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Treasurer Folwell Gives a Gift of Cash to Nonprofit that Helps Provide Gift of Life

Donate Life NC brings the gift of life to people in critical need of organ, eye and tissue transplants. State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, gave the gift of newfound cash to help sustain the agency’s mission on Thursday, April 18. 

“Donate Life is a remarkable organization with amazing staff, volunteers and partners who work diligently and selflessly to save lives, improve and extend lives. Thousands of North Carolinians are on a waiting list to receive a life-saving organ, and there are more than 103,000 men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list,” Treasurer Folwell said.

“Returning this money to its rightful owner is of particular importance to me,” said Treasurer Folwell, the inaugural recipient of the agency’s top honor, the James E. Holshouser Award, which recognizes exceptional efforts to raise organ donor awareness. “I will forever have a grateful and emotional bond with Donate Life NC’s life-saving mission in connecting donors with recipients who are running out of time and hope for a match.”

Treasurer Folwell’s young son Dalton was struck and killed by a motorist at a school bus stop in 1999. While still grieving he and his wife, Synthia, looked for a way to honor their son’s life. They decided to donate all of his organs, which benefited two dozen recipients awaiting transplants.

As a member of the N.C. House of Representatives, he championed the Heart Prevails Bill in 2007, breaking a legislative impasse to place a heart on the state driver’s license to ensure that an adult’s final wishes for organ donation were honored. In 2012 he worked with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to create and offer a Donate Life NC license plate to increase awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation. A portion of the money generated from the special tags goes to transplant centers to financially assist families when a loved one is receiving donated organs.

Staff at the Unclaimed Property Division of the Department of State Treasurer recently identified $3,025.20 that belongs to Donate Life NC. Treasurer Folwell returned the money to the Cary-based organization during its annual gala on Thursday night.

“As a statewide nonprofit saving and healing lives, every dollar is critical. We are so appreciative of the North Carolina Treasurer's office, giving us this opportunity to reclaim lost dollars. These funds will go right to work here in North Carolina helping the more than 3,500 people on the transplant waiting list,” said Deanna Kerrigan, Donate Life NC executive director.

Under state law, the Unclaimed Property Division of the Department of State Treasurer is currently safeguarding nearly $1.3 billion in funds that are escheated, or turned over, to DST. The money is awaiting return to the rightful owners after being lost, misdirected or overlooked. It represents 22.1 million properties statewide, and more than 25 million owners are associated with those properties. For the current fiscal year, UPD has paid 94,085 claims totaling more than $71 million as of Feb. 29. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2023, UPD paid 193,319 claims totaling $108,586,512, both historical records for a one-year period. 

Unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned.  

Unclaimed property can result from a person or entity forgetting they are due money, or from a move of location and forgetting to provide a new address. It also could result from a typing error in a house number or zip code in an address, a name change, or data loss from a business converting its computer system. As society becomes more mobile and steadily moves to electronic transactions, the risk of having unclaimed property has increased.  

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