March 27, 2024

In 2008, the community of Aruna Chapori, a serene village in eastern India, faced a dilemma as a herd of elephants sought refuge in a nearby forest, leaving behind a trail of disruption. This incident prompted the Indian Forest Service to uncover an astonishing discovery. Where nature seemed unlikely to flourish, a dense, thriving forest stood as a testament to human determination and the spirit of conservation. This forest, spanning 1,360 acres, was the life's work of Jadav “Molai” Payeng, whose simple act of planting bamboo seedlings in 1979 transformed a barren sandbar into a lush ecosystem, highlighting the profound impact of individual initiative on our world. 

This story mirrors the foundational belief of the Texas A&M Foundation in the transformative power of giving. Our vision—to be recognized among the most trusted philanthropies in higher education—guides our commitment to promoting long-term directed and endowed giving. Endowed gifts, particularly those made through estate planning, are the ultimate seeds of legacy, fostering a future of endless possibilities for Texas A&M University and its community. 

Estate gifts are a cornerstone for building a sustainable future. They are generational in their impact, ensuring that your values and vision transcend time, nurturing countless generations of Aggies. Like the forest nurtured by Payeng, an endowed estate gift grows and thrives, providing ongoing support that adapts and evolves with the needs of our university. It is a living legacy, perpetuating the spirit of giving and the pursuit of excellence for which Texas A&M is renowned. 

As we reflect on the growth from the solitary Old Main building to the vibrant Aggieland of today, we recognize the undeniable influence of those who have planned estate gifts. These are not mere contributions but are indeed seeds of progress, sown with foresight and hope. The stories within the 2024 spring issue of Heritage celebrate such visionaries, whose generosity has blossomed into significant sources of support, enriching our Aggie community's fabric. 

Your potential contribution, viewed through the lens of the present, may seem like a single tree in an expansive forest. Yet, remember the power of one man to transform barren land into a sanctuary for life, and know that together, we are not just planting seeds for the future; we are nurturing a forest of opportunity, growth and legacy for generations of Aggies to come who will positively shape the state, nation and world.  

Thanks for all you do. 

Tyson Voelkel ’96 

President & CEO 

Texas A&M Foundation