Edward Vest

Dr. Edward Vest is using planned giving to ensure future educators can achieve their dreams.

Dr. Edward Vest was raised in Brandywine, Maryland, by parents who instilled in him the importance of getting an education. "It was known from the time that I could understand what was going on that I was going to college," Vest recalls.

He took their values to heart. After graduating with an AA in 1957 from GW, Vest went on to receive a BA, MA, and EdD from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

"GW was a commuter college in those days," he said. "At that time, I had no idea I would be able to do what I've gone on to do."

Equipped with an education, Vest spent over four decades in high school leadership positions, much of it in Prince George's County, Maryland. He also served as president of the GW Alumni Association from 1988 to 1992.

After the death of his parents, Vest and his wife, Lucia, thought hard about what they wanted to do with an unexpected inheritance.

"We didn't want to build a McMansion, we didn't want a beach house, we were happy with where we were," Vest said. "And so finally over a period of time, we decided education is it." Soon after, they created the Vest Family Fellowship Fund, an endowed scholarship in honor of Vest's mother and father.

Through this fund, Vest has shared his love of learning and the opportunity to study at GW with a multitude of like-minded future educators.

"We started the scholarship here in the early 1990s, and as of a couple of years ago, there had been 192 recipients. It's just so, so rewarding to talk to people here at GW — hearing I'm a teacher here, a counselor here, I work with special needs kids — and to get to meet them and hear their stories. I enjoy it so much," he said.

Vest has added to the scholarship through charitable gift annuities (CGAs) funded with appreciated securities. CGAs provide fixed payments for life in exchange for a gift of $10,000 or more and provide a generous charitable income tax deduction, reduced capital gain tax liability, and secure income payments for life.

CGAs have allowed Vest to support his alma mater while avoiding capital gains taxes on old investments. "Tell me anything else you can do that's legal and get a 7% or 8% payment rate and a charitable tax deduction, and offset those taxes," he said. "I'm conservative in terms of investing risk, but with this, I'm able to sleep at night if the market drops."

Having received the gift of education himself, Vest's advice to others in the same position is to pay it forward. "A lot of the recipients will say, 'Dr. Vest, what can we do to thank you?' And I say, 'When you are at the apex of your career or you have reached retirement, or if you're able, do the same thing I did. Establish scholarships, so other kids can benefit from a GW education.' That is how you make an impact from generation to generation."

To learn about smart ways you can pay it forward, contact Adam Lewis at 202-994-7657 or aslewis@gwu.edu today.