Dr. Hal Lassiter first became interested in Native cultures early in his career after spending 10 years caring for children as a pediatrician on the Navajo and Wind River reservations.
“It was there that I developed a respect for Indian cultures,” Dr. Lassiter said. He went on to work as a neonatologist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky, while heading a neonatal research lab for 17 years.
Dr. Lassiter’s early experience working with Native communities piqued his interest in the American Indian College Fund, which he has supported for more than two decades.
Dr. Lassiter decided to contact the Fund to establish an endowed scholarship for Native students. Staff provided him with “all sorts of information about the Fund, its investment strategies, IRS Form 990s, and annual reports stretching a decade back. All of this information confirmed the Fund consistently receives high charity watchdog and Better Business Bureau ratings.”
Next he spoke to Paul Schreder at Watershed Investment Consultants, the Fund’s investment consultant. “The Fund had a pristine record, Watershed’s fees were low, and everything was right in line with my intent. I had everything reviewed by my personal financial advisor and he confirmed everything I had found and there were no weaknesses.”
Dr. Lassiter considered the national availability of scholarships to students when creating his endowment. He found there are limited vocational program scholarship opportunities for Natives. “When people finish a vocational education program, they can generate income immediately or go on to support themselves as they further their education,” he says.
To achieve that end, Dr. Lassiter established the Lassiter Certificate and Vocational Education Endowment Fund with an initial gift of $50,000 and another planned gift for 2013 of $50,000 for endowed scholarships. Dr. Lassiter announced he is also leaving 80% of his estate with the Fund to ensure his legacy with Native peoples for generations.