Personal Giving Stories
Gift Annuity Offers Donor More Than Just a High Rate: A Way to Further Honor His Son's Memory
Wendell Hahn is a special man. He took a moment of deep, wrenching sorrow—the death of his only son—and turned it into an outpouring of generosity. Wendell's son Stephen Hahn was a reporter for the Springfield Journal-Register when he died of a heart attack at age 32. "You feel that your heart's cut right in half," Wendell says. "But gradually your heart heals."
To honor their son's memory, Wendell and his late wife Ruth began giving scholarships to young people in Illinois. "It's a wonderful thing to be able to give," he says. One of the scholarships honoring his son was for a student in UIS' Public Affairs Reporting (PAR). Under the direction of renowned journalist Charlie Wheeler, PAR is a master's degree program for reporters covering public affairs.
Wendell recently enhanced the PAR scholarship, which will increase the amount of the scholarship or enable more students to receive help. He chose a charitable gift annuity to do so. "With a gift annuity, I can zero in on an area of interest, which for me is communications and journalism because of my son. And, in this economic era of extremely low interest rates, here is something that for my age pays upwards to 7½ percent. That's an amazing thing in itself. It just all adds up to a great charitable program."
Wendell has known devastating sorrow, but when he speaks about giving his eyes shine. He genuinely receives pleasure from helping others and knowing his gifts in support of education are changing lives.
"They say knowledge is power," he says, "but I would say instead that knowledge is enlightenment. We have so much darkness in the world today. With education we can keep making progress toward reducing the darkness in the world."
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