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Young Donor’s Passion for International Study Translates Into Gift for Naval Academy

Brook StevensBrook Stevens defies most people's perceptions of what a Naval Academy donor should look like. First, he's not a Naval Academy graduate-and no one in his family is, either. Stevens was a midshipman at one point, but his growing interest in international study led him to leave the Academy after his youngster year to enroll in the University of San Diego, which offered a more robust array of international immersion experiences available to a larger percentage of the student body.

Then there's his age. Stevens, originally a member of the Naval Academy Class of 2012, is only 24-an age when most of his peers are still more concerned about paying for college and related loans than giving back to one.

While Stevens found a better fit for a place to complete his education, he still believes in the Academy and its mission. In addition to his contribution to the annual fund, Stevens has also made the Naval Academy Foundation the beneficiary of a portion of his life insurance policy and 401(k) plan. His planned gift arrangements direct the proceeds specifically to support the Academy's international programs.

"I'm a financial advisor with Millennial Capital Partners, an advisory firm that focuses on the millennial generation," said Stevens, a California native who now lives in New York City. "Every day I assist clients with their investments and estate-planning needs, helping them to arrange their financial lives so they are prepared for the events life brings. I also advise them on incorporating charitable giving into their plans. Daily conversations about how my clients could give back caused me to think about my own giving decisions and what I was passionate enough to focus my giving on. I realized just how much I wanted future midshipmen to have more options in terms of international study than I did. As a result I designated my planned gift arrangements specifically to benefit international programs."

Stevens includes many Naval Academy alumni among his clients. He encourages incorporating charitable giving as early as his clients are able and directing those funds to organizations, causes, or movements that they are truly passionate about-and for many of them, the Naval Academy ranks high on that list. Stevens believes that it is essential for his clients to establish a giving relationship in the beginning stages of their careers.

"Beyond the potential tax benefits, incorporating charitable giving into any household is a worthwhile cause," he said. "Building a giving relationship is not only the moral thing to do but it is also a great tradition. For example, if you have children, teach them about the importance of giving back by allotting a portion of your giving that they are allowed to direct to something they are passionate about. It's a great way to start the conversation early."

Let's hope that in many of his clients' households, that tradition of giving will focus as Brook's giving has-on the Naval Academy.

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