Joseph Jefferson didn't own a car. He didn't have fancy clothes or an elaborate home. He lived quite modestly.
But when he passed away in November 2007 at age 93, Joe left an extraordinary legacy, thanks to an unrestricted $750,000 gift to Cincinnati Children's.
Because of the unassuming, humble way Joe chose to live his life, no one who knew him would have thought such a gift possible – not even Joe.
A retired electrician for Procter & Gamble, Joe loved to walk up and down the streets of his Latonia, Kentucky, neighborhood. He made the two block trek to his local U.S. Bank at least once a week, even as he neared 90 years old.
One day, Joe came into the bank and was obviously frustrated, says Mark Dickman, Joe's investment consultant and trusted confidant at U.S. Bank. He had a hole in his roof, but didn't want to take $5,000 out of the bank to fix it. "Joe had no idea how much wealth he'd accumulated," Dickman says. "This was a man who owned thousands of shares of P&G stock in addition to other investments. I told him, 'Joe, you have more than enough in the bank to build a brand new home. Get the roof fixed.'"
Then, Joe began to question what would happen to his investments when he was gone. He wanted to ensure that his money would be used to help others.
Dickman advised Joe that by transferring his stocks into a charitable remainder trust, he could increase his income and have plenty left over to give to a cause close to his heart. By taking the advice, Joe increased his annual income from about $20,000 to $100,000, and he avoided a six-figure estate tax upon his death.
"When Joe made the decision to leave a gift to Cincinnati Children's, he got such a light in his eyes," Dickman says. He was thrilled at the idea of using his money to help sick children.
On one of their last visits together, Dickman recalls, Joe was talking about his gift and reminiscing about his wife, who died in 1977. "He said to me, 'You know, Mark, Dorothy always tried to make sure I did the right thing. I'm sure she's real proud of me right now.'"
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