Cary couple gives Wake Tech its largest donation

Posted August 9, 2011

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— Wake Technical Community College announced Tuesday the largest cash donation in its history, which will endow a series of scholarships.

The late Harold and Shirley Brenner of Cary bequeathed a gift of $500,000 to the Wake Tech Foundation to fund scholarships for students in medical assisting, law enforcement, welding, plumbing and other technical programs that can be completed in a year or less, Wake Tech President Stephen Scott said. Up to 40 students a year will receive the scholarships.

“The Brenners were excellent role models for all of us, putting great value on education and staying connected to their community," Scott said in a statement. "Wake Tech and its students are indeed fortunate to benefit from their generous legacy."

The couple learned about Wake Tech’s role in the community from their niece, Mable Howell, and her husband, former Wake Tech President Bruce Howell.

“My aunt and uncle believed in a strong work ethic and felt it was important to help young people acquire the necessary education and skills to become productive members of the community,” Mable Howell said in a statement.

The Brenners previously donated money for the Harold and Shirley Brenner Learning Commons in Wake Tech's library.


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  • btneast Aug 10, 2011

    You think their beneficiaries don't pay taxes???

    No, not all the time. Estates are exempted from taxation up to a certain amount....I think it is close to 1 million right now. "Tax Ploy"? Tax breaks for generous donations like this are given to encourage people to give to worthwhile causes ....they are completely legal, nothing shady about it. Why make the glass half empty all the time?

  • superman Aug 10, 2011

    The money is probably used to pay for tutition and books. I dont think it goes to pay for living expenses, cell phones and a SUV for the student. So the money should go a long way toward helping a lot of students. However the rate the banks paying for interest is very very little. In fact the interest now is so low on my savings account that I went ahead and paid my Wake County property taxes. It was a very generous gift. The scholarship shoud be tied into a loan. If the student doesnt complete the program and graduate the money should become a loan which the student must pay back.

  • mtucker108 Aug 9, 2011


    The 500k doesn't go to just support the 40 scholarships for one year. It is an endowment which means that only the interest is used to support the scholarships. The original money stays put in an account to keep building interest.

  • IzzMad2016 Aug 9, 2011

    I found Mr. Brenner's obituary on line. He passed away July 2010 at age 89. He was a retired Tyco executive; his wife a NC native which is why they retired to Cary. Preceeded in death by his wife Shirley. Survived by a few nieces and nephews. No mention of any children of their own.

  • MonkeyFace Aug 9, 2011

    krterian.... alot of the one year programs cost a couple hundred dollars if i'm not mistaken

  • Dido Aug 9, 2011

    Back in the 1980's, I couldn't afford to go to a university for a nursing education, so I went to Wake Tech's Associate Degree program. Twenty-eight years later, still going strong. Glad this will help so many others who can't go the 4 year route.

  • Kriterian Aug 9, 2011

    I wonder how much they give each student if $500,000 can sustain 40 scholarships a year.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Aug 9, 2011

    OBXBound - "Warrior Woman - I think you need to read this article again. It clearly says "The LATE Harold and Shirley...".

    You think their beneficiaries don't pay taxes???


    They pay taxes on every gain the estate earns pal.

  • OBXBound Aug 9, 2011

    Warrior Woman - I think you need to read this article again. It clearly says "The LATE Harold and Shirley...".

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Aug 9, 2011

    Well, thanks to them, but in truth, it's probably a tax shelter ploy so they don't have to pay Federal taxes on income earned.