As a financial adviser, Libby Witherspoon recommends corporate matching gift programs as smart financial moves. As a donor to MD Anderson, she follows her own good advice.
"I absolutely tell my clients to take advantage of matching gift programs at their places of employment," says Witherspoon, who directs a wealth management team at BNY Mellon in Miami. "It's the best way to leverage a gift, giving it impact on an exponential basis."
Witherspoon's husband was treated at MD Anderson for glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor. Treatment was successful at first, but he died in 2014 after a recurrence. Now her mother is being treated at MD Anderson for ovarian cancer.
"I'm so grateful for everything MD Anderson does to advance toward wiping out this disease," she says. "I want to do everything I can."
Gifts benefit company, employee, MD Anderson
Many companies, large and small, offer matching gift programs that augment employee donations to certain nonprofits. Programs vary as far as match ratio and minimum and maximum donations, and some extend the offer to retirees. The most common match is one dollar to one dollar, but some go as high as four to one.
MD Anderson began receiving matching gifts in the early 1990s, and the amount received annually has grown to almost $850,000. These programs are valuable on many levels, says Susan Alanis, administrative director of Development-Gift Operations.
Most important, the donations help increase MD Anderson's ability to help patients and their loved ones.
"Matching gift programs allow companies to become involved in causes important to their employees, so they are more connected to their team and the community," she says. "Donors are able to make more of an impact because the programs boost the effectiveness of their contributions."
Opportunity to make your money do more
Marathon Oil Corporation's matching gift program, for example, offers one-to-one matches of unlimited donations to any nonprofit supported by the company.
"Our workplace giving program increases employee awareness of the meaningful work of the organizations the company supports," says Kathy Sauvé, manager of Corporate Communications and Philanthropy at Marathon Oil. "We hope that encourages them to give generously to further the efforts of our nonprofit community partners."
Doug Seaworth, a planning manager in Corporate Development at Marathon Oil, has been donating to MD Anderson through the company's matching gift program for three years.
Although his family has not been directly touched by cancer, he gives to the institution because of its stature as a worldwide leader in cancer treatment and research.
"The matching gift program provides a great way to increase our gifts and double their power to make a difference," he says.
Chairman of the southeast for Goldman Sachs & Co., Driver uses the matching gift program, along with family contributions and memorial gifts, to fund research on pancreatic cancer.
"When I first started giving to MD Anderson, I was trying to save my wife's life," he says. "Now I find the program gives me further incentive to support MD Anderson."
When Schlattman's wife passed away in 2005 of ovarian cancer, he was working as an information technology professional at Chevron. He and his two children decided to access Chevron's matching gift program to establish an endowment in her honor.
"I needed $20,000 to set up the endowment," Schlattman says. "I put in $10,000, and they put in $10,000."
Now retired, Schlattman continues to donate through the program to support the endowment, which helps children whose parents are in the final stages of cancer.
Jennifer Shufelt, a lawyer in the New York office of IBM, says her family can never forget the compassion of MD Anderson's staff and their personalized and attentive treatment of her father's glioblastoma.
"When I started working at IBM, I became aware of the matching gift program right away," she says. "I gave $100 here, $100 there. But after my father died, I began to give to MD Anderson at the maximum limit, earmarking my gifts for glioblastoma research."
Until Phil Parker's family members were treated at MD Anderson, he made occasional gifts when an obituary suggested it. When he decided to increase his giving, he learned his employer, Shell, offered the opportunity to double the impact of his gift.
"I'm not the biggest donor by any means, but it makes my wife and my feel good to know our donations are making more of an impact," says Parker, who retired after 41 years at Shell and continues to participate in its matching gift program.
To find out how you or your company can participate in MD Anderson's matching gift program, call 713.792.4512 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the companies that include MD Anderson in matching gift programs are:
- Applied Materials
- Bank of America
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Cardinal Health
- EOG Resources Inc.
- Goldman Sachs
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Johnson & Johnson
- Liberty Mutual
- Lockheed Martin
- Marathon Oil
- Occidental Petroleum
- Phillips 66
- Shell Oil Company
- Spectra Energy
- Texas Instruments
- Wells Fargo