Photo: Paul Jeffrey/CWS

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Honoring Generous Parents

Honoring Generous Parents
The man they called "Chig" because of his size became known for his big heart. When he almost died at birth, the doctor delivering Charles W. Varner said he was "no bigger than a chigger". Soon after his death nearly 100 years later, his two daughters honored his compassion and generosity by creating two Charitable Remainder Unitrusts benefiting Church World Service.

Evelyn Varner, Chig's wife, enjoyed sharing with persons in need also. The Varners owned and ran the restaurant known as Broome's in downtown Santa Barbara. One of the Varner girls remembers how her mother delivered meals on Thanksgiving to Broome's customers the Varners knew would be dining alone. "Those who didn't eat with us on Thanksgiving, that is" explained the daughter.

The other daughter recalls the college student who frequented Broome's and had nothing but coffee day after day. One day he seemed especially down in the dumps and after eating a meal on the house told Chig that he was going to have to drop out of school for lack of funds. Years later he returned to Broome's to thank the Varners for paying his tuition that year; he had become a school teacher and administrator and wanted them to know how much their help had meant to him.

The Santa Barbara home the girls grew up in was inherited by the two daughters. "Soon after my father's death, the words 'the poorest of the poor' kept coming to me" one daughter recalls. "And I thought about how Church World Service ministers to the 'poorest of the poor'. " Following conversations with Doug Smith, CWS Development Associate , both daughters transferred their shares of the property to two Charitable Remainder Unitrusts.

After receiving income from the Unitrusts' earnings during their lifetimes, the remaining principal in the trusts will be distributed 51 % to Church World Service and the remainder to other charities. "My decision on who would benefit was based on which agencies helped the 'poorest of the poor'" the older daughter explained.

The "Charles W. 'Chig' and Evelyn E. Varner Memorial Endowment Fund" for ongoing support of Church World Service ministries will be created at the end of the Unitrust payments. By providing for the creation of the Varner endowment, the daughters have ensured that through Church World Service, their parents will continue to feed and educate the poor for a long time to come.

Written by Doug Smith, Development Associate

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