A Legacy of Leadership

The David Lano Foundation Fund

On March 22, 2012, David Lano died suddenly at age 26 from bilateral pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in his lungs. His death was a profound loss, not just for everyone who knew him but the world at large.

David was a natural-born leader known for his outgoing personality, humor, compassion, charisma and phenomenal organizational skills. His mantra, from early childhood to the daily reminder he set up to appear each day on his cell phone, was “Be a leader.”

David Lano

David Lano

As the Lano family gathered to grieve, a wave of support came from their families, the parish community at Guardian Angels and from David’s colleagues at Enterprise, where he’d been on the fast-track to a management career. Everyone wanted to do something to honor his memory and his leadership spirit.

David’s father and mother, Mark and Sam Lano, were touched by the idea of creating a scholarship fund in David’s name at Holy Family Catholic High School. Enterprise volunteered to donate the proceeds from the company’s annual charity golf tournament in David’s name.

Private Family Foundation or Donor Advised Fund?
Mark and Sam needed a way to facilitate the fund to support a scholarship. They considered the possibility of a Private Family Foundation — but were dissuaded by the complex requirements of establishing and operating a 501(c)(3).

A family friend and attorney, Barb Brekke, suggested the family consider working with the Catholic Community Foundation. The Lanos were familiar with CCF from their involvement with Holy Family and met with a gift planner to talk about options.

Mark and Sam decided to establish The David Lano Foundation Fund, a Donor Advised Fund with CCF. Their goal is to build the fund over time through donations and their estate plan.

A Lasting Legacy, Guided By Faith
“It was far easier to set up, and less costly than a private family foundation,” says Mark. “We just wanted a conduit – a simple pathway – to make gifts that will be distributed as scholarships — and we wanted it to go on in perpetuity.”

“Going with CCF made sense because the Foundation supports our Catholic values,” notes Mark.  “Someday Sam and I won’t be here to manage it, and having the fund be Catholic-centric is very important to us.”

Scholarships are awarded to graduates from Guardian Angels Catholic School and Holy Family Catholic High School to pursue a Catholic education. The first were awarded in 2013.

One of the recipients is now a freshman at Creighton University and is already assuming leadership roles at the school. “Those are the kind of kids we’re looking for,” said Sam. “We hope David’s example will encourage and inspire them to set their own path of leadership.”

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