Visionary Donor Leaves a Powerful Legacy for his Community and Family
Submitted by the Community Foundation of Collier County
When Henry E. Haegg, Jr., 93, passed away in February 2017, he left his stepchildren a significant donor-advised fund in each of their names at the Community Foundation of Collier County, in addition to a $1-million-plus unrestricted donation to meet emerging needs.
Although his heirs had no idea he was planning to leave behind such a monumental legacy gift, they weren’t surprised, either.
“Henry’s philosophy was 'Put back more than you take out,'" says stepson Jamey Halpin of Naples, Fla. "That really was the bottom line for Henry."
Haegg accepted five stepchildren as his own after marrying their widowed mother, Margaret (Peg) Halpin, in 1969, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. With two engineering degrees and an MBA from Harvard Business School, the World War II veteran worked in his family’s business before establishing Haegg Construction Company.
The Haeggs moved to Naples in 1970, were among the first Pelican Bay residents, and helped build St. John's Episcopal Church. Peg died in 2008.
One of his stepsons, David Halpin, passed away, so his donor-advised fund is being administered by his widow, Kathleen Halpin.
“We all thought it was outstanding that Henry set this up to continue his philanthropy and ours,” says Kathleen. David died from Alzheimer’s, so she plans to focus on dementia but notes that her children “may have their own specific charities they are interested in. I will use them as sounding boards where our giving will be.”
Jamey Halpin, an All-American high school and college swimmer, is interested in youth development and any “pocket of strong need. This has really opened up our eyes to being generous,” he says.
Community Foundation President/CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler says Haegg offers a powerful example of impactful giving.
“I’ve never seen a path to passing on philanthropy the way this one has taken,” she said.
Haegg left an indelible legacy for the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation in his will, too. Giving back to both communities “shouldn’t be either-or. It should be both,” she says.