MSAA: Publications - The Motivator: Fall 2009 - Thoughts about Giving
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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Fall 2009 > Thoughts about Giving
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Thoughts about Giving

By Bruce Makous
Vice President of Development

Priceless but Free

Bruce Makous Photo
Bruce Makous

My wife Bobbie, who has been coping with the symptoms of MS for many years, recently went through a very difficult time due to complications of her disease. During this six-month ordeal, the information I received through MSAA's programs and services proved priceless.

My awareness of the risks of a high body temperature for many people with MS, and understanding how to manage this serious problem, was something I learned through MSAA. This was extremely helpful when Bobbie was running a very high fever at one point. A little while after her physical crisis, when she was ready to work on rebuilding her mobility, her neurologist said she needed MS-specific rehabilitation. My colleagues in MSAA's Resource Detectives Program provided a list of recommended facilities in the area - something that our Helpline consultants are able to do for anyone who contacts MSAA.

President's Circle Reception at the Independence Seaport Museum

MSAA was pleased to hold a special reception in October for its top supporters residing in the northeast. The event was held at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. MSAA President and CEO Douglas Franklin, along with our Board of Directors, had the opportunity to personally thank MSAA's donors and volunteers in the region.

More than 400 individuals from across the country currently support MSAA at the generous President's Circle level. Please visit for more information.

Photo of Karen Lynch

MSAA expresses appreciation to supporter Karen Lynch and receives a President's Circle award from Board Chair Eric Simons (right), and Board member Joe King during the President's Circle reception at Philadelphia's Independence Seaport Museum in October.

Photo of Ayesha Fatin Browning & Tina Elliott

MSAA supporter Ayesha Fatin Browning (rear left) and friend Tina Elliott enjoy the fascinating Independence Seaport Museum setting, along with 2009 President's Volunteer Award-winner James Shoch and his wife Valerie.

As my wife became stronger and was ready to come home from rehab, my colleagues also recommended home-care programs, which have turned out to be critical resources in this transition. I also took advantage of MSAA's MSi online educational videos, articles in The Motivator, and other information from MSAA. All of these resources helped me to better understand state-of-the-art rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, and everything Bobbie would be going through during this crisis and her recovery.

This experience has emphasized the great value of MSAA's programs, services, and publications for people living with MS and their care partners. Our needs-based programs provide people with priceless but free improvements to their quality of life. Our information-based programs provide educational materials and assistance - all of which are extremely helpful in day-to-day activities, in symptom management, and in learning about treatments that may improve the course of one's disease.

These MSAA activities that help people living with MS would not be possible without the generous support from you, our donors. Many of you support MSAA because you know first-hand the impact MS has had on your life or the lives of people you know or love, and you certainly can understand and appreciate mine and Bobbie's recent experiences. Others simply recognize the great value of MSAA in helping those in need.

On behalf of people living with MS, their care partners, and those affiliated with MSAA, I would like to say thank you to everyone for your generous support!

Bruce Makous
Vice President of Development

Year-End Charitable Planning

As this tax year comes to a close, you may want to consider these two particularly interesting methods of supporting MSAA.

Charitable IRA Rollover

Through December 31, 2009, individuals can make outright gifts using IRA funds without tax implications. 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, as long as you transfer funds from your IRA directly to one or more public charities, like MSAA. The gift generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so even those who do not itemize their tax returns receive the benefit.

A Gift Annuity

A gift annuity provides a contractual amount paid by MSAA to you throughout your life, in return for your contribution. The creation of a gift annuity is an excellent strategy to establish a contracted quarterly income payment for you that is not affected by the financial markets. For this reason, a gift annuity is an ideal way to help diversify your retirement portfolio. The payout rates for annuities today are better than many other options for increasing income in your portfolio. A gift annuity provides income to the donor or couple for a lifetime, at a rate based on age at the time of creation of the annuity. Some of the income is received tax-free, thus also diversifying against future changes in taxation.

Gift Annuity Rates ChartFor example, if a couple (both age 75) gives MSAA $10,000, they will receive 5.6 percent, or $560, per year for life. And they will qualify for a federal income tax deduction of approximately $3,656, which will save them $1,024 in taxes in the 28-percent marginal tax bracket. In addition, $387 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.

"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.

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 12:02