While most of his classmates were adjusting to being away from home, Emory & Henry alumnus Henri Fitzgerald was juggling a college education and raising a family.
“I was a parent for most of my time at Emory & Henry, so my family was very important to me,” said Fitzgerald. “I wanted to set a good example, so I tried to excel at everything I tried. This included being a father, husband, athlete, volunteer and good citizen.”
It’s clear the alumnus is no stranger to accomplishing the goals he sets for himself. In 2000, Fitzgerald graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business management and a bachelor of arts degree in political science.
“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I was about 10. My mother and aunt told me I would make a good lawyer. I think it was because I never knew how to graciously pass on the opportunity to have the last word,” he humorously said.
His youthful ambitions paid off.
After graduation from Emory & Henry, Fitzgerald received a law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. Since then, he has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP). Recently he completed the Leadership Winston-Salem Flagship Program.
For the past 10 years, Fitzgerald has been a leader in the Philanthropic Services Group at Wells Fargo, where he now manages the Wells Fargo Philanthropy Fund (Donor-Advised Fund) and the National Institutional Planned Giving Division from his office in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“In my capacity with the Wells Fargo Philanthropy Fund manager, I work with high-net-worth individuals and families who wish to have a more strategic approach to their philanthropy and to make impactful gifts to thousands of nonprofit organizations across the globe,” Fitzgerald said.
In the area of planned giving, Fitzgerald and his teammates manage gift annuity and charitable trusts for institutional clients, as well as foundation and endowment assets. Their roles are to serve as advisors to finance and development staff on best practices, program design, investment policy and stewardship as the staff interacts with benefactors and supporters.
“I never set out to be a banker, but it has been extremely rewarding, and it allows me to use my management and legal training for the greater good of society.”
Fitzgerald said he sees the good in humanity every day. “It’s easy to assume that wealthy individuals give to charity for the sole purpose of receiving a charitable income tax deduction, but in my experience that’s hardly ever the case. Wealth does not make life’s problems go away; however, it does put things into perspective. I love working with nonprofit institutions such as colleges and universities, hospitals, religious organizations, social service charities, health research and arts. Hardly a day passes when I do not see one of our clients changing and shaping the world. Whether I am presenting to a board of directors or doing a seemingly menial office task, the importance of my actions is never lost on me.”
Serving the community has always been important to Fitzgerald.
Both he and his wife, Valentine, served as Bonner Scholars students at Emory & Henry. “We were immersed in the College’s culture and community, and we knew we had a responsibility to give back and help build bridges for people who were less fortunate or who were in different stages of their journey,” he said.
Fitzgerald occasionally provides pro bono work at nonprofit organizations and assists individuals in sorting through business or estate matters.
His family enjoys volunteering in their community. “Our children know that being able to volunteer is a blessing in itself. We love rolling up our sleeves. I learned that at Emory & Henry, and I take it with me each day.”
Fitzgerald said serving others just comes natural for him. “Community involvement is not just something that you do while you’re at Emory & Henry; it’s something you do for the rest of your life because you went to Emory & Henry. Because of Emory & Henry, I know that I am well prepared to handle anything that comes my way,” he said.
“I just think about how each piece of my experience at Emory & Henry was integral and necessary. If I had to list the number of meaningful and lasting exchanges I had with individuals in the Emory community, I would never stop talking.”
The couple has three children: DaeQuan (18, son), Lylaani (12, daughter), and Mateo (10, son). They make their home in Winston-Salem.
DaeQuan, who spent the first few years of his life on the Emory & Henry campus, plays offense at Guildford College. His father played offense at Emory & Henry more than 15 years ago.
What will Fitzgerald do when the E&H and Guilford teams meet in competition? “I will just cheer for both teams’ offense this fall,” said the father.
“But, I will be wearing blue and gold.”
Major: Business Management and Political Science
Hometown: Chatham, Virginia
Football, Wide Receiver
Bonner Scholars Program
C-PHI-C social club
Spiritual Harmony Gospel Choir