BY HAILEY MINTON
It’s been over two years since Brent Taylor left us, and his wife, Jennie Taylor, is turning her tragedy into a thing of beauty through the foundation she created to honor, not only her husband, but everything he stands for.
“This is a foundation in its infancy, and we started unintentionally…we felt compelled to act.” said Jennie. They didn’t have a business plan from the outset, but Jennie believes they can do amazing things if they take the energy, passion, and love that drives them and build with it.
The foundation started with scholarships that support students who plan to follow a path similar to Brent Taylor; Jennie plans to branch out from there. They donated $60,000 to Brigham Young University, where Maj. Brent Taylor received his undergraduate degree, and $90,000 to the University of Utah, where he received his masters degree. These endowment funds basically disperse scholarship money to students with the interest they earn, so these scholarships will be around forever. The foundation will also donate $1,000 scholarships to two seniors, a boy and a girl, at Weber High School and Chandler High School in Arizona, where Brent Taylor was Student Body President. She explained that these scholarships are for students who show leadership capacity, who can bring people along and think creatively. She hopes to eventually give $5,000 per scholarship each year.
Creating a foundation made it easier to receive donations and to make the donations they received tax write-offs for the donors. “I wasn’t thinking I was going to start this big thing. I was living in that bubble of shock.” She dreams of hosting a multi-day leadership conference and gathering leaders from different backgrounds to present.
Train, honor, and engage are the guiding principles of the foundation. “We seek to train service-oriented leaders, honor service members and their families, and engage community members in meaningful ways.” Jennie explained how she was born and raised in North Ogden and how it’s easy to see things the way we’ve always seen them. “Talk to someone with an outside perspective. Engage in meaningful ways that expand your perspective.” She has seen, if you give people an opportunity to serve together and serve each other, people can disagree without hating each other. For Jennie Taylor, she hopes to use the Major Brent Taylor Foundation to develop leadership everywhere and make better service-oriented leaders. And to quote Brent, “Service is what leadership is all about.”