Maureen and Ted Robinson: One of Their best Investments

There are as many reasons to give to Johns Hopkins as there are donors. Ted Robinson and his wife, Maureen, have a singular compelling reason: "I do not possess a Johns Hopkins degree. My parents did not go to college there, nor did my children. I have one reason for supporting Hopkins—they saved my life."

"In my family," Ted recounts, "everyone else my generation and older died of cancer. My brother died of prostate cancer at age 65, so when I got the same diagnosis, I knew I was in trouble. I sought the best possible treatment, and one name rose to the top of the list—Dr. Patrick Walsh at Johns Hopkins."

Dr. Walsh, former director of the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute and University Distinguished Service Professor, operated on Ted in 2000. Renowned for his pioneering work in developing the anatomic approach to radical prostatectomy—which involves nerve-sparing techniques that have reduced the possibility of impotence and incontinence—for three decades Walsh led an institute that has been rated number one in urology by U.S.News & World Report for 16 straight years. "I made a complete recovery," says Ted.

"Six months later, I came back to Hopkins with another challenge," Ted continues. "I've been active all of my life and needed to have both knees replaced. Dr. Walsh referred me to an orthopedic colleague, Dr. Carl Johnson. Just as Dr. Walsh provided me the best possible care, I received the same from Dr. Johnson.

"So, within a 12-month period, I had three major surgeries at Johns Hopkins," says Ted. "Now, I'm back on the golf course five to six days a week, with exercise sessions three or four times a week."

A few months later, Maureen began experiencing symptoms of macular degeneration in her eyes. By then, Hopkins seemed like the natural place to go. Maureen was seen by Dr. Morton Goldberg, then director of the Wilmer Eye Institute, and she remains under his care. Maureen says she feels fortunate to be under the care of Dr. Goldberg, who is renowned in the field of macular degeneration.

"To me, Johns Hopkins means excellence," Maureen says. "Everybody is so dedicated, and my husband and I couldn't have any better care than here. That's why I feel we have to give back. We expect so much of the doctors and the institute, and we know we must return to help them do research and carry on."

"We made a five-year pledge to the Brady Urological Institute and the Wilmer Eye Institute," says Ted, "but then a special opportunity came along that accelerated our giving. In 2006, Congress passed and the president signed the Pension Protection Act (PPA), which, through 2007, permits donors to contribute up to $100,000 from IRAs or pension funds to charity, tax-free.

"Prior to this legislation, donors who cashed in an IRA for a charitable gift still had to pay taxes on it," explains Ted. "Because of the PPA, we paid off our five-year pledge early. The PPA proved to be a gift to Hopkins and to us."

Beyond tax benefits, the couple has greater goals for their philanthropy. "God has been good to us," Maureen says. "Dr. Walsh's treatment for my husband was the answer to my prayers. I believe you have an obligation to help others. By supporting the Brady Urological Institute and the Wilmer Eye Institute, we hope that our gifts will help many other people.”

"I've spent a lifetime working with portfolio management, and Hopkins is one of the best investments I ever made,” says Ted. “People with IRAs or pensions should take advantage of this window of opportunity," he notes. "It enables you to do a lot of good."

Note: Legislation authoring charitable IRA rollover gifts expired December 31, 2011. Watch for updates regarding possible renewal.

Gift vehicle used: Charitable IRA rollover

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