Ray Garcia has lived a full and fulfilling life that has taken him far from the Fifth Ward of Houston where he grew up. Ray learned the value of hard work and the importance of education from his parents, teachers and counselors.

His first outdoor experiences were through Boy Scouts, and he remembers asking his parents if he could go to a national Scout jamboree in Valley Forge, PA. When he told his parents the cost, they told him he had a year to earn the necessary funds.

“And I did earn the funds to go to Valley Forge, and I thank my parents for that valuable life lesson,” said Garcia. “I learned from an early age that life is what you make of it, and that a spirit of self-reliance, innovation, adventure and gratitude will help you advance your goals.”

That spirit also motivated him to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. In college, he double-majored in engineering and mathematics, and later earned a master’s degree in engineering and an MBA. His career led him on global adventures over many decades, where he gained a deep appreciation for the natural world in all its forms.

He has also served as an at-large county-wide elected official in Harris County, where he served on the board of trustees of Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) for nearly 15 years, serving as President for his final eight years. HCDE provides a variety of educational services to all 25 ISDs in the county. An annual early childhood conference was named in Garcia’s honor when he retired from that board. Garcia also served for three years as President of the school board of one of the original 19 state-chartered schools in Texas, George I. Sanchez Charter High School in Houston.

His successful career allowed him to travel widely, and his investing acumen has provided him the means to give generously to a variety of causes throughout his life. As he enters his ninth decade on the planet, he is pondering the legacy he wants to leave and is taking steps to leave his mark on causes dear to him. Those causes include education, children’s healthcare, global service and wildlife conservation.

“I conduct considerable research to ensure that the organizations I am giving to will be around for a long time and will serve as good stewards of these resources,” said Garcia. “I researched Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) on Charity Navigator, and I learned more about what the organization does. I then contacted TPWF for more detail. My intent was to be assured that a planned gift would have a meaningful impact far into the future.”

Garcia has established several endowments at a variety of organizations, including a planned gift to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to support wildlife and land conservation. His goal is to bequeath the majority of his wealth to nonprofits that are making the world a better place. To him, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation fits the bill.

“As I learned more about TPWF, I realized that their mission of preservation, extension and enhancement of wildlife and their natural habitat closely aligns with my own values,” he said. “I recently became a great granduncle, and I want my great grandnephew and all children to have access to the kind of natural places I have enjoyed during my lifetime.”

Find out more about how you, too, can leave a wild legacy by making a planned gift to TPWF.