Planned gifts allow donors to optimize their impact at FIU, while directing their philanthropy toward a tailored need. Van Chesnutt ’78, who made a planned gift to create a scholarship fund, moved to Seattle shortly after graduating from FIU and spent 20 years with Boeing before leaving and founding Means to an End, an information technology systems consulting firm.
Q. Why was it important to you to give back to FIU?
A. When I was attending FIU, I was going part time because I had to earn a living. I was fortunate that my employer at the time, American Hospital Supply Corporation, funded a portion of my tuition. Because I had a life outside academia, I know how difficult it can be to attend school and work at the same time. The business school course curriculum to earn a BBA was really good and well thought out. At the time I didn’t realize it, but in retrospect, I do.
Q. When did you decide to make a planned gift to FIU?
A. When I was making out my will and planning my estate, I contacted FIU to find out about setting up a scholarship fund. I thought this was a good idea because I highly value the education I received at FIU. I did not know if there was any predefined criteria or how to even begin the process. As with most things, it’s often best to start with the most simple and basic questions.
Q. What area did you choose to give back to, and how did you choose it?
A. The scholarship I chose to create is of my own design. It is with the College of Business, the college I attended. When I was a student I was working full time and attending school part time; in this situation, it can be difficult to achieve consistently high grades, specifically A’s. This is why I chose to create a scholarship for first-generation B students. It is my belief that most scholarships are designed for high achievers, those with a high grade-point average. That was not me. I wanted a good education, but not at the expense of everything else. Life generally does not work that way.
Q. What would you tell others who are considering making a planned gift?
A. When creating a scholarship or endowment, consider who might really need some financial assistance. Many scholarships are restricted for only the top students, but seemingly not many for students a little further down the line. I want to help these students because I understand how valuable their degree will be to their career. Go with what you like. Go with something that will represent who you really are.
Create a legacy that lives on forever at FIU
An endowment is an investment in the future of FIU, because endowed funds support activities not just for one year, or even one generation, but forever.
Endowments are created when donated money or other financial assets are invested in perpetuity by the university. The return on investment is used to fund opportunities such as scholarships and endowed professorships, or for other purposes that serve the donor’s wishes.
An endowment can be established with a gift of $25,000, which can be given over as many as five years. To explore ways that you can create a permanent legacy at FIU, reach out to the FIU Foundation today at (305) 348-6298.