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

By Bruce Makous
Vice President of Development

Meeting the Challenge

Bruce Makous Photo
Bruce Makous

I am inspired by the continued generosity of MSAA's donors during these challenging economic times. Our supporters realize that, like many other people across the country, people living with MS may be experiencing financial hardship, and MSAA's programs and services are in greater demand than ever right now. Your continued generous support is appreciated by people from every geographical region who receive our free equipment, speak with our Helpline consultants, participate in Life Coaching, and benefit from MSAA's other valuable services.

Similar to the clients we serve, our supporters also reside in every area of the country. In February, MSAA leadership was in Tampa for a Board meeting and we took the opportunity to meet some of our donors in that area of Florida. One of those supporters whom we met, Tamara Gerkin of Port Richey, has a very special way of raising funds for MSAA. She sells her paintings on her website to benefit MSAA!

In March, we were in Chicago where President and CEO Doug Franklin and Board Chair Eric Simons hosted an MSAA President's Circle reception. We were so impressed to see the enthusiasm for MSAA among our supporters in the Windy City, including those who have been with us for some time and those who are new to MSAA. We made a personal visit to become acquainted with John Balourdos, a major donor who owns a Chicago real estate firm, and thanked him for his generous support.

Photo of Tamara Gerkin
Tamara Gerkin poses with one of her lifelike clay sculptures. Tamara contributes the net proceeds from the sale of her work to MSAA to help people living with MS.

Like Tamara Gerkin who donates profits from her artwork, people are finding different ways to continue to give support to MSAA. Another method is through deferred gifts. Many individuals who have been supporting MSAA for several years, have contacted us to learn more about ways to provide funding from a portion of their estates. They want to continue to give after they are gone. This is a way of making a commitment today for a gift tomorrow, when current funds are limited.

It's clear from my many interactions with both donors and clients this past year that the programs and services provided by MSAA are greatly valued from two different perspectives. Those who want to help appreciate the opportunity that MSAA and our programs provide support to those living with MS. Those who are affected by multiple sclerosis greatly appreciate the enrichment MSAA's programs provide every day to their quality of life.

Donors frequently ask how they can make a commitment today that will provide funds for MSAA in the future. Here are a few ways to give wisely:

  • A Charitable Bequest: Your attorney can help you make a provision in your will. Sample language would be:
    I give to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Corporation (IRS ID# 22-1912812), headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, ____ percent [spelled out] (___%) of my estate to go to MSAA's [Equipment Distribution Program, for example]. This contribution is provided to establish the [e.g., John and Jane Doe Fund for Equipment for People Living with MS].
  • Charitable Gift Annuity: Make a contribution of $10,000 or more and receive a fixed income each year for life. Income rates vary from 5 percent to 11 percent, and increase with age.
  • Charitable Remainder Trust: This also provides income for life. Appropriate for contributions of $100,000 or more. You may be able to reduce associated taxes.
  • Gift of Retirement Plan Assets: Any pension plan, IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other plan has a provision for designating the beneficiary of the portion of the assets remaining at death. Naming MSAA will create much needed funding that will greatly benefit people living with MS.
  • Gift of Life Insurance: Donors may make MSAA the beneficiary of all or part of the death proceeds from life insurance. You may also contribute ownership of the entire policy to MSAA. As with other giving plans, life insurance proceeds will create much needed funding that will greatly benefit people living with MS.

Reception in Chicago

MSAA was pleased to hold a special reception for its supporters in April at The Metropolitan Club in Chicago's Sears Tower. MSAA President and CEO Doug Franklin and Board Chair Eric Simons welcomed many Chicago-area contributors and volunteers. President's Circle receptions are held throughout the United States as a way for MSAA leadership to show our appreciation for our donors and other supporters. MSAA has also held these events in Denver, Philadelphia, and Tampa this past year.

Deferred Giving

Any of these legacy-giving methods may provide funding for a specific program, a permanent endowment, or for general operations. The fund name may be designated to honor the donor or another person.

It is best to discuss your intentions with MSAA staff today to make sure that your fund is established as you wish. A senior staff person will be pleased to talk with you to discuss your goals.

In making your designation, please remember that the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation headquartered in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (IRS tax ID number 22-1912812).

To initiate a deferred gift, please provide the information above to your estate attorney.

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 11:47