please consider it. Our students benefit from your support.

If you’d like to help us surpass last year’s participation rates, please go here.