Personal Giving Stories


Photo of Micah and Peggy BartlettEmpowering others is the reason that Micah and Peggy Bartlett launched a UIS scholarship in 2008 and then bolstered their support several years later through a bequest that will one day fully endow the scholarship.

“I’d rather help someone get ahead than help them get by,” says Micah ’95, the president and CEO of Town and Country Bank. “Education is the great equalizer. No matter where you’re born—rich or poor—education will make your life better.”

Micah called their bequest a “painless and practical way to give.”

“We are still young,” Micah says. “We still have to balance how much we support others and how much we help our own family. A bequest is something we can anticipate for the future, and yet declare our support for UIS today.”

The Peggy and Micah Bartlett Scholarship helps fund Project Midstate Student Support for Teaching (MSS), which prepares students to teach in local schools. Micah says, “We have based our giving on this principle: If you give a person a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a person to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

The MSS Program takes it a step further: If you teach a person to teach other people, the entire village eats for a lifetime.

In Micah’s boyhood home, higher education was hardly a given. Neither of his parents graduated from college, and Micah recalls that his mother often said, “It’s my job to get you kids through high school. After that, you’re on your own.”

A good student in high school, Micah “just sort of fell into college.” He attended community college and then graduated from UIS (then Sangamon State University) with a degree in accountancy. He then went on to the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by an M.B.A. at Northern Illinois University.

Micah says that when he made that off-hand decision to attend college he could not have possibly fathomed how powerful education would become and how much it would transform his life and the lives of others around him. So, of course, he wanted to give back. When first approached about giving to UIS, Micah and Peggy—who co-owns and operates a hair salon in Geneva, Illinois—added their support to the endowed scholarship of beloved accountancy professor Donald Stanhope. They eventually set up their own scholarship and hope that their giving, both annually and through their bequest, will empower transformation in the lives of many UIS students.

“For both of us,” Peggy says, “education is something we really value for all people.”

The U of I Foundation gift planning staff is pleased to answer your questions and offer assistance at any time. Please contact the Foundation to learn more.


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