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Meet Darcy Wagner, Ph.D.

A lifestyle of giving began early for Darcy Wagner, Ph.D.  “Giving was a way of life for our family.  When we were little, the three of us kids would fight over who got to put the envelope in the church basket,” she said, “so it goes way back.” 

Darcy’s father, who was the principal of St. John’s Jesuit High School, also had creative ways of instilling in his children the value of sharing and service to others.  “Dad began a tradition called the Christmas Envelope.  Each of us kids got an envelope with money in it, and we had to give it away.  We could give it to whomever we wanted — but we had to give Dad the envelope back with the record of where the money went.  When the envelopes were read at Christmas, it was a very cool moment.”

When it came time to choose a college, Darcy knew she wanted to be at a school that furthered those Jesuit values, so she chose Gonzaga University. “It was also a culture where all the people around me were giving in some way, and it was really important to me to be a part of that culture,” she said.

Darcy’s commitment to funding a lifestyle of giving began early, too. At age 25, Darcy became one of the youngest people in the 40-year history of the Foundation to establish a Donor Advised Fund.

Now a postdoctoral researcher in Munich, Germany, Darcy is serving others through her career in lung transplantation research — and one of the very first grants she made from her fund was to supply her high school alma mater, Notre Dame Academy, with scientific equipment. 

“I grew up in Toledo, and I want Toledo to succeed — even if I’m somewhere else in the world, I want to see my community grow.”

Darcy Wagner, Ph.D.
Darcy Wagner, Ph.D.

Describing her purpose for establishing a charitable fund at the outset of her career, Darcy said, “I knew giving was something I wanted to do with my whole life — not just the end of my life.  I might not be able to give as much right away, but over the course of my lifetime, I’ll be able to give so much more than I would have without it.  And when I pass away, my family or descendants can continue what I started.”

At age 25, Darcy became one of the youngest people in the 40-year history of the Foundation to establish a Donor Advised Fund. 

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