Supporting the Kids Who Will Invent What's Next
When Steve Hayden (IAC '62, IAA '62–64, ICA trustee '93–11) starts talking about Interlochen, one theme is repeated over and over again: The lessons he learned at Interlochen went far beyond the classroom or practice room and prepared him for life.
That's a strong message from someone who has had a hand in some of the most successful ad campaigns of the past three decades. After more than 40 years in advertising, Steve just retired as vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. "I feel that much of my success in life has been based on the two years of invaluable experiences I got at Interlochen, at both the Camp and Academy," he says.
Steve's commitment to Interlochen is about more than his personal success, however; it's rooted in the belief that Interlochen plays an important role in our world today. "There's very little support for the best and the brightest in society," he explains, "those people who really transform our future in significant ways, not only in the arts themselves, but in bringing creativity and new ideas to business, to government, to all of our endeavors. Supporting the kids who will invent what's next inspires my desire to give back."
A Life-Changing Experience
A cellist from San Jose, California, Steve arrived at the National Music Camp in 1962. Recalling his first summer, he says, "At Interlochen, I found out that there were other kids my age who were kind of cool and who were interested in the things I was interested in—not only music but drama and literature and the entire side of life that I really didn't get at a public high school."
By the end of the summer, Steve was offered a scholarship to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy, opening that fall. He learned to work with different personalities and to utilize everyone's strengths to create better performances, something he carried into his advertising career. "You had to show up on time and you had to be ready when the curtain went up," Steve says of his days in advertising.
Large or Small—Your Gifts Matter
A chance encounter with W. Clement Stone when Steve was still an Academy student introduced him to the idea of giving back. Steve knew that Mr. Stone was one of Interlochen's most important donors. When Stone challenged him to give something back to Interlochen, Steve figured he had some time.
Twenty-five years later, when his star was on the rise in the advertising world, Steve was contacted by Charlie McWhorter and Tina Diver, both members of the board of trustees at that time. They encouraged him to reconnect with Interlochen. He became an annual donor and started sharing his expertise in advertising and marketing. Soon he was asked to join the board of trustees himself and served as chair of the board from 2007 to 2010.
Steve acknowledges that many people have the mind-set that he once had: they'll give back once they've earned a certain amount of money or that their $20 contribution won't make a difference. He has found, however, that every bit helps.
Steve says that establishing a planned gift in his will was important to him as well. "It's a commitment that Interlochen can benefit from today. The commitment is actually an asset for the institution, and they can benefit from your estate plan without having any money change hands."