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Donna '92 and Steven Leist '93 spoke to us about their motivation for giving back to Texas A&M University.

Why are you passionate about philanthropy?

As Christians, we feel called to help others. It is how we were raised, and we want to honor the resources God has given us by using them to give back. 

Why do you donate to Texas A&M University?

Our time at Texas A&M was incredibly impactful on our lives, positioning us for our future. We felt it was important to contribute as a “thank you” to Texas A&M for what it has meant to us, and we want to ensure others can also take advantage of the opportunities here. This is our second scholarship, and we plan to create more in the future.

Why did you choose to support first-generation students?

Statistics show that first-generation students leave college with more debt than students with college-educated parents. This higher debt creates more hurdles for first-generation students as they try to build wealth and provide for their families. We hope that our scholarship can lessen the financial burden for first-generation students and allow them to begin building generational wealth.

During the last five years, 859 gifts have been made from donor-advised funds to Texas A&M, totaling $23 million. A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a personal charitable savings account with a sponsoring organization, like a nonprofit or an investment company, that you can use to support your favorite charities, including the Texas A&M Foundation.

Contributions to the fund in the form of cash, stock or assets like real estate generate a tax deduction, but there may be fees associated with account management. If, like the Leists, you already have a DAF, you can use it to support your passions at Texas A&M. The Foundation accepts contributions from DAFs as one-time gifts or as lump-sums to create an endowment; there may be limitations when using a DAF to satisfy pledges. Learn more about the process of giving from a DAF.

  • True Brown

  • Senior Director of Development
  • Mays Business School
  • Call: 979.862.4531

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