Advancing Medicine with Charitable Gift Annuities

Photo of Francis Rasmus
Francis Rasmus

Francis Rasmus has made four charitable gift annuities (CGAs) for the University of Arizona since 2016. All advance medical research, a cause he finds deeply meaningful.

“I worked for almost 45 years in medical disability and death claims. I saw what devastation illnesses can cause,” said Rasmus.

Rasmus became aware of the UA’s medical research program because he knew urology cancer researcher Jonathan Walker. His first gift supported this field. Rasmus then established CGAs for pediatric cancer research and Alzheimer’s disease research.

“The UA is improving medical care and the quality of life in Arizona and around the world. I want to help fund that,” said Rasmus.

Hope for Alzheimer’s Prevention
Alzheimer’s research is particularly important to Rasmus because he saw his mother suffer from the disease. She died from it in 1994. Two of his CGA gifts honor her memory and that of another family member.

Rasmus decided to invest in Alzheimer’s research at the UA when he saw a segment on CBS’ “60 Minutes” about an ongoing study at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix. Banner Health, a nonprofit health care company, is the UA’s clinical partner under a 30-year affiliation agreement.

UA researchers are working with a large extended family in Colombia. Half of the family’s members carry a gene that makes them 100% certain to develop early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Because the researchers knew which members had the gene, they were able to study scans of their brains before the disease develops.

The next step is to test drugs designed to prevent Alzheimer’s disease before it can begin. UA researchers began clinical drug trials in 2017 with 250 members of the Colombian family. With continued funding from philanthropists like Rasmus and government grants, the UA will persist with these pioneering research efforts.

A Reliable Giving Vehicle
Rasmus is an advocate for giving in the form of charitable gift annuities. So much so that he has set up 144 of them to benefit various charities near his home in Pennsylvania and as far away as the UA.

“They give me more tax deductions and more tax-free income. Sounds like a good deal to me,” he said.

Rasmus “recycles” some of that income by using it to create new CGAs. Unlike with commercial annuities, the principal will go to causes he cares about instead of insurance companies.

“You can’t take it with you, and I’d rather that the residual go to a charity,” he said.


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