During his lifetime, Dr. Richard (Rick) Shale, longtime English professor at YSU, history enthusiast and dedicated philanthropist, invested time to thoughtfully plan what would happen to his trust and assets after his passing.
With his family’s deep roots in the Mahoning Valley, Shale embraced the local community and culture, celebrating its nuanced history and taking advantage of the many enriching events and activities all around the Valley. He contributed much of his time, many talents and personal wealth to a large swathe of organizations and initiatives during his lifetime, but while history played a huge role in Shale’s life, he also saw the benefit of planning for future support of those initiatives.
“Rick began planning for future gifts long before most of us do,” says Shari Harrell, president of the Community Foundation. “He knew that he wanted to continue supporting the many organizations and initiatives that impacted his daily life and saw having a plan as a necessity to ensure that would happen.”
Over time, Shale crafted a blueprint where several organizations would receive future gifts from his estate, which totaled more than $6 million when he passed away in 2022.
At the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, the Rick Shale Fund was established with five broad areas of interest for the fund – local history, the arts, parks, education and social services. at the end of June with a distribution from the Rick Shale Trust of just over $3.7 million.
During his lifetime, Rick served on the boards of many local charities as well as the national board for Phi Kappa Phi. Annually, he supported many organizations and established and funded both a scholarship at Youngstown State University and an endowment fund to support various activities at Youngstown State University including the Maag Library, The YSU English Festival, YSU Theatre among others. Additionally, he established and funded a $100,000 scholarship at his alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University during his lifetime. When he reached age 70 ½ he enhanced his annual charitable giving by utilizing the qualified charitable distribution option available from his traditional IRA required minimum distributions. The cumulative total of these annual gifts was in excess of $200,000.
Rick was an avid supporter of the Butler Institute of American Art, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, and Mill Creek Metroparks, to name a few of his favorite charities. He supported numerous other organizations throughout his life, with gifts ranging from modest to major.
Rick never imagined that he would be in a position to be philanthropic, but after years of thrifty saving and sound investments, he realized an opportunity to give back and looked forward annually to doing just that. Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley will long feel the effects of Rick's philanthropy and his devotion to a community and a university that he loved so much.