MoD Rolling Out Preemie Campaign

October 25, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Photographs of premature babies can have a profound effect, but is that effect enough for March of Dimes to win inclusion in someone's estate plan for a bequest, a charitable trust or a gift annuity?

With a new campaign rolling out at the first of the year, the March of Dimes hopes to produce a sufficiently profound effect to make the community feel passionate about supporting the new fight against prematurity.

"Prematurity is more relatable to most people, than possibly folic acid or something of that nature," said Jacki Apel, local director of communications for the March of Dimes. "This is something people are emotional about and something people want to support and prevent."

The March of Dimes offers several options for those looking to support its cause via planned giving. The agency also says it has numerous options for people of widely differing lifestyles. For those who are looking to give a gift that will then return income, a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust may be options.

The charitable gift annuity is a straightforward plan that requires little paperwork to set up. The donor makes a gift to the March of Dimes and the March of Dimes promises, in a contract, that it will give the donor or someone designated by the donor, an income for the rest of the donor's or donor designee's life.

The level of income is based on the donor's age and the size of the gift. The minimum gift for this plan is $5,000, and it's a gift that permits an income tax charitable deduction.

A charitable remainder trust is a legal instrument that sets aside a gift of $100,000 or more for the March of Dimes. The donor or another beneficiary will then receive income from the trust either for a designated number of years or for the beneficiary's lifetime, depending upon the trust's language.

The trust provides diversification of investments, professional management, possibly increased income for the donor or family members, and a current income tax charitable deduction.

Other options include a simple bequest, which allows a donor to make a donation in a specific dollar amount, payable from the assets in the donor's estate. This option allows donors to make a gift to the March of Dimes later rather than now, but still provides a charitable deduction if estate taxes are an issue.

One also can give to the March of Dimes via life insurance. Ownership of a paid policy no longer needed by the donor's family can be transferred to the March of Dimes. In return, the donor receives a current income tax charitable deduction for the policy's cash value.

The donor also has the option of making the March of Dimes the irrevocable owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy. The donor pays the premiums and receives an income tax deduction for the premiums paid.

Life insurance can be particularly beneficial because the proceeds of a policy often greatly exceed the value of the donor's premium payments. The March of Dimes can also be made the contingent or final beneficiary in case a primary beneficiary predeceases the donor.

A pooled income fund is another way to support the prevention of prematurity. A gift is placed into a fund made up of gifts from other donors. Each donor then receives income based on the fund's performance, plus a current income tax charitable deduction. At the time of the donor's death, his or her shares in the fund go to the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes notes that by naming the agency as the beneficiary of all or part of the donor's retirement plan, the funds are protected from double taxation at the time of death. Then, when the March of Dimes receives the gift, the estate gets a tax deduction.

Another way to support the March of Dimes is through stock gifts. The donor transfers ownership of appreciated stock to the March of Dimes and receives a charitable income tax deduction. The way then is clear for the donor to reinvest the tax savings into the same stock, obtaining a stepped up cost basis for that stock. The March of Dimes is then free to sell the stock and benefit from the entire sale proceeds.

Apel says she believes support for the program will be great when the new campaign is officially launched Jan. 1.

"Planning ahead is the nature of planned gifts and this upcoming campaign we are rolling out is another thing to plan for and to plan give for," Apel said. "We are excited about it and think that with the statistics we provide and the startling photos we show, people will be touched and moved to give."

In an average week in Michigan nearly 2,600 babies are born. Of that number, 304 are born pre-term and 53 others are born very pre-term. Too, 206 babies are born with low birth weight and 40 babies are born with very low birth weight.

In addition, 280 Michigan babies are born to mothers who are from 15 to 19 years of age, and 247 babies are born to mothers who receive inadequate prenatal care.

The March of Dimes describes a pre-term baby as being born before the 37th week of pregnancy, while most pregnancies last 38 to 42 weeks.

More information on donating to the March of Dimes is available at

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