September 19, 2014

Saginaw Community Foundation Announces Largest Single Gift Received in its 30-Year History

Saginaw Community Foundation is pleased to announce the acquisition of the largest single donation received in its 30-year history. A portion of the estate of the late Carl H., Jr. and Sandra Werth – an amount approaching nearly $7 million – will be used to establish the Carl H., Jr. and Sandra Werth Fund at Saginaw Community Foundation.


“We are honored that Carl, Jr. and Sandra chose Saginaw Community Foundation as one of the beneficiaries of their estate,” said Reneé Johnston, president and CEO of the foundation. “We will work to fulfill their wishes by helping enrich education opportunities in Saginaw County.”  


A significant portion of the gift will be used to create an endowment fund at Saginaw Community Foundation that will grow and provide a lasting benefit supporting education-based initiatives in Saginaw County, for ever. This will leave some discretionary funds that will be used to offer support for a variety of education-based initiatives immediately following the settling of the Werth Estate.


Carl Werth, Jr., an Arthur Hill High School graduate, was described as a “genius” design engineer by longtime friend, B.J. Humphreys. “He could do anything,” remarked Humphreys.


Always happiest when working, Carl, Jr. began his engineering career working alongside his father, Carl Werth, Sr. Carl Werth, Sr. had been employed by Wickes Corporation in Saginaw as an engineer. In the early 1980s, Wickes Corporation moved engineering operations to San Diego, Calif. Not wanting to make the move, Carl, Sr. instead opted to start his own engineering business – initially operating out of the family garage.


Carl, Jr. quickly earned a reputation as an exceptional engineer. Individuals and businesses would seek out Carl, Jr. to design and build for them. From 1982-1985, he was granted four U.S. Patents for inventions that helped improve machine and tool manufacturing efficiencies.

Eventually, father and son outgrew their garage and officially established a presence in Bridgeport, Mich. as Werth Engineering. Business proved steady and successful and later, when Carl, Jr. had assumed control of the company, a new larger location was constructed on Mackinaw Rd. near U.S. 10. In the mid-1990s, Carl, Jr. sold his portion of Werth Engineering to his then business partner and retired from the business.


The decision to name Saginaw Community Foundation as a recipient of a portion of the Carl H. and Sandra Werth, Jr. estate was planted as a seed many years ago. Longtime financial consultant to the Werth family, Lloyd J. Yeo of Yeo & Yeo, CPA, advocated to the Werth’s that Saginaw Community Foundation is best suited to fulfill donor wishes in Saginaw County.


Years later, Carl, Jr’s. legal advisor, B.J. Humphreys, of Humphreys, Campbell, Dust and Humphreys, along with his tax and financial advisor, John M. Kunitzer of Yeo & Yeo CPAs and Business Consultants, worked with Carl, Jr. and Sandra to cultivate that seed. As a result, the Saginaw Community Foundation is now the recipient of 70% of the trust established by Carl and Sandra.


“Carl, Jr. and Sandra just wanted to give back,” said Humphreys. “They wanted to support education in a broad sense. They believed that the mission, goals and performance of Saginaw Community Foundation over the years made it the best vehicle to provide this support.”


The transfer of the Carl, Jr. and Sandra Werth Trust is projected to occur in two stages, with approximately 70% of the assets transferring by the end of 2014 and the remainder transferring in early 2015.


In addition to the gift to the Saginaw Community Foundation, it is projected that St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant Healthcare Foundation will each receive approximately $1,000,000. Also, the Saginaw Humane Society and Cherryland Humane Society will receive approximately $250,000 each while the National Cancer Research Institute will receive approximately $500,000.