Miami Herbert Business School alumnus honors wife’s legacy with generous gift

Benjamin Estrada, 09-08-2023

Bruce Heard has established the Bruce and Linda Heard Nonprofit Development Endowment Fund at the Miami Herbert Business School to help students gain practical experience and new skills.
Miami Herbert Business School
The University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School


Linda Heard, a University of Miami alumna who graduated in 1965, led a life marked by service to others. Working for the State of Florida for more than 30 years, she served as a social worker and juvenile probation officer, focused on child and family welfare. 

In loving memory of his wife, Bruce Heard, also an alumnus, who graduated in 1966, has made a $2.5 million bequest to establish the Bruce and Linda Heard Nonprofit Development Endowment Fund, which will enable the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School to fund in perpetuity students interested in interning with politically unaffiliated nonprofit institutions. 

“Donating this gift in Linda’s memory is a way for me to honor her legacy and carry forward the values she held dear. I believe that we can continue her mission of making a difference and inspire others to do the same. It is my hope that this gift will touch the lives of many,” Heard said.

Bruce Heard
Bruce Heard

The endowment also will support the creation of classes in nonprofit management, which will provide a theoretical understanding of the challenges facing nonprofit organizations and the strategies that can be used to address them. The fund also will offer students opportunities to gain practical experience and develop new skills that may not otherwise be available to them. 

Students will be able to partner with local nonprofit groups in critical areas like health care, cultural arts, economic self-sufficiency, and physical fitness. The goal is to allow students to apply academic knowledge and achieve positive outcomes for the community, such as improving access, promoting wellness, empowering individuals, and fostering healthy lifestyles. 

"The Bruce and Linda Heard Nonprofit Development Endowment Fund will enable Miami Herbert students to transform academic knowledge into tangible community impact,” said Ann Olazábal, interim dean. “This bequest is not only a powerful testament to the importance of service and compassion but also will be a catalyst for positive change and shaping the future of our students and the wider community." 

The establishment of the nonprofit development endowment fund is significant because it will provide the necessary resources to support these organizations’ efforts. 

“Nonprofit organizations play a critical role in addressing socioeconomic challenges in the community; however, they often struggle to find the means to operate effectively and efficiently,” Heard said. “With the nonprofit development endowment fund, my hope is that nonprofits will be able to access the support and expertise they need to be successful, especially since they will have access to a pool of talented students with fresh perspectives who are eager to develop new approaches to addressing problems in the community.” 

Heard said he also hopes that his contribution will cement a culture of philanthropy and generosity that will inspire others to give back to their communities. “I’m all about giving back and taking responsibility for our communities. Donating to the University is my way of showing how important social responsibility is to me. I hope my contribution inspires others to join in and give back,” Heard pointed out.

Having spent much of his career in nonprofit development, including three decades of fundraising experience with a stint at the University of Miami Athletics office, Heard chose to fund the endowment through a charitable gift annuity, using appreciated assets to fund an annuity where he will receive quarterly income with tax benefits, with the remainder going to the nonprofit development fund along with his bequest commitment upon his passing. “Charitable giving using taxwise vehicles allows me to maximize my giving. Something that may inspire others to explore various options for making impactful gifts,” Heard explained.

His gift is part of the University of Miami’s Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the University’s history, the campaign is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial. 

Heard said that he believes it is important that the nonprofit organizations that students will intern with are politically unaffiliated, as this ensures that they are operating in an impartial manner, without any political biases or affiliations. He explained that nonprofit groups are tasked with addressing social and economic issues that are influenced by political decisions, and as such, it is crucial that they remain politically neutral in order to maintain their credibility and effectiveness. 

“I think that nonprofit organizations have become highly politicized in recent times. It concerns me because this hampers their effectiveness in helping those in need. Nonprofits should be driven by their mission to serve and uplift,” Heard said. “When we prioritize the well-being of others above political agendas, we can bring about positive change.” 

Ultimately, Heard envisions his gift benefiting the local community. The work of nonprofit organizations is critical to addressing complex challenges, and he said that he hopes the Bruce and Linda Heard Nonprofit Development Endowment Fund will provide the necessary resources to support their efforts. By working together, the University, other nonprofit organizations, and the community can create positive change that will have a lasting impact.