William Thiele and Kathryn McIntyre have been supporters of the Coast Guard Foundation for more than 10 years, but it was only recently they discovered their true passion: scholarships for Coast Guard children. Education is essential to a strong future for the Coast Guard community, but the rising costs of school and other barriers make it inaccessible to many.
“We were never satisfied whenever our charitable giving was reduced to just writing a check,” Bill said. “We wanted to know that our support did something to make a difference in someone’s life.”
In partnership with the Coast Guard Foundation, Bill and Kathryn were able to do just that. Thanks to their commitment, Bill and Kathryn have helped three deserving Coast Guard kids make their way through college.
And beyond simply providing scholarship funding, Bill and Kathryn often serve as mentors to the students who have benefited from their philanthropy.
“We really liked the idea of helping a young person accomplish their goal of a college education,” He said. “A decent education is a gateway to opportunity. We are proud to know that we have a small part to play in making that possible.”
Bill and Kathryn live in New Zealand for most of the year, but they spend their summers cruising through the Northeast. “We have developed a great appreciation for the Coast Guard,” Kathryn explained.
Bill points to some of the lessons he learned early in life that influenced his thoughts on charitable giving.
“I grew up in Brooklyn,” he recalls. “I grew up in a time where the prevailing notion was if you worked hard, you were given a fair shot. It wasn’t long before I realized that life was not that simple. A lot of external factors contribute to that ‘fair shot’ and many deserving people never achieve it regardless of how hard they worked. I was also taught that if you are ever in a position to help someone – especially if you could help someone better their lives - you should do it.”
One of the students who benefited from their generosity is Katie Minehart. Katie graduated debt-free this May from American University, with a degree in International Relations.
“In addition to financial support through the scholarship, the emotional support provided by Bill and Kathryn was priceless! They constantly encouraged me and cheered me on throughout all of my endeavors,” shared Katie. “They have been amazing mentors and cheerleaders to me. Without the Coast Guard Foundation Scholarship I never would have met them. They have really changed my life.”
Building a Strong Foundation is a news series that highlights some of the generous people who support the Coast Guard Foundation.