Harris Frank, a former real estate executive, has lent a hand to many local and national causes-including 12 years of service on the board of the former Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He has encouraged his peers to do the same.
"If we live in this country and this community and have the benefit of a good education, we have the responsibility to give back," Harris says.
But there was one type of giving he had never considered: Setting up charitable gift annuities to benefit his favorite nonprofit organizations while supporting his retirement lifestyle.
"I had been involved in fundraising for 50 years and had never heard of this type of giving," Harris says. "I know that there are dozens who would benefit if they knew what charitable gift annuities could do for their lives."
A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract between an individual and a nonprofit organization. In return for a transfer of assets, the nonprofit organization pays the beneficiary a set amount each year for life.
Charitable gift annuities are a good option for older adults. Harris says many people simply aren't aware of this option. When his lawyer mentioned the possibility, Harris thought it was too good to be true.
Security Through Support
After learning the benefits, Harris says it was a no-brainer. He decided to support key charities, including The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Harris was drawn to the Foundation out of respect for the rich history of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the St. Louis community and the advances in medical research.
"I'm impressed with what they have done over the years," he says. "No question that Barnes-Jewish is the shining light for those of us who have pride in our community. Look at what they're doing with science and research. It's important we recognize and support the great organizations we have here."
Harris' charitable gift annuity benefits the Marjorie Frank Fellowship Endowed Fund. The fund was created in 1976 by Harris' parents to honor his late sister. Each year, the fund supports Resident Invitational Lectures, a series of educational events for medical residents where a guest lecturer shares new approaches in psychiatry.
"It's a privilege to be able to do something for such a great organization," Harris says. "The hospital is really an icon of St. Louis-its shining star."
A Life-Changing Gift
The minimum amount to set up a gift annuity is $10,000. Harris receives payments at a rate of about 8 percent each year from his charitable gift annuity. The rates are based on the age of the annuitant.
"I can go and do things I wouldn't have been able to," Harris says. "I know the money is there. And no matter what happens, I'm going to get the same amount."
Many people are attracted to the gift annuity's steady return on investment-and the ability to give back at the same time.
"I view it today as the most wonderful opportunity that older people like me could envision," Harris says. "It changed my life. I can live how I do, travel and, at the same time, give to worthy causes. Where can anybody get a greater pleasure than that?"