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Deborah and William Holden: A Human Rights Legacy

Deb and Bill Holden are helping human rights and social justice efforts now and in the future through their legacy with UUSC.

By on July 16, 2019

Deb and Bill Holden were first introduced to Unitarian Universalism and UUSC by their friends in the 1990s. At the time, they were living in a conservative Nebraska community and discovered that they were able to live out their progressive values as both members of UUSC and within their congregation. They later moved to the Atlanta area, where their involvement with UUSC deepened through congregational social justice efforts.

Today, the Holdens live in Candler, North Carolina and are members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. They moved to Asheville in part to be closer to their son and three grandchildren, but also as Deb says, “because Asheville is the most liberal town in the South.” As part of their social justice efforts at their congregation, Deb serves as a UUSC congregational liaison. In this role, she links her congregation’s activities with UUSC, sharing program updates and identifying opportunities for human rights action.

Despite moving around the country, the Holdens have maintained a deep commitment to UU values as steadfast members of UUSC. For them, what sets UUSC apart from other human rights organizations is:

  • UUSC’s partnership model of working with local, grassroots organizations;
  • A high ranking from charity watchdog groups;
  • That UUSC serves as an anchor for the global UU presence; and
  • UUSC’s emphasis on addressing critical social justice issues that are often overlooked.

Realizing the importance of securing future human rights efforts, the Holdens established a legacy with UUSC, which includes a donor advised fund and their individual retirement accounts (IRA). By establishing a donor advised fund, Deb and Bill have streamlined their annual support to UUSC while taking advantage of an important tax benefit. The Holdens have also named UUSC as beneficiaries of their IRAs—again exercising potential tax benefits, but in this case, through their estate. By utilizing both a donor advised fund and their IRAs, the Holdens are able to support an institution that they hold dear, while supporting their own futures as well.

The Holdens reviewed their estate plan after relocating to Asheville in 2016. They  retired several years earlier, and felt it was time to review their financial and charitable goals. While it was still important for them to continue supporting their son and his new family, they also knew his family was more settled, allowing Deb and Bill to increase their own charitable giving. And so, more recently, they took advantage of the collaborative UU Wake Now Our Vision legacy challenge—by increasing their planned gift to UUSC, while also naming the UUA and their congregation in their estate plans.

Bill and Deb find enormous satisfaction in knowing that, for many years to come, they can make a lasting impact in human rights in their own community and around the world —all through their own legacy.

For more information on creating a legacy for the future of human rights, please contact Brendan Donnelly, UUSC’s Planned Giving and Major Gifts Officer, at 617-301-4349 or by email at, or visit

Photo Credit: Bill and Deb Holden


About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!

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