News icon Estrada Joins the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society

With his most recent gift to the Mitchell Institute, Andy Estrada, the 2008 Mitchell Scholar from Hall-Dale High School and Senior Communications Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, became the 17th and newest member of the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society.

The Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society recognizes Mitchell Scholar alumni who have followed the example of the late Truc Huynh, a remarkably gifted and altruistic Scholar alumnus who passed away at the age of 40 in mid-June 2022. As part of his legacy of paying it forward, Truc made financial contributions to the Mitchell Institute at a level that matched and eventually surpassed the entire amount of the Scholarship award that he received in support of his education at Bowdoin College.

Estrada, who will soon begin his third term on the Mitchell Institute Alumni Council (MIAC), says contributing the full amount of his scholarship to the Mitchell Institute to support current and future Mitchell Scholars has been a goal since graduating from Colby College.

“With all that the Mitchell Institute has given me—and continues to give me today—giving back over the years has been a no-brainer,” Estrada said. “I know firsthand that this organization provides young Mainers with transformative and enriching opportunities to learn, grow, and connect with one another, and I’m excited to continue to support the Mitchell Institute’s efforts and mission moving forward.”

When it comes to joining the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society, Mitchell Scholars don’t have to go it alone with their giving. In making his most recent contribution that welcomed him to the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society, Estrada doubled the impact of his giving through a corporate matching gift from his employer.

Before joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017, Estrada spent his early professional years working in an array of government and political campaign roles. He served as North Carolina press secretary for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation in President Obama’s administration. He also held positions within The White House, the House Democratic Caucus, the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and the 2012 Obama for America presidential campaign.

In a Scholars Speak podcast interview, Estrada explained how a chance encounter at Gala in 2010 put him on the path to an internship at The White House and later work within the Obama Administration.

“I remember meeting Libby Mitchell there, and at the time she was the president of the Maine State Senate,” he told former host Michelle Martin ’99. “It was a quick connection, but I ended up keeping in touch with her, which led to interning for her gubernatorial campaign.”

As he was still enrolled at Colby, Estrada could only give a few hours a week to the internship. But he liked the opportunity to “get my feet wet with campaigns, so it was natural at that point that I ended up applying for The White House Internship Program.”

The connection at Gala is but one way Estrada sees the Mitchell Institute positively impacting his life.

“As a Scholar, the Mitchell Institute not only provided me with invaluable financial resources that enabled me to attend college, but also offered me the ability to participate in a wide array of opportunities to give back to the community, learn new professional skills, and forge connections with a diverse and talented group of my peers,” he said. “The Institute also introduced me to some of Maine’s preeminent leaders and offered me many networking opportunities, both of which paved the way to subsequent career opportunities in political campaigns, public service, and the philanthropic sector.”

Estrada, who has worked closely with MIAC’s Alumni Engagement Committee members and Institute staff to lead the organization and implementation of the annual Alumnathon—which helped boost alumni giving by 50% this past year—has a message to fellow Mitchell Scholar alumni: There are many ways to pay it forward.

“Providing an end-of-year gift is always a great way to show support, and that support can be multiplied if your employer matches charitable giving—take it from someone who continues to leverage his employer’s generous match,” he said. “But there are so many other ways to stay plugged in, including raising your hand to connect with a current Mitchell Scholar, engaging with fellow alums in-person and on social media, attending Institute events, or applying to join MIAC.”

Whatever one chooses, Estrada believes the satisfaction that comes from supporting Mitchell Scholars long after graduation is the gift that keeps giving.

“It’s a true honor to join the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society and an ongoing joy to be a member of the larger Mitchell Institute family,” he said.

Jared Cash, President and CEO of the Mitchell Institute, thanked Estrada for his contributions to the Mitchell Institute over the years that resulted in his membership in the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society.

“We are deeply grateful to Andy for making the success of current and future Mitchell Scholars a philanthropic priority and for recognizing how his contributions can help fund the vital wraparound supports that make the Mitchell Scholarship so transformative for Maine’s young people,” Cash said.

Membership in the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society can happen through a multi-year pledge, steady giving over many years, or a single gift to the Mitchell Institute. New and founding members of the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society are invited to attend an annual reception to celebrate their philanthropic commitment to supporting the Mitchell Institute. If you are interested in learning more about the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society, please contact Mitchell Institute President and CEO Jared Cash. See all members of the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society.