Jackie Wallace, president and chief professional officer of the organization, said the gift of $165,000 is the largest individual gift that the United Way of Hall County has received in its 60-year history.
Nalley outlined in his will that the funds should be given to the United Way, but his family decided upon the direction of that gift, said Danny Dunagan, a nephew of Nalley’s.
"I decided to do that because he just loved education and he thought it was important," Dunagan said of his uncle. He added that Nalley had three college degrees. The gift was used to establish the J. Cleon Nalley Fund for Educational Enhancement, to credit his dedication to education.
Nalley was known for his musical prowess and was a member of the Athens band The Jesters. He played bass and sang for the band. Nalley died July 12.
Wallace said it is the first time the organization has gotten a planned estate gift, but she encourages others to consider gifts to the United Way in their estate planning.
"Through the generosity of Mr. Nalley, this gift will live on for many years," she said.
The presentation of the cash gift was made last week at the United Way offices to members of the United Way board of directors by Danny Dunagan and Stanley Dunagan, Nalley’s nephews.
Wallace explained that the organization has invested the principal and will use the interest to fund education grants. The criteria for those grants have not been determined yet, and will be set by the board of directors, she said.
United Way of Hall County is a nonprofit organization that provides funds for 16 local health and human care agencies and other programs.