Inheritance of Hope

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Inheritance of Hope
Founded 2007
Founder Deric and Kristen Milligan
Origins Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY
Area served
United States
Key people
Board of Directors
Dr. O.P. Cooper, President
Tara Aliotta
Mike Barrett
Richard Birney
Paul Grady
Deric Milligan
Mark Shaw
Troy Steiner
Mission To inspire hope in young families facing the loss of a parent.

Inheritance of Hope is a non-profit organization that inspires hope in young families facing the loss of a parent. Through counseling and retreat programs, Inheritance of Hope helps families navigate the challenges of a parent's terminal illness.[1] Inheritance of Hope was founded by Kristen and Deric Milligan and rose from their efforts to deal with raising three young children during Kristen's battle with liver cancer.


Following her liver cancer diagnosis in 2003, Kristen Milligan was unable to find resources to help her children through the process, so she wrote her own book, A Train's Rust, A Toy Maker's Love, aimed at children facing the loss of a parent. As she progressed through her battle, she authored three more books, including Consider It Pure Joy, aimed at terminally ill parents. Milligan and husband Deric then went on to found Inheritance of Hope to helps families like their own. Kristen died on October 26, 2012.[2]


As a leader in legacy development, Inheritance of Hope provides several services:

  • Legacy Retreats: all-expenses-paid experiences where families can create memories and obtain the tools to navigate the challenges of terminal illness. Families from 38 states have attended a Legacy Retreat in Orlando, FL or New York City. In Orlando, families visit Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. In New York, families visit many tourist attractions, including Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, and Top of the Rock.
  • Legacy Scholarships: annually awarded to a college-bound student who is living with a terminally ill parent and who demonstrates a compelling personal and financial need, a strong sense of family, and collegiate promise.
  • Legacy communities available for children with a terminally ill parent, terminally ill parents, and caregivers.
  • Resources (books, webinars, and literature) for the entire family

The organization's products and services provide direct benefits for the children and a proactive, therapeutic focus for the parent. Furthermore, Inheritance of Hope believes that preparing for the death of a parent while they are living will yield significant long-term benefits for children and loved ones, thereby minimizing the potentially catastrophic impact. Inheritance of Hope is a faith-based organization – welcoming families of all faiths and backgrounds while serving under the core-beliefs of the Christian faith.

Team Inheritance of Hope[edit]

Team Inheritance of Hope (Team IoH) is a group of athletes who represent Inheritance of Hope at various events to raise awareness of Inheritance of Hope's activities. Team IoH runners have participated in many events, including the TCS NYC Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, Volley for the Cure, Big Sur Marathon, and the NYC Half Marathon. Annually, Inheritance of Hope hosts its Legacy Run, a Half Marathon/5K/Kids’ Fun Run annual event in Brevard, North Carolina that serves as a fundraiser to send more families on a life-changing Legacy Retreat.[3]


On May 24, 2016, Co-Founder & CEO, Deric Milligan, was recognized by "the one hundred," an organization by the Mass General Cancer Center that recognizes 100 everyday amazing groups and individuals who are changing how we fight cancer.[4]

On June 5, 2015, Co-Founder Kristen Milligan, posthumously received the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service. The award recognizes Davidson College alumni who have provided extraordinary service to their community, demonstrating leadership through servanthood.[5]

On May 9, 2015, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) presented the 29th annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor ceremony on Ellis Island in New York City. Inheritance of Hope Co-Founder and CEO, Deric Milligan, was honored as a 2015 recipient for his dedication serving families facing the loss of a parent.[6] Other notable guests included Jay Baker (President, Kohls), Edward Creagan (Mayo Clinic), Richard Gelfond (CEO, IMAX), Howard Lutnick (CEO, Cantor Fitzgerald), Sandra Day O’Connor (Supreme Court Justice), Mariano Rivera (NY Yankees), Frank Shankwitz (Founder, Make-a-Wish), and Meredith Vieira (TV personality).

In March 2015, Co-Founder, Kristen Milligan, was posthumously inducted into the Harrison School for the Arts Hall of Fame for her demonstrated leadership, creativity, and innovation in many ways, most notably in her approach to a terminal diagnosis.[7]

In May 2014, Inheritance of Hope was recognized as a "Top 10 Children's Charity" by Theravive, a network of licensed therapists and psychologists.[8]

Since 2011, Inheritance of Hope has earned a "Top-Rated" rating from


Inheritance of Hope is led by a volunteer Board of Directors and administered by paid professional staff.

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Dr. O.P. Cooper, President: Assistant Professor of Media and Technology, University of West Georgia
  • Tara Aliotta: Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Mike Barrett: Principal/Founder, Diligent Innovations
  • Dan Barcus: Executive Director of Digital Marketing Strategy & SEO, Comcast Cable
  • Richard Birney: Senior Advisor, Spurrier Capital Partners and Genesis Venture Capital
  • Dan Dix: Senior Director at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
  • Paul Grady: COO (retired) Amerigas
  • Mark Shaw: President and CEO, CJ Group, U.S. operations
  • Deric Milligan, Co-Founder and CEO
  • Troy Steiner: Vice President of Operations, Graphics Service Bureau


  1. ^ Bedell, Barbara (2008-06-10). "New ministry serves kids with terminally ill parents". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  2. ^ * "Kristen Is Gone But Left A Legacy For Families Facing Terminal Illness". Davidson News. October 25, 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  3. ^ * "Legacy Run To Include Half Marathon". Transylvania Times. April 25, 2016. 
  4. ^ * "Deric Milligan brings young families together for life-changing getaways". The One Hundred. March 21, 2016. 
  5. ^ * "John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service Honoring Kristen Grady Milligan ’95" (PDF). June 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ * Beaver, Erin (April 28, 2015). "Honored For a Legacy of Hope". West Point Band. 
  7. ^ * Writer, Staff (March 13, 2015). "Harrison Center Gives Honors to Women: 4 Inducted Into Hall Of Fame". The Ledger. 
  8. ^ * Writer, Staff (May 30, 2014). "Top 10 Children's Charities in North America". Theravive. 

Further reading[edit]

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