Mclean Hospital

Bequests Promote Progress and Strengthen McLean

April 17, 2013

When Janet Churchill was a young girl, she visited her grandmother who was a patient at McLean. She recalls impressive buildings set atop a hill, majestic trees, and a sweeping landscape. A Massachusetts native who later settled in Delaware, Churchill retained over the years a sense of McLean’s excellence—from the care it provides to people like her grandmother to its cutting-edge brain research to its robust training environment for mental health professionals.

While neuroscience is only one of Churchill’s many deep and varied interests—which range from law to aviation to Labrador retrievers—McLean’s prominence in the field inspired her to incorporate the hospital into her estate plan. In 1999, she established a unitrust of which McLean is the beneficiary; then in 2012, she made a provision for McLean in her will. The resulting gift will fund the Janet I. Churchill Endowed Research Fellowship at McLean to support young investigators doing promising brain research.

Janet Churchill piloting a Douglas DC-3
Janet Churchill piloting a Douglas DC-3

Churchill, a retired pilot, published author, and active community volunteer, hopes her gifts will nurture generations of talented scientists at McLean. “It’s the young researchers with the new ideas who are the future of brain science,” said Churchill. “There is a great need to support them and their work.”

By making a legacy gift, Churchill became a member of the John McLean Society, named after the Boston merchant whose bequest in 1823 helped establish the institution that would later become McLean Hospital.

Churchill’s gift takes two forms. The first is a straightforward bequest that directs a certain percentage of her estate to the hospital. The second is the assets of a charitable remainder unitrust, which also pays interest to Churchill during her lifetime.

“Academic research requires both persistent effort and a long-term view,” said McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD. “Ms. Churchill’s gift provides the resources to fuel the pursuit of new ideas and, as such, it is a direct investment in future discoveries in the field of mental health. Her generosity will positively impact countless individuals’ lives in perpetuity.”

Personalized Impact

Gifts and their motivations are as personal and varied as the ways they’re used. Gertrude Waldron, a lover of literature and a volunteer at McLean’s library, made a bequest in appreciation for the superb care she received as an outpatient. Another legacy gift by an anonymous donor helped establish McLean’s Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research. Still others have funded research in bipolar disorder and Parkinson’s disease, supported education and training initiatives, and provided resources for nursing and social work programs as well as child and adolescent services. Some donors make unrestricted bequests, which allow McLean to direct support to new initiatives that might otherwise not be funded.

Over the past decade, McLean has received more than $6 million in planned gifts and bequests, ranging in size from $1,000 to $1 million. Though the most common type of planned gift is a straightforward bequest, there are other vehicles, including:

  • Charitable gift annuity
  • Charitable annuity trust
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Real estate
  • Charitable lead trust

Although nearly two centuries separate Churchill’s act of philanthropy from John McLean’s, they both ensure that McLean continues to serve as a beacon of hope for people with psychiatric illnesses and their families.

Support McLean Through Your IRA

A popular tax-law provision that encourages charitable giving has returned, at least until the end of 2013. The IRA charitable rollover allows people who are 70½ or older to transfer up to $100,000 per year directly from an individual retirement account (IRA) to a charity without having to count it as taxable income. An additional benefit is that the transfer counts toward the required minimum distribution for that year.

To take advantage of this tax-free giving opportunity, the gift must be:

  • Outright—in other words, it can’t be made to fund a gift annuity, or trust
  • Made to a public charity (so donor advised funds and supporting organizations do not qualify)

In addition, no goods or services may be given in exchange for the gift.

If you are interested in making a planned gift to McLean, please consult your financial advisor and contact the Development Office at 617.855.3415 or mcleandevelopment@partners.org.