Leading Through Legacy
Many times we’ve shared the story of Jewell Thompson Schweitzer as the founder of the Humanitarian Award. But her legacy extends well beyond that. Her estate gift received in 2020 created both a large unrestricted fund for the CFO and a designated fund to support her church and three educational institutions.
Unrestricted gifts are both highly valued and harder to access. Donors need a willingness to cede control to a trusted institution to use the gift wisely. Jewell Schweitzer’s long relationships with the CFO and her valued advisors at BKD Private Client gave her the peace of mind to know that a percentage of her endowed gift will be used each year for needs she couldn’t have anticipated during her lifetime.
“I know that she absolutely believed in CFO and the mission of improving the community,” says Laurie Edmondson, her goddaughter and current CFO Board vice chair. “I think she chose an unrestricted gift because she understood the value of that category of giving and knew that CFO would use it in the best way possible.”
A commitment to educational achievement is a common thread among legacy leaders. Several recent estate gifts will create opportunities for students. More by coincidence than design, students in western Missouri will benefit enormously from two significant gifts designated for scholarships.
Clinton Schilling was a native of Lockwood, pop. 895, in the fertile farmlands of Dade County. Schilling particularly enjoyed the “dirt work” at the farm he shared with wife, Nancy. Their mutual passion for hard work led to a successful farming career that they wanted to enable for others. Their scholarship will support students in Barton, Dade, Jasper and Lawrence counties pursuing vocational, technical and agricultural education.
From left to right: Jewell Thompson Schweitzer; Linda and Larry Hale; Nancy and Clinton Schilling; Paul Ripley; and Dr. Colleen Rose.
About 40 miles north in Sheldon, Larry Hale was a cattle rancher who also became a successful agriculture real estate broker. He and his wife, Linda, created a joint scholarship through the CFO and the Missouri State University Foundation to support MSU students from Barton and Vernon counties.
And across the region in the small south-central community of Doniphan, Paul Ripley’s estate gift supports students at Three Rivers Community College who want to continue on to four-year colleges. His career as a music teacher and education administrator informed his belief in the power of education to set a trajectory for his students’ lives.
Other legacy gifts split the difference between an unrestricted purpose and a specific intent. These donors focus on an area of interest with latitude for changes that may occur in years to come. Dr. Colleen Rose was a well-known neonatologist for CoxHealth for nearly 25 years. Her estate gift marries her personal and professional passions through an endowed field-of-interest fund to support women’s reproductive rights and animal welfare projects in southwest Missouri.
These donors, among many others, show how legacy leadership is fueled by thoughtful intent and purposeful optimism for making life better for others after we leave ours.
The Power of Planned Giving
As a frame of reference to the power of endowed legacy gifts, consider the Henry J. and Lucille J. Straus Scholarship Fund, which in 2021 marked its 10th year of support for students attending private colleges or universities.
As of Oct. 30, 2021:
- Total funds received: $6,838,065
- Scholarships granted: $3,274,524
- Current fund balance: $8,796,503
At its current pace, it will have granted as much as the initial gift in another 10 years.
“This is a great example of the importance and power of endowments,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “Think of how many young people have had their futures changed because of this.”