A special announcement made Thursday night will affect the next generations of Danville schoolchildren.
Julius W. Hegeler II has pledged $1 million to the Danville Public School Foundation upon his death.
“We are very, very fortunate to be a recipient of his generosity,” Bob Richard, executive director of the foundation, said. “It’s a surreal moment when someone is that generous.
“It ensures the long-term stability of the foundation,” he continued. “The next generation at Danville schools will be the beneficiary of the funds.”
The foundation’s mission is to provide enhanced educational opportunities for the children attending Danville Public Schools.
In 2009, Hegeler pledged $250,000 to the foundation, which was paid out during five years, with the last payment being made in July.
During the Festival of Trees Gala, Richard said he and Hegeler “were having a conversation about the foundation.”
Richard said that Hegeler told him he knew he “didn’t want it to stop there,” referring to Hegeler’s original contribution to the foundation.
“He is very mission focused,” Richard said of Hegeler. “He listens to what people need, and so much of it is youth focused. He wants to make a difference for youth in Vermilion County.”
Hegeler was honored at a celebration Thursday night at North Ridge Middle School during which he was presented with a recognition plaque.
“It’s not often we get to thank a person who will have an effect on children for such a long period of time,” Richard said.
Hegeler’s gift also spurred the foundation to start the Danville Public School Foundation’s Julius W. Hegeler II Legacy Circle.
Richard said the award will recognize donors who have notified the foundation of his or her plans to leave the foundation an estate gift.
The gifts can be of any size and may include a bequest in a will or living trust, bequests included in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other retirement plan or gifts of real property, farmland, stock or life insurance.
“It will allow us to recognize people who let us know we are a part of their estate plan,” Richard said. “They will become part of our legacy circle.”