During the final months of his life, one priority was never far from Dan Stoerzbach’s mind: to make sure his clients and staff at his law practice would be in good hands after he was gone.
In the fall of 2020, he called up Pat Egan, a younger lawyer he’d helped welcome to the legal community years before. Together with Dan’s wife, Cynthia, they discussed the possibility of Pat moving back to Galesburg from Peoria Heights to set up a practice alongside Dan’s and, eventually, take on his clients and staff. “Even though he was literally fighting for his life, he was thinking about other people,” said Pat.
After Dan passed away last May, Pat was determined to memorialize his friend and colleague’s legacy. “It was important to me to do something that was concrete and close to Dan’s heart, something that would last,” he said.
Working with Galesburg Community Foundation, he opened an endowed fund in Dan’s name to support the Knox County CEO program, which offers entrepreneurial education for high school students. Thanks to Pat’s gift, each year the fund will make an unrestricted grant to the CEO program, a repeated reminder of Dan’s passion for the mission he supported as both a board member and donor. Over time, the fund will grow through investment earnings and additional contributions from Pat or anyone else who wants to see the Knox County CEO program thrive.
“It’s our privilege to help donors honor the most important people in their lives,” said Joshua Gibb, the Community Foundation’s president and CEO. “To see Dan’s entrepreneurial spirit memorialized by a fund that will benefit student entrepreneurs is inspiring.”
“I didn’t know where to start, but it was easy to talk to the Community Foundation and learn about all the different options to fit my needs. It couldn’t have been a simpler process.” —Pat Egan
Just as Dan wished to maintain continuity for his staff and clients at the end of his life, the endowment fund established by Pat’s gift will provide the Knox County CEO program with a predictable source of funding in perpetuity. In turn, the CEO program itself aims to lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable future for the wider community.
“Dan was a Galesburg boy who came back after school because he wanted his adult life here,” said Cynthia, who serves on the Community Foundation’s board. “The CEO program is so valuable because it highlights to young people all the advantages and opportunities in our region today. Dan felt that if kids could see that, they could make a more informed choice about what they wanted to do in life and where they wanted to do it. It’s a win-win for students and for Galesburg.”
For Cynthia, one of Dan’s strongest traits was how he held himself accountable to the things he cared about and the people who trusted him. She hopes that others will follow in his footsteps in their own lives. “When you live and work someplace, be invested in it,” she said. “Do your best to maintain it, promote it, and make it a place where people want to be.”