Fish Camp serves as an avenue to welcome and pass on Texas A&M University’s core values to incoming freshmen while also providing them with a close-knit support system. For most, Fish Camp is a four-day whirlwind of meeting new friends, learning about unique Aggie traditions and completing team-building activities in the Texas heat. But for Andrew Millar ’14, Fish Camp is a life-changing opportunity he wants all Aggies to experience.
Inspired by his time as a camper, counselor, co-chair and recently a namesake, Millar created a planned gift using his individual retirement account (IRA) to benefit the Fish Camp Membership Endowment so that future students might share in these experiences.
Originally from Houston, Millar attended Fish Camp as a freshman and then joined the student organization to serve as a counselor and chairperson. Although he participated in many student activities during his time at Texas A&M, Millar believes he learned the most through Fish Camp.
“Basically, you’re thrust into a room and must learn how to motivate and find common ground with 25 people who are very different than you,” Millar said. “And a few weeks later, 150 freshmen are added to the mix and you have to do it all over again.”
Learning relational and leadership skills through Fish Camp would later serve him well in his career. Today, Millar works for the Texas A&M Foundation as director of development for the College of Liberal Arts, where he assists donors in identifying the areas and programs they are passionate about to make meaningful gifts to advance the college.
A Plan to Provide
Millar recalls a time when he and a friend were discussing their plans for the coming year. He was surprised to learn that his friend’s future with Fish Camp depended on him being awarded a Fish Camp scholarship; otherwise, he wouldn’t have the necessary funds to continue as a counselor.
“What most people don’t realize is that many student activities aren’t free,” Millar said. “A couple hundred dollars shouldn’t stand between someone and a life-changing experience.”
Millar hopes that through his planned gift, future Aggies will not be placed in the same situation as his friend.
There is a common misconception that only older people need to think about their estate, but Millar didn’t want to waste any time. “Estate planning is not just for those 65 and older,” he said. “It’s not just for those who are 40 and older. If you’ve been working for a couple of years, you have enough assets to warrant some sort of plan. And me? I’m a planner anyways. I like to know that my documents in order.”
Through planned gifts, you can provide for loved ones, receive tax benefits, generate potential retirement income and help Texas A&M all at the same time. A wide range of planned gift options is available, allowing you to tailor a gift to your unique needs and interests. After-lifetime beneficiary designation gifts, such as bequests or gifts of retirement assets, life insurance policies, and investment and bank accounts, benefit Texas A&M without utilizing your current assets or income.
To ensure that future Texas A&M students might share in the life-changing experience of Fish Camp, all Millar had to do was name the Texas A&M Foundation as beneficiary of his retirement account. As a development officer, Millar is well-versed in how simple it is to make a planned gift.
“Using retirement accounts like an IRA or a 401(k) is probably one of the easiest ways to make a gift,” he said. “Everyone needs beneficiary designations laid out for all their financial accounts, whether that’s your parents, spouse or siblings. What most people don’t realize is that you can name any nonprofit organization as a beneficiary of your assets, too. And these days you can update your beneficiary online by logging into your portal—it’s just as easy as logging into your Facebook account!” he laughed.
One day in the future, Millar’s planned gift will be realized and make a difference by sending Aggies to Fish Camp who might not otherwise be able to. All it took was 10 minutes of updating his paperwork.
Millar spent two weeks at Fish Camp this past summer. After finalizing his planned gift to benefit Fish Camp in January 2018, he found out months later that he had been nominated and selected to be a Fish Camp namesake, a great honor within the organization. With his parents in tow, Millar cherished the opportunity to spend time with the counselors and freshmen of session F purple, Camp Millar. He also attended session D lime, as Millar’s significant other Paige Hellman ’15 was honored as a namesake as well.
“It feels really good to know that one day after my lifetime, there’s something permanent in place to support Fish Camp and make an impact,” he said.
To discuss how a planned gift of retirement assets to the Texas A&M Foundation might benefit you, your family and the university, contact Angela Throne ’03 (below) in the Office of Gift Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 392-330 or (979) 845-5638.