A Gift of Education Changes Lives for Generations

Bonnie Westra contributed to the SBCO Scholarship Fund to help future generations obtain college educations.

Bonnie Westra contributed to the SBCO Scholarship Fund to help future generations obtain college educations.

Ron Andrea

Bonnie Westra is one of several local residents who has contributed to the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship Endowment Fund.

“I know from experience that education is a gift that keeps on giving,” said Bonnie. “I was a first-generation college student and didn’t have family role models to show me the benefits of a college education. I just knew I wanted a better job and a better life. With the generous support of both people and programs, I was able to finance my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees. As a result of my education, I held many interesting jobs in clinical nursing, partnered in a startup software business, and enjoyed faculty positions that included research, education, and service.”

This year Bonnie turned 70.5, requiring her to take the mandated IRA distribution. The additional income affected her taxes. After talking with her tax accountant, she decided it was a great time to benefit others through a qualified charitable distribution. Bonnie was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and her husband was a graduate of Purdue. They planned to provide financial support for scholarships to both of these institutions. However, as she became more involved with SaddleBrooke and the community outreach programs, she saw an opportunity to help on a local basis as well.

“What was so appealing about supporting the Scholarship Endowment Fund, just announced last October, was that it is building a sustainable foundation to keep on giving into the future. The stories of the scholarship recipients that I read in the SaddleBrooke papers were inspiring. They opened up my eyes to how we can raise up our community, not just SaddleBrooke, but the community surrounding us. Education can provide opportunities for others, just as I was fortunate to receive my education and live dreams that seemed impossible early in my life.

“It’s now payback time for me. The Scholarship Endowment Fund has a personal financial benefit for me, but the driving force in my decision to donate is my commitment to the next generation. My gift will help deserving, hard-working students for many generations to come.”

Donations to the Scholarship Endowment Fund can be made through estate plans or trusts, by donating a portion of an IRA retirement account, or by donating cash. Gifts of property such as real estate or cars is another option. The minimum donation is $5,000. For more information about the Community Outreach Scholarship Endowment Program, contact Ron Andrea at 520-904-4831 or [email protected]