Donor Spotlight

Sometimes the best way to understand if a planned gift is possible is to learn by example. Our donor spotlight highlights the different ways Children's Hospital Boston supporters have turned to planned gifts to plan for the future and benefit our young patients at the same time.


Caring and Sharing

Laura Menge, a development writer at Children’s Hospital Boston, is getting married in just a few months to her fiancé, Jeff Shamp. But this bride has a unique outlook when it comes to one of life’s most important events—the less planning, the better.

“Our wedding plans involve running off to a small island and NOT producing a big event,” Laura laughs. “That was our solution. It’s like we’re eloping with just a few friends and family.”

Despite this laid-back attitude, Laura actually has been earnestly saving and consistently contributing to her retirement accounts since college. Now, at 33, Laura has decided to create a very special plan—one that will change lives. She designated Children’s Hospital Boston as a beneficiary of her Roth IRA. She’ll collect her Roth payouts when she retires, but upon her death, the remaining sum will go, tax-free, to Children’s.

“I never thought of myself as someone who could afford a planned gift,” Laura says. “But I recently learned about the special advantages of leaving an IRA account to charity. Down the road, after I’m gone, I want the money I worked so hard to save to go to something I believe in.”

That “something” is The Yawkey Family Inn, Children’s affordable housing for patient families. Laura has a special fondness for the house, a beautifully restored Victorian just a few blocks from the hospital. With friends and coworkers, she regularly cooks dinner at this “home away from home” for the patient families who’ve travelled long distances for their child’s treatment.

“Preparing dinner gives me a great chance to talk to moms and dads and siblings,” Laura explains. “There are so many things I wish I could do for these families. They are up against so many challenges and if at the very least I can have a hot meal waiting for them, I’ll gladly do it.”

Not only has Laura made The Yawkey Family Inn part of her life, but she’s made it part of Jeff’s life too. He can be found in the kitchen from time to time, assembling tacos or sautéing beef for chili.

“I really think it’s important for my partner to join me and see what I do for a living and why. Spending time at the Inn drives home how important our work at Children’s is, and how philanthropy delivers a huge impact,” Laura says.

Creating a legacy

Since Laura began working for Children’s Hospital three years ago, she has been involved in a number of volunteer efforts. She joins the annual NSTAR Children’s Walk and attends fundraising events. She also served as a hospital volunteer on Children’s 9 South patient floor.

“As a volunteer, I saw so many different situations,” Laura remembers. “The doctors are amazing and the nurses are just unbelievable, with endless patience and energy. Since then, I’ve used the inspiring stories I witnessed when writing donor reports.”

Laura is also a member of the Children’s “Ask Me” force and volunteers to stand in the hospital lobby, welcoming arriving families, giving directions and fielding questions.

Finally, if Laura isn’t writing stewardship reports, cooking dinners or guiding a lost family, she can be found in the Blood Donor Center, donating platelets. Jeff will sometimes join her—they both understand the urgency of blood donations.

In the past, Jeff has fully supported Laura in all of her volunteer efforts. So when Laura approached him about designating her Roth IRA to the hospital, he agreed whole-heartedly.

“He was very supportive,” Laura says. “I wanted to figure out what my legacy could be. Eventually, when I no longer need it, my IRA will become a named endowment fund to support patient family housing. That way, I’m taking care of both my future and Children’s.”


The Benefits of IRA donation

Making Children's an IRA beneficiary or contingent beneficiary is a wonderful way to create a last legacy—one that comes with many benefits. You may designate Children's as a direct beneficiary to receive the IRA funds when you pass away; or as a contingent beneficiary after your primary beneficiary, such as a spouse, has passed away.

Learn more about a gift of an IRA »