Giving Life to the Ducks

This past spring, Hunt Gunter of Richmond, Virginia, became a member of Ducks Unlimited’s Feather Society in an innovative way

DU Major Sponsor Hunt Gunter (center) is leaving a conservation legacy for his children, Madeline and Chase.

DU Major Sponsor Hunt Gunter (center) is leaving a conservation legacy for his children, Madeline and Chase.

This past spring, Hunt Gunter of Richmond, Virginia, became a member of Ducks Unlimited’s Feather Society in an innovative way. He purchased a whole life insurance policy on his 21-year-old daughter, Madeline, and named DU as the owner-beneficiary. This approach to leaving a legacy is growing in popularity.

“Because of Hunt’s age, the policy on his daughter was a much more cost-effective way to make a major gift to DU,” explains Director of Gift Planning Jeromy Rutledge. “By purchasing a policy on his daughter, Hunt could easily pay the entire premium in a onetime payment rather than being burdened with large monthly payments over many years. It’s much more affordable for people to purchase policies on their children and grandchildren, pay them off immediately or over very short terms, and list DU as the owner-beneficiary. This also allows the premium payment[s] to be considered a donation to DU, which makes it tax deductible and counts toward a donor’s cumulative giving.”

Hunt is a vice president at The Wilton Companies and president of Wilton Realty. Collectively, Wilton owns, leases, and manages more than 3 million square feet of retail, office, and warehouse space as well as nearly 2,000 apartment units across southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Working at Wilton is where he met longtime DU supporter Rich Johnson, whom he considers a mentor and friend. It was at a tribute event in Rich’s honor that Hunt joined the Feather Society.

“Rich’s passion for Ducks Unlimited is infectious,” Hunt says. “I was a member of DU for years, but Rich really triggered my enthusiasm for the ducks even more. Rich and I have started several new DU events, including a Christmas Day raffle and a University of Richmond basketball event. Over the last decade, these events have raised nearly a half million dollars for the ducks. We love raising funds for DU!”

Hunt also has a passion for helping people suffering from addiction. He has been sober for over 20 years and has found that getting individuals with addiction issues out hunting and fishing is a great way to get them to focus and “open up” about their problems. Hunt has helped hundreds of adults and young people overcome their struggles with addiction.

“Hunt’s experience helping others with addiction is so vast and varied, he was tapped by Senator Mark Warner, when he was governor of Virginia, to serve as the chairman of the Virginia State Board for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse,” Rich says. “During Hunt’s time as chairman, Virginia made the largest investment in these programs in the state’s history. His leadership was, obviously, extraordinary.”

Hunt is a DU Heritage Sponsor, Grand Slam Sponsor in Perpetuity, and President’s Council member, as well as a Silver Feather Society member. Those who know him best describe him as a giving and generous person who loves his family and the outdoors.

“Hunt loves working on and spending time on the farms that he and his friends own and lease for waterfowl hunting,” says DU Senior Director of Development Chip Heaps. “He enjoys taking both new and experienced hunters into the field to share the waterfowling experience.”