Beth and Don LeHeup:
Gift Annuity for Research at NMU Brain Tumor Center
Beth LeHeup ’60, and her husband, Don, were looking for a way to support Beth’s alma mater, but they didn’t feel they were in a position to give “a wad of cash.” As Don explained, they are “not wealthy, but doing okay.”
That is why the LeHeups decided to designate a charitable gift annuity in their estate planning as a way to support the future of research at NMU.
Don and Beth are particularly impressed with the work being done at the NMU Brain Tumor Center. Support of brain tumor research at Northern Michigan University represents an important opportunity to bring new hope to those with a life-threatening condition by helping Northern students, faculty, and partners to make critical contributions to the advancement of medical science and cancer therapy.
The Center is dedicated to studying the genetics of primary brain tumors in an effort to identify the mechanisms that cause a cell to become cancerous. Improved understanding of altered genetic pathways may lead to new treatment approaches. The research is led by Robert Winn, PhD, of the NMU biology department in collaboration with Marquette General Hospital neurosurgeon Richard Rovin, MD, FACS. According to Dr. Rovin, “First‚ we are improving clinical care of the patient with a brain tumor and‚ importantly‚ we are improving the quality of survival. Second‚ we have created research and educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at NMU.”
Beth’s mother died from a tumor similar to the type that is being researched at the Center. “That really brought it home to us,” Don said.
Though they are focusing their support on the Center, the LeHeups are also keeping their designation for the future of the annuity funds flexible. Don says, “We don’t want to be too specific. The research needs of the institution may change over time.” Beth adds, “We know they’ll do something wise with the money.”
Don describes establishing a charitable gift annuity as a “win-win.” It’s a great way to generate income during retirement while also helping to support research at NMU.
And, Beth notes, “You don’t need a lot of money to get one started. Until we learned more about it, we thought you needed to have half a million dollars or more, but you don’t.”
In fact, CGAs can be set up starting at a commitment of $10,000.
A gift annuity is a lifetime contract with fixed payments. Unlike a CD or money market, when you fund a gift annuity you know what your payment rate is this year, next year, and for as long as you live. And unlike cash assets, gift annuities offer you other benefits. When you fund a gift annuity, you’ll receive an income-tax deduction for part of the funding amount.
Just as the decision to fund a gift annuity brings a lifetime of benefits, the assets the LeHeups use to fund a gift annuity will have lasting benefits. Because they can supplement retirement while helping to provide a continuum of support for students, Don urges all NMU alumni to “look into charitable gift annuities.”
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