Ruben and Alina Esquivel fled Cuba as teenagers in 1961. The Methodist church they attended in Havana had secured flights for them and Ruben's 11-year-old sister as part of "Operation Peter Pan," an air evacuation of more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban minors. Church World Service cared for Ruben and his sister during a stay in Jamaica, then helped them resettle in the United States.
"So many people that we didn't know were helping us. So many organizations we'd never heard of were helping us," Ruben recalled.
Five decades later, the Esquivels have never forgotten their benefactors. That profound gratitude fuels their desire to give back. Ruben serves as a vice president at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Alina is a licensed professional counselor in private practice. Both sit on a number of nonprofit boards, and the couple are well-recognized for their community service and leadership.
Alina and Ruben first learned of The Dallas Foundation while he was serving on the board of a grantee agency. Ruben later joined The Dallas Foundation Board of Governors and eventually served as chair. In that role, he witnessed how diligently staff members worked to fulfill donors' intentions.
"Everyone we have worked with is very genuine and hardworking and committed," Alina said.
The couple have a donor-advised fund at The Dallas Foundation for their current giving and have made provisions in their estate plan to create a separate endowed fund to support specific nonprofit agencies after their passing.
"The reality is, you're not going to live forever," Ruben said, "but you can give forever through planned giving."
Their experiences with The Dallas Foundation have made the Esquivels confident that The Dallas Foundation will steward their gift according to their wishes.
Alina pointed out that the whole of the Esquivel family-their grown children and grandchildren-share her and her husband's wishes that The Dallas Foundation, along with other beneficiaries, will benefit from a family legacy that will continue into future generations.