Faith motivates donor to give

Dave and Julie Yeater

Julie Yeater supports husband’s alma mater and her hometown university

Faith is the driving force in Julie Yeater’s life. It inspires her to an active retirement as a volunteer and to support organizations in which she believes. 

“I believe that God will grow whatever you sow,” says Yeater, a Purdue University graduate who grew up in North Manchester and recently bequeathed a generous estate gift to Manchester University.

“I want to be able to continue to give to my home community,” she says. “I truly want to have a humble servant approach and one way I do that is to help finance the college, and the impact it has on the community and the impact it had on me growing up there.”

In the 1950s and ‘60s, Julie Williams lived on Bond Street, three blocks from campus.  “North Manchester provided a solid, secure foundation,” she says. “The community had a strong faith component and the cultural contribution of the college was always evident to me.”

As a high school senior, she worked part time at the former Key Pharmacy, where she caught the eye of another employee, Dave Yeater ’70, a senior at Manchester College.

“Dave always talked about the quality of the professors, the knowledge base of the professors,” particularly those with whom he studied in history, political science and economics, according to Julie. “He learned critical thinking and developed analytical processes in his mind that were truly related back to his education at Manchester.”

Despite her affection for the hometown school, Julie headed to Purdue “because it was time to go away” and the state university offered a strong program in world languages. She and Dave stayed in touch, though, and began dating while she was in college. They married in 1973.

The couple settled near Fort Wayne where Julie worked in the Department of Public Welfare. When the State of Indiana offered Dave a job working with state retirement programs, the Yeaters moved to Indianapolis. Julie worked for the state, too, first with vocational rehabilitation and, later, in career and technical education with the Indiana Department of Education.

The Yeaters also became active at Traders Point Christian Church, which Julie says challenged her “to grow in my faith.” It became a great place to make friends, a place “for Dave and me to be with other couples of strong faith and develop lifelong friendships.”

Julie leaned on that faith when Dave died of leukemia in 2008. As she worked through the grief process, she reached a point where she welcomed a change of scenery.  As it happened, Training Christians for the Ministry (TCM) International Institute in Heiligenkreuz, Austria – where Dave and Julie had volunteered in 2007 – offered her a leadership position. For Julie, the timing was ideal.

 “God blessed me incredibly,” she says about her five years as director of operations at TCM. “I was totally dependent on God’s provision, and He provided abundantly. It was a trust situation.” The organization, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, trains leaders from 40-some countries for the ministry and related careers. “It is truly an impactful program in the mission field.”

Julie returned to Indianapolis in 2015, where she owns a downtown condominium. “I love living downtown. For the most part, it is safe, clean and walkable” and so close to most of what she needs that she often walks or bikes.  

Her active retirement has included a mix of volunteer and paid part-time positions that “give me flexibility and in which I believe I can benefit others.”

She works for the Indiana FFA Foundation and volunteers at Second Helpings, a food rescue, hunger relief and culinary job-training program. Second Helpings rescues more than 2.5 million pounds of food each year in the Indianapolis area and sends out more than 4,500 meals every weekday.

In pre-pandemic days, she worked in guest services at Lucas Oil Stadium and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. She also volunteered as a docent at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

As for philanthropy, Julie maintains what the Yeaters long shared. “Dave and I embraced obedience through tithing as a matter of trust for many years. When he passed, I wanted to continue to support both of our undergraduate colleges,” says Julie. “It has been a real joy for me to be able to do that.”

By Melinda Lantz ’81