Mary will never forget the day she faced raising two young children on her own, with no place to live, no job, and little support from her family or church. After years of threatening, her abusive husband had finally abandoned her. Barely able to see the road through her tears, she returned to Maryland. Eventually, she found a place to live and a part-time job that enabled her to support her children while being home with them when they needed her. Most importantly, she began the process of regaining her sense of dignity and self-worth.
That was more than fifty years ago. Since then, she has had a successful career, re-married a loving husband (now deeply mourned since his passing late in 2010), and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. Yet she remembers the challenges of having had no daycare, of there being no jobs for women with dependent children, and of limited opportunities for counseling. Therefore, she decided to take one more step in her journey of recovery from the memories of that terrible time – she is helping other women who find themselves in circumstances similar to those she faced.
She donated funds to Catholic Charities to establish a charitable gift annuity to benefit Anna’s House. A gift annuity is a simple contract between a donor (or donors) and Catholic Charities. In exchange for a gift, the donor(s) receives guaranteed annual payments for life, based on his or her age. A portion of the payments are tax-free for the donor’s life expectancy, and the donor receives an immediate charitable income tax deduction. When funded with appreciated assets, as Mary did, capital gains taxes are also reduced. After the donor passes away, the remainder of the gift goes to support Catholic Charities or a designated program – in this case Anna’s House.
Mary called her gift annuity the “Women in Need” fund, because it will be used to provide counseling and other support services for the women of Anna’s House. She says to women who face her circumstances: “Look in the mirror every day, and tell yourself that you are special. Don’t ever let anyone dictate to you how you feel about yourself.” Through her example and her generosity, she is paving the road to self-sufficiency for others.