Friendly Advice Leads to Gift
Evan Crosby (60C) might have spent nearly four decades serving as budget director of a well-known Georgia university, but when an elderly friend asked him to recommend a charity that she could bequeath part of her estate to, his beloved Berry College immediately came to mind.
Crosby and his wife, Rosemary, were neighbors and longtime friends of Jack and Mary Shay. Over the years, the couples shared about their lives, and for Crosby that meant telling them his Berry story.
"I was the youngest of three boys," Crosby recalled. "When my dad died, my mother had to raise us by herself. We worked on a nearby farm, and whatever the farmer paid us is what we had to live on. There wasn't any money for college, but our pastor knew one of the religious leaders associated with Berry. He helped me get in." Crosby worked his way through Berry, earning a bachelor's degree in business.
Crosby's stories of Martha Berry and her educational philosophy must have resonated with Mary, a teacher and guidance counselor. Like Miss Berry, she valued education and had devoted many years of her life to helping young people fulfill their potential. Crosby believes his friend even read Harnett T. Kane's "Miracle in the Mountains," a much-beloved biography of Martha Berry.
As the years passed, Mary's husband, Jack, began to confide in Crosby that he was concerned about what would happen to his wife when he passed away. He asked Crosby and Rosemary to watch over Mary, and requested that Crosby help her manage her finances.
Following Jack's death, Crosby encouraged Mary to update her will, and he put her in touch with an attorney. It was during this process that Mary asked for Crosby's advice.
"She knew I had graduated from Berry, and she felt good about the college because of its background and mission," Crosby said. "I thought it would be good to have a scholarship or a program at Berry in her name and Jack's as a way to recognize them for all they did for others throughout their lives. It will be a way for them to invest in the lives of young people forever."
Crosby's quick thinking and willingness to suggest Berry and Mary's tremendous generosity means that hard working students will have the opportunity to benefit from the high-quality education we offer — and its lifelong value — forever. If you or someone you know are looking for a way to change lives and impact the future, consider including Berry in your will or recommending that others do so.
Establishing a bequest at Berry College is easy — just adding a few sentences to your will is sufficient. Helen Lansing, Berry's senior planned giving officer, can help guide you through the process. Including Berry in your estate plan has no effect on your current financial position and can have the added benefit of reducing estate taxes for your loved ones.