With a long history of supporting excellent healthcare for central Virginia, planned giving made sense for Nancy and Sam Cardwell. A generous charitable trust the couple established 20 years ago matured this year, at an important moment for Centra and patients who turn to our not-for-profit system for innovative healthcare.

Over more than four decades, Nancy and Sam Cardwell have supported excellent care for central Virginia in just about every way possible — through leadership and service, with annual gifts and contributions to capital campaigns, and as cheerful ambassadors for local giving that supports Centra and patients.   

In 2002, they added planned giving to their extensive charitable portfolio. 

“Interest rates were pretty high then,” said Sam, who was instrumental in founding the Centra Foundation and whose career included serving as vice chairman of Crestar Bank, later acquired by SunTrust. “I had retired and had some extra savings. Looking around, we decided to establish a Charitable Remainder Trust. It turned out to be a fantastic investment and a wonderful way to give. It helps others and gives stability to what you have, especially as you get older.”

The trust’s distribution to the Centra Foundation, nearly $150,000, comes at a critical moment in healthcare and for patients who turn to Centra for innovative care close to home. 

The couple made this gift, and many others, with the health challenges of Sam’s older brother, the late Bennett B. Cardwell, Jr., in mind. 

“He was just a prince of a person and a wild, crazy guy in the best ways possible,” Sam said. “He was only 69 when he died. We loved him dearly. He suffered with kidney disease, cancer and heart problems.”

With the maturity of the trust, the Foundation has established the Nancy and Sam Cardwell Endowment. The fund will be used for unrestricted purposes to help Centra respond quickly to health challenges that arise in our communities and provide excellent care, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

“It is hard to overstate their impact,” said Beth Doyle, executive vice president of the Centra Foundation. “Their legacy continues with this endowment, which will make a difference for countless patients now and in the future.”

In addition to his pivotal role in the founding of the Centra Foundation, Sam served on the Foundation’s board for 22 years. Prior to the creation of Centra, he served as chairman of Virginia Baptist Hospital’s Board of Directors. Nancy worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the importance of regular screenings and good health.

“I tell people the Foundation helps Centra give excellent service and care,” Sam said. “If you’ve ever been a patient at Centra you’ve already experienced state-of-the-art facilities and the extraordinary care given by its people at every level. An annual gift, or any gift, is a beautiful way to say, ‘thank you for improving my health, and here is my contribution to help others.’”

Learn more about legacy giving to make an impact now and in the future. Contact Beth Doyle at 434.200.4791 or beth.doyle@centrahealth.com. 

In 2023, the Centra Foundation will offer complimentary estate planning education through Thompson & Associates. Contact the Centra Foundation if you are interested in this confidential service and be on the lookout for more information.