Patrick Flanagan was Program Director and taught in the Interior Design Program at MATC for 30 years, retiring in 2006. He taught earlier at Fox Valley Tech in Appleton for 3 years prior to returning to the UW for graduate school and his subsequent employment at MATC.
Patrick says, “Education was a family value for as long as I can remember, so I knew that if I were able, I would focus any gifts on education. Although I have two degrees from the UW, Madison College was my life for 30 years, so a gift to the Madison College Foundation has the most meaning for me.”
With his partner, Patrick attended the “first ever Rainbow Scholarship Dinner fundraiser” in May 2018. His expectation was that the event would be like many other fundraisers they had attended, with a cocktail hour, dinner, sometimes long-winded speakers, and an opportunity to donate more than the price of the tickets by participating in the silent auction. What he didn’t expect was the impact those speakers would have on him.
Joy Matthews spoke first as the representative of QBE Insurance in Sun Prairie, whose PRIDE employee group along with the QBE Foundation endowed the Rainbow Scholarship with a gift of $20,000. QBE added to their initial gift in both 2019 and 2020. Patrick was moved by Joy’s initiative and determination in securing the funds to endow a scholarship at Madison College.
Listening next to the stories of the three student speakers, Patrick realized he had no idea of the challenges LGBT students were still facing in 2018, challenges that directly impacted their ability to get an education. Their stories of commitment and perseverance stayed with him, and he decided to delay a planned 2019 contribution to the Madison College Foundation for the Interior Design program in order to first provide additional funds for the Rainbow Scholarship.
Patrick explains that in 2019 he was expecting to make his first required minimum distribution (RMD) from an IRA he had been contributing to since the early 1980s. The RMD was fully taxable as income, and it was income he really didn’t need. He was aware that a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from the IRA could be made in place of an RMD, avoiding any tax liability and going directly to the Madison College Foundation. He offers the following encouragement: “I have suffered more pain with the paper ups and downs of the financial markets over the last 20 years. The QCD is painless!”