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Mike Barrett with Deric Milligan

Donor Spotlight: Mike Barrett

Each year, Inheritance of Hope awards a well-deserving college-bound senior with the Legacy Scholarship. These scholarship recipients all share one thing in common: they all have a parent with a life-threatening illness.

Mike Barrett and his wife, Catherine, have generously funded the Legacy Scholarship for the past several years. Mike met IoH founders Deric and Kristen Milligan by chance when Deric and Mike were both studying in Australia. At that time IoH was in its early stages, but the business plan appealed to Mike. 

“I knew, from my own personal experience, that it addressed an unmet need–that of finding a positive and life-affirming way for easing the pain associated with the impending loss of a loved one.”

Here, Mike describes why their gift has been a positive and life-affirming choice for his family.

Why I became involved:
Mike Barrett with Deric Milligan
Mike Barrett with Deric Milligan


“All too much of the end-of-life focus is on loss and pain, and not nearly enough on a celebration of the life and love that exists between family members and dear friends. In a way, I had my own IoH Legacy Retreat® experiences. I was fortunate enough to have two very special trips with my mother: one a cruise, and another a vacation to a tropical island. She was very sick from battling breast cancer, but those trips remain in my memory as positive snapshots of the love we shared. As a result, I am truly able to understand the value of both the direct relationship with a loved one and the potential to make those special memories a part of the glue that will hold the family together after their loved one does, sadly, pass away.” 


“Loss is a part of life. It can either be embraced as a difficult but bond-building chance to really appreciate what we have in this life, or it can become the source of unresolved pain and emotional distance. I am proud of Deric and the entire IoH family for creating an opportunity for the former instead of the easier and more common latter outcome.”

Thoughts on the Legacy Scholarship and its recipients:

“My mother was an educator, and so the importance of education was drilled into me from the start. I was very fortunate to receive multiple scholarships and help in paying for my own schooling. In my case, I needed more than just the financial help. I needed the refuge of academic success to help me survive the loss of my mother, and I also appreciated the validation of my choices that came from people believing in me and investing in my future.  My wife and I are honored to be a part of that for the next generation. The applicants I have come to know–and I mean all the applicants, not just the recipients of the scholarships–are truly the embodiment of the best of what it means to take a tough set of challenging realities and turn it into a motivation to make the most of their own lives.” 

“I once was told that as long as we continue to live on and honor those we have lost, they are never really gone. While I am not sure that brought me any comfort in the toughest years just after my mother’s death, I have now come to realize the truth of that idea. And it is an honor and a privilege to be able to support Deric and the IoH team as they continue the great and good work of making sure all the families they serve come to have the living legacy they deserve.”

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