Erik ’64, USMC (Ret.) and Christy Woods Support Naval Academy with Charitable Remainder Unitrust
When Erik Woods '64, USMC (Ret.) left active duty in 1970, an executive recruiter set him up with interviews with nine Fortune 500 companies in a single day in New York City. He received offers from all nine, accepting a position with Mobil's Chemical Plastics Division.
That opportunity launched a successful 40-plus year career in plastics and packaging sales and consulting that continues today. Woods is confident his Naval Academy education played a large part in setting him apart from his peers in the job market.
"Those of us graduating from the Academy were thrust into leadership at a very young age, rather than followership," said Woods, a New Jersey native who lives with his wife, Christy, in Kingwood, TX, a suburb of Houston. "Those who went straight into industry really had to learn to lead by coming up through the ranks. I received an excellent education at the Naval Academy, one I didn't even have to pay for. I couldn't have had those experiences anywhere else. And while the 12 years I spent in the Academy and in the Marine Corps—I was an enlisted Marine before going to the Naval Academy Prep School and then the Academy—seemed like a huge chunk of my life then, looking back on it in my ‘70s, it's nothing."
That gratitude has inspired Woods and his wife, Christy, to include the Academy in their estate plan through a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT), which they established with the Naval Academy Foundation in 2002. The Foundation serves as trustee, investing the assets and filing the required tax returns on the Woods' behalf during their lifetimes. After their deaths, Foundation assumes unrestricted use of the remainder of the trust.
It's an arrangement that benefits both the Foundation and the Woods family. "This is a good way of making sure we have some income coming in our later years," said Woods, who has a daughter and two granddaughters, all grown. "We have other resources to leave to our heirs and the ability to give to the Academy. I try to diversify everything, including our estate. This trust made sense to me."
The CRUT is just one way the Woods family has shown its support for the Academy in the years since Woods' graduation, service in Vietnam and time as an instructor at the Naval Air Technical Training Center. He has served as a Blue and Gold officer, helping to recruit promising young men and women to attend the Academy, president of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and a trustee of the Alumni Association. He is also a charter donor of President's Circle, the Naval Academy Foundation's flagship leadership giving society.
"Back then, we took the Naval Academy experience so much for granted," he said. "But I don't know a single person I graduated with who regrets their decision. Attending the Naval Academy is the most important thing I've ever done."
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