MSAA: Publications - The Motivator: Fall 2008 - Thoughts about Giving
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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Fall 2008 > Thoughts about Giving
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Thoughts about Giving

By Bruce Makous
Vice President of Development

Bruce Makous Photo
Bruce Makous

Our Most Involved Supporters

It is heartwarming to see our many supporters who not only contribute financially to help people living with MS, but who are also involved with MSAA as volunteers. Their enthusiasm seems to know no bounds as they look for every opportunity to help MSAA.

Our national volunteers, members of MSAA's Board of Directors and our Healthcare Advisory Council, are extremely dedicated, contributing a great deal of time in leading MSAA, and include many of our most generous financial contributors. There are also many very enthusiastic supporters among our general constituents nationwide.

We recently held a President's Circle recognition event at the inspiring National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. This event honored our most significant donors in the area, and provided the opportunity to highlight a special group of supporters from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, who have been helping MSAA by holding fundraising events and by making generous personal contributions. The family group, which crosses three generations, includes Linda Somers, her daughter, Lynne Goldberg, and Lynne's daughter Alyssa Lewanowicz, age fourteen.

After Linda's mother passed away from complications of multiple sclerosis, the three family members created Nana's Cookies, an annual fundraising event for MSAA through which they sell delicious cookies made with "Nana's" special recipe. This is the third year for this event. Linda also recruited the Oxford Valley Golf Club to dedicate the proceeds of their annual fundraising golf tournament to benefit MSAA.

Another good example is Tamara Gerkin, an artist in Florida whose daughter is living with multiple sclerosis. Tamara not only provides financial support, but also creates paintings with universal themes related to providing comfort for people with multiple sclerosis. She is donating the proceeds of her print sales to MSAA.

There are many examples of enthusiastic supporters like Linda and Tamara and our national leaders in many locales around the country. These individuals hold events, participate in volunteer leadership opportunities, and contribute in a variety of ways to MSAA.

Programs that invite your involvement include our Resource Detectives, Public Education Ambassadors, President's Circle Advisory Council, Regional Volunteers, and others. For a complete listing of volunteer programs, please go to And if you have your own idea about how you would like to support MSAA, we would love to hear from you.

This type of multi-level activity can help you achieve greater satisfaction and participation as a constituent of MSAA. It also, of course, helps MSAA deliver its programs and services that improve the quality of life for everyone living with MS. For your outstanding support, we are extremely grateful.

NHL Player Raises Funds for MSAA PhotoNHL Player Raises Funds for MSAA

On August 17, more than 300 hockey fans from the Philadelphia area raised $18,000 for MSAA at the Cote Carnival, hosted by Riley Cote of the Philadelphia Flyers. The carnival was held at Swanky Bubbles (a Philadelphia-area restaurant). Jaime Cote, Riley's sister, has multiple sclerosis. From left to right: Bruce Makous, vice president of development for MSAA; Jaime Cote; Riley Cote; Jennifer Ebling; Joe Fisher III; and Maureen Fisher.

How to Diversify and Bolster Your Sagging Retirement Portfolio

As we near the end of 2008, a year in which the financial markets, as of this writing, have not performed very well, many people are looking at their retirement portfolios wondering how they can increase the income payout today, and diversify against market fluctuations in the future. Consider a gift annuity with MSAA as one alternative that may help in this situation.

A Gift Annuity

A gift annuity provides a contractual amount paid by MSAA to you for life, in return for your contribution. Thus, the creation of a gift annuity is an excellent way to establish a contracted quarterly income payment for yourself that is not affected by the financial markets. As such, a gift annuity helps to diversify your retirement portfolio.

The payout rates for annuities today are better than most other options for increasing income in your portfolio. A gift annuity provides income to the donor or couple for lifetime, at a rate based on age at the time of creation of the annuity. (See the gift annuity rate chart on the back cover.) Additionally, some of the income is received tax-free, thus also diversifying against future changes in taxation.

For example, if a couple both age 75 gives MSAA $10,000, they will receive six percent, or $600 per year, for life. They will also qualify for a federal income tax deduction of approximately $3,624, which will save them $1,015 in taxes in the 28 percent marginal tax bracket. In addition, $389 of each year's payments will be tax-free for the first 16 years. Finally, the residuary of the gift, usually more than half of its original value, creates a generous fund within their favorite charity, MSAA.

Please note that after the tax savings from the income tax deduction, their initial contribution is actually only $8,985, so the $600 annual payment to them actually represents an after-tax rate of return of 6.7 percent. Also, since $389 of the annuity payment is tax-free, the $600 annuity is equivalent to $751 of taxable income for a beneficiary in the 28 percent income tax bracket. Based on the $8,985 initial contribution, this is an equivalent rate of return of 8.4 percent. It's hard to find an investment today that is guaranteed for life and will provide you with rates this high. This will also provide funding to a charity you support.

Gift Annuity Illustration Chart

"I had been supporting MSAA through annual contributions, and decided I wanted to establish a legacy gift, too, " said Herbert Weisz of Deerfield Beach, Florida. Herb and his wife created a significant gift annuity with MSAA and will receive income from this gift throughout their lifetime. The balance will provide general support for MSAA.

Charitable IRA Rollover Provision Extended

There's good news for individuals aged 70½ or older with individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Thanks to the extended charitable IRA legislation, you can once again make outright gifts using IRA funds without tax complications.

If you are required to receive minimum distributions from your IRA and you do not need the money for personal use, consider using those funds as a charitable gift. While you cannot claim a charitable deduction for the IRA gifts, you will not pay income tax on the amount.

You may contribute funds this way if you are 70½ or older, and in most cases, the transfer counts toward your minimum required distributions. You must transfer funds from your IRA directly to one or more public charities, like MSAA. You may transfer up to $100,000 this way in 2008 and in 2009. The gift generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so even those who do not itemize their tax returns receive the benefit.

President's Circle Reception PhotoPresident's Circle Reception in Philadelphia Honors MSAA Donors and Volunteers

MSAA held a special reception for its top supporters at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Douglas Franklin, president and CEO of MSAA, and the MSAA Board of Directors had the opportunity to personally thank MSAA's donors and volunteers in the region. More than 350 individuals from across the country currently receive recognition as President's Circle donors. Shown in the photo is Diana Anderson receiving an award from National President's Circle Chair, Ross Maclean, (left) and MSAA's Chair Eric Simons (right).

If you have thoughts about giving, please feel free to contact Bruce Makous at (800) 532-7667, extension 148, or email


Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 11:30