'Philanthropy Is Part of the Healing'

Philanthropy helps fuel the engines of biomedical discovery, clinical innovation and world-class medical education. 

At Johns Hopkins, each faculty member controls a philanthropic fund that directly supports their research, says Merissa Courtright, director of development for the Department of Surgery. “It’s those funds that allow the faculty to further their research initiatives while hiring research and clinical fellows who will become the next generation of academic and clinical leaders.” Contributions often help pay for preliminary research that positions the institution for transformational NIH grants and other major sources of funding.

However, that does not mean that every donation is a huge amount. In fact, smaller gifts make up the overwhelming majority of philanthropic funds supporting the Department of Surgery. In fiscal year 2019, for example, the department received 1,630 individual gifts and 97% were gifts between $100 and $10,000. 

Why Do People Donate?

Many generous people donate for a variety of reasons — whether they are grateful patients, alumni of the school of medicine or just feel a special connection to the work that Johns Hopkins does. Many donors are current or former patients who want to support their physician’s groundbreaking research or help ensure future patients will find the same support and chance of recovery. “Our supporters often say that philanthropy is part of the healing process. Investing in research is a step toward fighting against the disease and taking back a measure of control,” says Courtright. 

You Can Help Make Breakthroughs

Surgery’s development team makes it easy to support the work of the department and its physicians. For those interested in learning more, or making a donation, one of the best places to start is at the Charitable Giving tab on the Department of Surgery website

Anyone can make a single or recurring donation through the site using a credit card or online banking that is 100% tax deductible. 

People can also learn how to make a gift through a will or trust. The institution’s Office of Gift Planning can provide suggested language to include in a will or trust that ensures a donor’s gift will go exactly where they wish to designate it.

The Tax Benefits of Giving

Gift planning advisor Suzie Ferrero says donors are often looking for the “win-win” in which they can make a donation to support research, education or clinical care and at the same time avoid paying further taxes. “Some people are finding that, after they reach the age of 70 and a half, they do not need to take the required minimum distribution from their retirement account,” she says. “In those cases, they can transfer retirement assets directly to Johns Hopkins and avoid paying additional taxes.”

Similarly, giving stock and other appreciated securities that the donor has held for one year or more directly to Johns Hopkins allows the donor to enjoy double benefits — an immediate income tax deduction on the fair market value of the stock gift and the ability to avoid capital gains tax. 

“Everyone here believes in the power of philanthropy. Our institution was established by a philanthropic bequest from Johns Hopkins himself, so it’s in our DNA,” says Courtright. 

Make a gift online.

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