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CGAs benefit donors, support ADAF programs

Phoenix—Geraldine Furst was raised on the adage that if you have two apples, you give one away. If you have two dollars, you share. It's a philosophy she continues to practice today.

When she found herself with "a few extra dollars," she decided to share them with the ADA Foundation in the form of a charitable gift annuity.

Charitable gift annuities are one way to make a planned gift. The donor gifts a lump-sum payment to a charity and in return, receives a lifetime income. The donor also receives an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift. The charitable gift annuity helps the charity—in this case the ADA Foundation—and is tailored to donors who want to contribute a charitable gift, but also want to receive continuing income.

Mrs. Furst, an 87-year-old widow now living in Arizona, said she liked the fact "the money is helping someone as well as myself."

"I'm very fortunate and I know I am," said Mrs. Furst, whose late husband, George, practiced general and forensic dentistry for more than 30 years. "I've had a very good life and if my money can help someone, I want to do it."

With the ADAF, planned gifts help to support such programs as the ADAF Disaster Fund and dental education programs.

"The charitable gift annuity has been an option for those with a philanthropic motive for several years now through the Foundation," said ADA and ADAF Treasurer Ed Leone. "For many, it may be an opportune time to consider such an investment in their own and the Foundation's future."

While some planned giving options are practical only for people who give $100,000 or more, other options, such as charitable gift annuities are often used by donors contributing as little as $10,000.

"Our colleagues in retirement are faced with the challenge of maintaining a steady and reliable stream of income during these very difficult economic times," Dr. Leone said. "What better way to achieve this necessity than with the utility of a fixed income annuity—especially with equity market performance as unpredictable as it has been?"

He added that charitable gift annuities are backed by the general assets of the ADA Foundation and also have several potential income tax benefits including an immediate, partial income tax deduction and potential capital gains benefits if a donor gifts appreciated stock instead of cash funding.

"Those of us who are in the phase of our career where transition from dental practice is imminent and are looking for a tax-advantaged, lifetime income for ourselves and or our spouse, should consider the benefits generated by a charitable gift annuity. It is a wonderful way to plan for your personal future along with the opportunity to give something back to our profession. It is important to take the time to educate one's self on the benefits of charitable gift annuities and consider establishing one with the ADA Foundation" Dr. Leone said.

The payoff is more than just monetary. Mrs. Furst originally did a charitable gift annuity with the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine—where her husband attended school. She said her eyes were opened when she had a chance to visit and saw firsthand the good her dollars were doing. That was her first experience with charitable gift annuities and she has been a believer ever since.

"I was amazed at what I saw at the clinic," she said. "I got a lot of personal gratification out of the gift that I made, over and above the income."

Charity is part of life for Mrs. Furst, who said still drives and fills her days with volunteering and other projects. Mostly she says she is "just so appreciative" of what she has.

"I've had a wonderful life and I had the best husband in the world," declared Mrs. Furst, a former newspaper publisher of a weekly newspaper in New York. "He was so special and I believe, what comes around, goes around."

For more information about CGAs or to make a donation to the ADA Foundation, call the ADA toll-free at Ext. 4691 or e-mail straneyc@ada.org.