Charitable Gift Annuities: A gift that gives double the satisfaction
During his lifetime, Richard “Mitch” Mitchell was a La Crosse Central High School teacher and track coach, as well as an avid jogger who was “healthy as a horse,” recalls his wife Marilyn, better known as Mimi to family and friends. Losing her husband to lung cancer 14 years ago was not something Mimi ever expected. “We had no reason to think Mitch was ill,” recalls Mimi. “But we learned he had lung cancer, and he died just five months later.”
The Mitchells began receiving their medical care at Gundersen Lutheran shortly after they moved to La Crosse in the 1950’s. Mitch’s teaching job is what originally brought them to the area, and they stayed on to raise their two children. “La Crosse is a nice size,” says Mimi. “You didn’t lose children in this community because it was small. It is also a wonderful place to live as you age, because there is so much available here. We are so blessed with the medical facilities in this community.”
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation is a cause that both Mimi and Mitch were proud to support. As Mimi explains, “I have always been grateful for all they’ve done for me and my family.” After 20 years of making annual gifts to the Foundation through the Heritage Society, Mimi was elated to learn this year of the new endowment being established specifically for lung cancer research. “I lived with this disease; I saw what happened to Mitch,” says Mimi. “So I decided I have a mission here, and I need to do something.”
What Mimi decided to do was make a gift to the Foundation in the form of a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA.) Through a simple contract, she agreed to make a donation (which can be cash, stocks or other assets) to Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation and designate it for the Lung Cancer Research Endowment. In return, the Foundation agreed to pay Mimi a fixed amount (in her case 7.7%) each year for the rest of her life. The financial benefits were not the reason for Mimi’s gift, however. As she says, “I was going to leave money in my will for the Foundation, but why wait? If you’re going to do it, do it.”
“Do it,” is a motto with great personal meaning for Mimi. She recalls how years ago, it was the best advice someone gave to her and Mitch as they were thinking about things they would do in retirement, after their kids were grown. “Their advice to us then was: If you want to do things, do them now. How grateful I am that we listened, because we only had eight years of retirement together.” In that time, Mitch and Mimi traveled extensively and enjoyed life to the fullest. By making a gift now to support Gundersen Lutheran’s lung cancer research efforts, Mimi has the immediate satisfaction of seeing the results. As she well knows, life can be too short. If you’re thinking about doing something, do it.