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Janet and John Swanson

Janet and John Swanson created a charitable gift annuity with Hadassah, a gift they call "very good retirement planning."

Janet and John Swanson of The Villages, Florida, have what you might call highly diversified resumes. Between them, they've covered library science and rocket engineering, travel coordination and software development, pet sitting and renewable energy.

These days, their charitable giving portfolio looks almost as varied as their careers did. But, as John points out, there's a method to their charitable giving. "I'm in charge of education and Janet's in charge of animal welfare," he laughs.

Janet's love of animals is thanks to her mother, who brought the family's first dog home. Her love of Hadassah also ties back to her mother. "I grew up with Hadassah, and every Jewish woman I knew was active in Hadassah. Certainly everyone in my family was," Janet explains.

Janet's family loyalty to Hadassah dovetails neatly with John's interest in retirement strategy. That's why the couple created a charitable gift annuity with Hadassah, in which they made a gift and receive regular, fixed payments in return. After their lifetimes, the remainder will benefit Hadassah's lifesaving work.

"We consider charitable gift annuities to be very good retirement planning. Growing up, I was a poor farm boy, and running out of money is not something I would ever want to do," says John, whose father died when he was 5. He went on to earn degrees in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and founded a software development company.

The couple met at a New Year's Eve party in 1974 in Pittsburgh, where she was pursuing a master's degree in library science. Today, they celebrate birthdays and anniversaries by donating to charities dear to their hearts instead of giving material gifts.

"When I sold my company, I said I've been given to, and I'm giving it back," John says. "The children have been taken care of, so the rest is going to the various charities in as efficient a manner as I can arrange."

Contact us at (800) 428-8884 or to learn more about supporting Hadassah's future while also planning for your own.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hadassah a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Hadassah, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 40 Wall Street, 8th floor, New York, NY 10005
ATTN: Planned Giving & Estates, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Hadassah or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hadassah as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hadassah as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Hadassah where you agree to make a gift to Hadassah and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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A comprehensive guide to all of Hadassah's planned giving options

How to make a gift for Hadassah through a charitable gift annuity

Deferred charitable gift annuities

Using retirement assets to make a gift to Hadassah

Using life insurance to make a gift to Hadassah

Favorite ways to make a gift to Hadassah

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