Paying it forward through a Gift of Life Insurance
Call-out quote:"All people need to look at their life insurance to see if their beneficiaries still match their life situation." Dan Stewart, Ed.D., '78
Paying it Forward through a Gift of Life Insurance
Purchasing life insurance was the right decision for Dan '78 and Mary Ellen (Crotty) '79 Stewart when their three children were young. As the Stewarts reached their 60s, however, it was time to reevaluate. "We set it up when we were young to provide for our family. Our kids are established and doing well now," says Dan Stewart, Ed.D. "All people need to look at their life insurance to see if their beneficiaries still match their life situation."
With their children launched, the Stewarts made Flagler College a beneficiary of one of their $50,000 life insurance policies. As faithful donors for more than 25 years, the couple had already endowed the Jason N. Stewart Memorial Scholarship for Leadership. The scholarship assists a future student leader and honors the Stewart's late son who was well known throughout the Flagler community. Though disabled, "Jason became a leader in his own capacity by his demeanor and attitude. This scholarship keeps his legacy going forward," Dr. Stewart says.
Giving Back to Those Who Give So Much
The Stewarts have been associated with the College for more than four decades. They met on campus, and both earned degrees here, as did their son Josh in 2010 , and their daughter-in-law, Caitlyn, in 2011. "Friendships we developed there are still with us today. We're fortunate to have had a positive student experience and to see the College grow," says Mary Ellen Stewart.
Dr. Stewart had a front row seat to the school's growth. Though now retired, he worked at the College almost since its inception, serving in a variety of leadership positions. He spent 26 years as the chief Student Affairs officer where he oversaw the student leadership teams which evolved over time and encompassed different boards and councils. The teams now include resident advisors, Student Government Association leadership, the Campus Activity Board, and Flagler Volunteers. Dr. Stewart also served as vice president of Student Services and held several positions within the Athletics Department. Throughout his multi-faceted career, he drew lessons from his Flagler education. "The outstanding classes challenged me. I've probably called on all of those classes in my career."
Dr. Stewart's interactions with student leaders inspired his philanthropy. "Having spent 40 years working at Flagler, I know how important scholarships are for students. There are very few scholarships for student leaders who give an unbelievable amount of their time and talent back to the College." Other than the Student Government Association president, the leaders receive no financial compensation.
When it came time to update their life insurance beneficiaries, the process was simple. "I filled out one form and notified the Office of Institutional Advancement. It was easy," says Dr. Stewart, who feels that reevaluating your beneficiaries is a crucial part of keeping your estate plan current.
The Community-College Connection
As long-time donors, the Stewarts lead by example, while encouraging others to support the institution that is integral to St. Augustine's identity. "You'd be hard pressed to go anywhere in this community and find someone who is not involved in the College, either as a student, parent of a student, faculty, or staff member. It has done so much for the community," Dr. Stewart says.
Reflecting on all of the causes needing support, Mary Ellen Stewart says, "We all receive so many solicitations. Think with your heart and do what you can." Flagler College is a cause close to the hearts of the Stewarts, as is the memory of their son Jason. Despite his personal challenges, he always brought a smile to everyone he met. By supporting student leaders at Flagler College, his legacy lives on.
To learn more about using life insurance or other planned gifts to support Flagler College, contact Nicole Pece, at 904-819-6406, or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 904-819-6437.