Role models of generosity

Steve and Lori Eslary

Steve and Lori Eslary grew up in families where money was tight.

"The whole idea of planning to help someone else was new to us," Steve said. "When it comes to philanthropy, you automatically think you have to have a lot of money to do it, and that is not the case. You do what you can, and that's what we did."

Lori said Steve was the one to bring up the idea of making a planned gift to CU after he attended a scholarship luncheon and heard from donors and students.

When Steve suggested creating a scholarship endowment in honor of Lori's parents, she gladly accepted. This would create a fund that supports CU Denver students in perpetuity.

"He won my heart over," she said.

The George and Mary Hermosillo Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund was established using investments from the Eslarys' life insurance policies. The Eslarys next decided to establish a future endowment to benefit the Dean's Fund for Excellence at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at CU Denver, and did so by including the CU Foundation in their estate plans. This fund will also live in perpetuity within the CU Foundation.

"It's very humbling for us to see the students when they receive their scholarship. It is so heartwarming. The students are so thankful, and even some of the parents have approached us because they are so appreciative as well," she said. "Growing up in the same situation where your parents can't afford your education, it was kind of sad. But by doing this, it's a way of refilling a gap in a way, to see students just like us and see them continue their education."

Steve and Lori Eslary

Although Lori's late parents didn't have a lot of money, George and Mary Hermosillo volunteered their time in their Denver community.

"My father worked three jobs, and my mother was busy raising me and my eight siblings," Lori said. "My father, who worked in the local greenhouses, would supply carnations for the altar at Sacred Heart in downtown Denver, and my mother would help clean the church. Right up until the end, my father would go to the food bank, collecting and delivery food to people. That was their way of giving back."

Just as George and Mary were role models of generosity, Steve and Lori are hoping their philanthropic investments at CU inspires others to give back.

"I can't say enough about the CU Advancement staff who work with us. Working with them is critical," Steve said. "People may feel they don't have ability or the inclination to do a thing such as this. I would just say you have to find philanthropy through a need that is important to your heart and then find a way."

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