Many philanthropists prefer to remain anonymous.
Murray Duggins wants to be an example.

“I think a lot of people I know will give based on the donations of others,” Duggins said. “I hope this starts a trend here in Fayetteville – not that I’m a trendsetter or a cool guy.”

Duggins and his wife, Nancy, donated $2 million to the Cumberland Community Foundation to establish the Murray and Nancy Duggins Family Charitable Fund, the foundation said in a press release.

“This donation represents only the third time a donation of this size has been received from a living donor,” said Mary Holmes, President and CEO of the Cumberland Community Foundation.

Murray Duggins, who is 77 and describes himself as an Army brat born in the small town of Blackville, South Carolina, said he had considered making the donation for years.

“I want to see Fayetteville grow, and the things that are happening here indicate that,” he said. “I hope I’m someone important.”

He hopes others will follow.

“I think a lot of people I know who have money and aren’t giving – hopefully that will make a difference,” he said.

The Duggins have supported the community foundation since 2000, Holmes said, adding that the couple also donates to many other local causes. This is the second fund they have established at the foundation, the first being the Murray and Nancy Duggins Endowment for Cape Fear Regional Theater.

“It’s just wonderful to see a family that has worked so hard to share what they’ve earned and give back to the local community,” Holmes said in an interview Thursday. “We appreciate when people have worked so hard and want to share in the community. I’m glad they focused on Cumberland County.
Murray Duggins said he had been involved in his estate planning for some time and was trying to figure out how best to give back. That’s why he decided to donate to the Cumberland Community Foundation.

“It takes a bit of the pressure off the individual of having to meet different people and decide which is the most appropriate,” he said. “They are pros. They are pros who know where to put the money and who do the best job. Mary Holmes, I think, is top notch.

Overall, Duggins estimated he gave nearly $3 million to philanthropic causes. The Methodist University, his alma mater, is particularly close to his heart; the Fayetteville Police Foundation; Snyder Memorial Baptist Church; and the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center.
The Cumberland Community Foundation manages more than 600 donor funds with a total of $120 million in assets, according to the release.

Some are for a specific charity, some are scholarship funds and some are unrestricted, Holmes said in the statement.

“This fund is a family-oriented fund, which means that Nancy and Murray will actively recommend distributions and then pass that responsibility on to the next generation of their family. Advised Funds help affluent families organize their philanthropy – like a private foundation without all the headaches,” she said in the statement.

Holmes said the Duggins’ donation is the second largest to the foundation by a living donor.

“It’s so nice when couples live and decide to give back,” she said.

Holmes said she was Duggins’ banker 30 years ago.

“I can tell you he’s a hard working man,” she said.

Duggins, an affordable housing developer, said he became involved in the construction industry in the early 1980s when he began developing tax credit projects.

“I’ve been there for 50 years,” he says. “Nancy was a dental hygienist for years. She’s been retired for at least 20 years. Nancy meant a lot. She was active at Cape Fear Valley Hospital for years.

While her husband was growing up, the son of an army sergeant, Nancy Duggins, who is also 77, was the daughter of a factory worker in Hope Mills.
Murray Duggins said he had “great love for Fayetteville – everything it has meant to me and my family”.

“I want to give back to Fayetteville,” he said. “I just feel inclined to do it. I think that makes Fayetteville a stronger place. …

“I did well,” he said, “and I think I can make a difference. Nancy is feeling very strong too, and my family is all here, and they did well. I hope “they will see the idea I have. It’s easier to give and useful. At my age, I see money differently than I did a few years ago. I can make a difference.

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