As a child dreaming of what life might have in store, Irwin Cohen asked himself one day, “What would I do with $1 million?” His answer reflected a maturity beyond his years, shaped by the death of his mother to cancer when he was only 4. The young boy resolved that he would do what he could to find a cure for cancer. Today, he and his wife, Gail, of Boynton Beach, Florida, are doing just that through an estate gift to MD Anderson.
The Cohens’ affinity for the institution was kindled at a 2013 Making Cancer History® Seminar in West Palm Beach, which they happened upon through an ad in a local newspaper. With each passing year, they became more actively engaged, inviting friends to the annual seminar as Irwin stepped into the recurring role of emcee.
When Irwin lost his brother to cancer two years ago, the couple’s interest in MD Anderson became even more personal. Eager for a first-hand look at the institution’s Texas Medical Center campus in Houston, they paid a visit in late December 2019 and were inspired by the scope of operations and the enthusiasm of everyone they met.
“MD Anderson is phenomenal,” says Gail. “We were truly impressed with the whole campus.”
The couple saw an opportunity to fulfill Irwin’s boyhood wish and help others avoid experiencing the challenges of cancer.
“As enthusiastic as we were when we got there, it was clear to Gail and me when we left Houston that our support for MD Anderson is the right path for us,” says Irwin. “We’re delighted to do everything we can. We feel strongly that we want to contribute to the place that does fantastic research and has helped so many people.”
The Cohens take pride in their relationship with MD Anderson, telling friends and acquaintances that “where you go first matters” and encouraging them to “go to the best.”
“In the fall of 2018, there was no one prouder around here than I was, telling everyone that Dr. Jim Allison had won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, in recognition of his pioneering work in immunotherapy,” says Irwin. “Gail and I continue to applaud his accomplishments and those of so many outstanding researchers and clinicians at MD Anderson. We’re honored to have a small role in advancing the institution’s mission to end cancer.”
Options abound for legacy gifts in support of MD Anderson
MD Anderson’s history is rooted in planned giving — gifts made as part of financial and/or estate planning. It all started with Monroe Dunaway Anderson, a businessman who had the foresight to develop an estate plan that would one day benefit the greater Texas community and beyond. Upon Anderson’s death in 1939, the charitable foundation he had created received a large portion of his estate. Foundation trustees worked with the Texas Legislature to establish a hospital for cancer research and treatment. The M.D. Anderson Foundation agreed to match the $500,000 provided by the Legislature, and the hospital was named for its generous benefactor.
Today, MD Anderson is proud to honor members of the Legacy Society, those who invest in the institution’s mission to end cancer through thoughtful planned giving. Donors may offer unrestricted gifts or designate funds to support a variety of programs, from patient care to professional education to capital projects. Giving vehicles include:
- Appreciated securities
- Charitable bequests
- Charitable gift annuities
- Charitable lead trusts
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Life insurance
- Real estate
- Retirement plans
- Revocable living trusts
- Tangible personal property
To learn more about MD Anderson’s Planned Giving program and the Legacy Society, visit www.mdandersonlegacy.org.