MSAA: Publications - The Motivator: Winter/Spring 2009 - Thoughts about Giving
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Home > MSAA Publications > The Motivator > The Motivator: Winter/Spring 2009 > Thoughts about Giving
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Thoughts about Giving

The Shade of Trees: Leaving a Legacy for People Living with MS

By Bruce Makous

Bruce Makous Photo
Bruce Makous

As the ancient saying goes, "We enjoy the shade of trees planted by those who have gone before us." This is accompanied by the traditional sense that we should replace the legacy we have inherited, so that those who follow us may reap the benefits.

Leaving a charitable legacy is a wonderful way to help future generations. This can simply mean remembering MSAA in your will with a portion of your estate to help people living with MS. There are also a number of other ways that people support MSAA through legacy giving.

A generous man in Wyoming made MSAA the beneficiary of the portion of his retirement plan that may remain upon his death. A woman in Florida designated a specific amount for MSAA from a marital trust. Another individual in New York gave a portion of real assets remaining after he passes.

Contribution of life insurance benefits is another method for providing support for generations who will come after you. Bobby Soileau of Minnesota, an MSAA Board member and supporter of many years, decided to name MSAA as the beneficiary of a portion of the proceeds of his life insurance policies.

"I've been on the TransMontana Snowmobile Ride for MS for the past six years," said Bobby Soileau at a recent MSAA donor recognition event. "That's where I met MSAA President Doug Franklin, several Board chairs, and many other folks from MSAA headquarters. I found that they are good people, very dedicated to the great cause of helping those who live every day with this very difficult condition. I decided that I wanted to leave something to this worthy organization from my estate, so I named MSAA as a beneficiary of proceeds from my life insurance policies. "

Legacy giving such as this, supplements the hundreds of thousands of annual gifts contributed by generous donors across the country. I have the pleasure of traveling all around the country on behalf of MSAA and meeting many of our donors. In November, I traveled to meet generous donors in the Denver area, as well as Maryland. In December, it was Tennessee, and in February, Florida.

At an MSAA President's Circle reception held in Tampa, Florida in February, President and CEO Doug Franklin, and our Board members, met many Florida supporters.

MSAA's recently released 2007-08 Annual Report features the theme, "Impact Through Quality," and shows how our many supporters nationwide have enriched the quality of life for people living with MS through our high-quality programs. It is gratifying to see that our President 's Circle supporters, those who generously provide $500 or more annually, have grown by more than 45 percent this past year.

Thank you, Bobby Soileau and many others who have planted trees for future generations, creating charitable legacies by remembering MSAA in their estate plans. Thanks, too, to everyone throughout our country who provides thoughtful support for MSAA, enriching the quality of life for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis.

Bobby Soileau Photo
At the recent Tampa, Florida, President's Circle reception, Board Member Bobby Soileau of Minnesota, was inducted by MSAA Board Chair Eric Simons and President and CEO Douglas Franklin, into the John Robison Circle, MSAA 's recognition group for those who have made provisions for MSAA in a will, trust, or other means of leaving a charitable legacy

Photo of Ann Murray and Anne Donlin
Also at the Tampa President's Circle reception, Ann Murray and Anne Donlin, Past Chief Daughters of the White Heather Lodge #259 of the Grand Lodge of the Daughters of Scotia, received appreciation from MSAA for their many years of support. The Daughters of Scotia have contributed $100,000 over the past 10 years.

Ways You Can Leave a Charitable Legacy

Donors frequently ask how they should go about leaving a legacy to MSAA. Here are a few thoughts about 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. (Please see the annuity table which appears on the back cover of this publication.)

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 a fund that will 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. The proceeds will create a fund that will benefit people living with MS.

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. You are welcome to visit MSAA headquarters near Philadelphia to meet us, or a senior staff person will be pleased to stop by your home 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).

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 11:38