How I Did It
Four years after my husband died on Sept. 11, I'm setting up a scholarship foundation in his name
(MONEY Magazine) – BY DENING LOHEZ, 37, NEW YORK CITY AS TOLD TO JANET PASKIN
"My husband Jerome was originally from France; he worked as a Software Engineer at One World Trade Center. After Sept. 11, I kept hoping for so long that he was all right. Eight months later, I got a knock on my front door from a police officer. I took my husband's remains to France and buried him there.
I wanted to set up a scholarship in Jerome's name for French students studying at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, which is where we both went. Stevens told me I needed $600,000 to endow a self-sustaining scholarship, or I could establish a smaller fund that would eventually run out. I had only Jerome's life insurance money, so I donated $30,000. On the second anniversary of Sept. 11, the French consul general called with his condolences, and I asked if I could use the consulate for a fund raiser. I wrote to the CEOs of French companies and asked them to sponsor it. Grand Marnier supplied the drinks, and a bistro in New York donated the food. We raised $6,000. The following year we raised $23,000.
Last year I got $3.9 million from the victims fund and decided to start my own foundation, which will grant scholarships to French exchange students. I teach business classes in New York City, but my career isn't quite settled yet, so right now this money is my financial security. I'm seeding the foundation with $100,000 and hope it will grow to $1 million. I also signed up for night classes to become a certified financial planner. I'd feel so guilty if I made any mistakes with this money. This is my gift to my husband."