January 3, 2022

If you’re like most, you enjoy supporting your favorite charitable causes. From small grassroots political campaign donations to purchasing tins of popcorn or boxes of cookies from a child, you selflessly give knowing that you are serving the greater good. But where exactly does your hard-earned money go? Smaller transactions are easier not to sweat; you give with a cheerful heart and hope the organization spends your dollar wisely. But what about major gifts? Would you gift thousands of dollars and just hope for the best?

If you answered, “Of course not,” we hear you—and agree. The Texas A&M Foundation exists so that you can direct major charitable gifts to support your Aggie passions. Some have many interests and others have one. The common denominator is that all Texas A&M Foundation donors can rest assured that their gifts will be used in accordance with their wishes.

Read the stories below to learn how Aggies and non-Aggies, alike, completed WHOOP-worthy goals in 2021 by using planned gifts to directly support their interests.

Saving Texas Parks & Wildlife

A romance that began while scuba diving at Balmorhea State Park was always going to involve nature. Elaine and Bobby Cowley dove deeper into their relationship, eventually marrying and continuing their careers in Midland, Texas—Elaine as an oil and gas engineer and Bobby as a heavy equipment superintendent.

After living in Midland for nearly three decades, the couple retired and moved to Central Texas in 2016 to be closer to family. Moving to the Palmetto State Park area, they got involved with the Guadalupe chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. Their two dogs, along for the ride, also enjoyed the change of scenery.

Elaine and Bobby Cowley's gift will help preserve the natural beauty of Texas for generations to come.

As a statewide outdoorsmanship program housed in the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Master Naturalist develops a corps of knowledgeable volunteers to implement strategies for wildlife management in their local communities. As volunteers, Elaine finds joy in leading birding groups, while Bobby conducts water sampling tests. 

“The park system is very important to us,” Elaine explained, “and the Texas Master Naturalists are a resource for them.  Local volunteers play an important role in expanding the capability of Texas Parks & Wildlife. If we’re going to conserve all of this for future generations, people need to step up through volunteerism or financial support.”

Elaine and Bobby made their own financial commitment to their shared interest by planning a gift in their will to fund Texas Master Naturalist efforts after their lives. Until then, the pair looks forward to sharing their love of the outdoors with family and new friends through the parks. They witnessed how outdoor recreation areas proved an important lifeline for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they believe the future looks bright for developing interpersonal connections alongside the natural and varied landscapes of Texas.

Supporting Their Flock

Brook ’05 and Michael Cross ’02 met as students at Texas A&M University. Michael was drawn to agriculture and poultry science for its tight-knit community, while Brook felt at home in a school as rich in tradition as her own family.

Sharing a Love for Aggieland

Chris Andrews ’79 met his future wife, Anna, in sixth grade, but sparks didn’t fly until they reunited at their 20th high school class reunion in their hometown of McAllen, Texas. Within six months, they were married and began building their life together in Aurora, Colorado. With a bachelor’s degree in recreation parks and tourism sciences (RPTS) from Texas A&M, Chris became a career postal clerk, while Anna worked as a medical librarian and volunteered in hospitals.

Someday, Anna and Chris Andrews' love for Texas A&M will be celebrated by a Foundation Excellence Award scholar from the Rio Grande Valley.

While cradled in the mountains of Colorado, far from McAllen and Aggieland, the lovebirds watched football games from their rival alma maters on the couch with their golden retriever family members. Anna had attended the University of Houston and University of South Carolina, and although her team frequently tasted defeat at the hands of the Fightin’ Texas Aggies, she never made a show of losing.

Even with their friendly collegiate rivalry, it was Anna who first suggested that Chris demonstrate their shared passion for Texas A&M by endowing a scholarship. While she never attended the university, she knew that Chris loved Aggieland, and she loved him. When Anna unexpectedly passed in 2021, Chris knew he had to honor the love of his life by fulfilling their shared goal. He used his life insurance policy to plan the Anna Maria and Christopher A. Andrews ’79 Foundation Excellence Award. Their scholarship will aid underserved RPTS majors from McAllen.

“Being an Aggie taught me how to get through life,” Chris explained. “A degree at Texas A&M prepares you to live without compromising yourself.”

Today, Anna’s legacy lives on through the lives she touched. But one day, a teenager from the Rio Grande Valley will attend Texas A&M and be moved by the legacy that she and Chris created together.

Want to direct your dollar to support your passions at Texas A&M? Contact Angela Throne ’03 at the bottom of this page.