February 16, 2021

The Peseks' current gifts allow them to see their impact, while their planned gift enables them to substantially increase that impact after their lives.

When Erika ’14 and Chris Pesek ’97 realized having children was not in the cards for them, they committed to helping future generations of Aggies get a quality education. “We considered how we could help other people’s kids who are struggling,” Erika said.

Their soul searching led the couple to establish three gifts through the Texas A&M Foundation. The genesis for the first endowment came after the couple provided financial support for an Aggie who couldn’t afford to return home during the winter break. Realizing that other Aggies had similar needs, the Peseks created a fund to specifically offer financial assistance during holidays or in times of crisis.

The next item on their philanthropic list involved establishing a scholarship for veterans and their spouses. This fund honors their respective family members who served in the military.

Recently, the couple focused on estate planning after Erika’s grandmother died. That process led to the establishment of a bequest that will provide additional financial support to increase the impact of their current endowments.

The Peseks’ joint passion for Texas A&M developed in different ways at different speeds. Chris’ older Aggie siblings inspired him to attend the university. Erika—who hails from Austin and earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin—met Chris when both were teaching. She soon fell in love with her future husband and his beloved Aggie traditions. Erika eventually became an Aggie herself, earning a master’s degree.

The couple began budgeting early in their marriage to provide financial support to worthy causes. They were pleasantly surprised to learn that creating an endowment through the Foundation was feasible, even on their combined teacher salaries and while paying for Erika’s graduate studies. “We realized that while an endowment was a minimum of $25,000, you could create one by spreading payments over five years,” Erika said. “It became apparent that it was doable with our budget.”

Through leading by example, the couple wants to do their part in supporting future generations of Aggies. “Hopefully, some of these funds will give someone a leg up,” Chris added. “They’ll remember the gift and create one in return. We also want to set an example that individuals on schoolteacher salaries can create meaningful gifts to Texas A&M.”

To learn more about supporting the Division of Student Affairs with a planned gift, please contact Amy Bacon '91 by completing the form below.

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