Mike Bradshaw, a real estate investor, and his wife Tonia live in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Though they have never been to Liberty Mountain, they have become partners in the ministry and share in the same vision of Liberty University founder Dr. Jerry Falwell.
"I've been an admirer of Jerry Falwell for a number of years, a lot of what he did in the Reagan era, with the Moral Majority. He'd step forward and say things really when nobody else would," Mike Bradshaw said.
The Bradshaws have stayed tuned in to Falwell over the years, watching the services broadcast from Thomas Road Baptist Church. They keep up with the happenings at Liberty University by watching television and through Dr. Jack Graham, pastor of the 27,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, where they attend. (Graham is a member of Liberty's Board of Trustees and has travelled to LU for meetings and to speak at the school's convocation.) The Bradshaws have also had a chance to see Liberty's ministry teams perform at their church.
Mike Bradshaw said he always enjoyed when Falwell would visit his church and he is excited at what the man accomplished at Liberty.
"I think probably as much as anything over the last years I've admired the fact that he established the law school and is training these young lawyers up to go out here and fight for what we believe in. ... I think that's absolutely needed."
Mike Bradshaw said the growth at Liberty is what prompted him to fund three deferred charitable gift annuities through Liberty's Estate Planning Department.
He said the benefits are twofold: "With that type of investment, there is a return at some point in the future. It accomplishes putting your money on things you believe in and it's an investment for the future." And the tax benefits start immediately. For the Bradshaws, this means the annuities will serve as a guaranteed retirement fund.
He said working with Everett Foutz, a planned giving officer at Liberty, has been a great experience. "Everett is outstanding. He's such a nice guy and he stays in contact with us; he visits us, he will call, see how you're doing on your birthday, call at Christmas - he's very active and has an interest in how we're doing."
The annuities are an investment the Bradshaws are proud of.
"We feel like this organization is a good cause. It's on the right track. We did the deferred gift annuities because we believe in the organization and what they're doing."