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Gift Planning

The Right Place at the Right Time

The Pierson family is thankful for Children's Mercy.

The Pierson family is thankful for Children's Mercy.

When a fetal echocardiogram reveals a critical heart defect—and the baby has to undergo lifesaving cardiac surgery only eight days after birth—you don't expect the mother to label the experience as "awesome." But Traci Pierson actually describes her son Levi's birth in even more glowing terms.

"Despite the fact that my child had a serious birth defect," Traci says, "I look back on his delivery as even better than my first son's"—a remarkable statement considering that big brother Liam was born with no health concerns.

Levi's health, on the other hand, was much more complicated. A routine ultrasound during pregnancy detected a hole between the bottom two chambers of Levi's heart. While serious, that worry was trumped by the results of a follow-up fetal echocardiogram: an interrupted aortic arch.

Before birth, a defective aorta isn't a danger because the ductus arteriosus—a specialized fetal blood vessel—handles the job. Problems arise after birth, however, when that connection naturally constricts and closes. In Levi's case, that ordinary occurrence would have resulted in dire consequences because his heart couldn't have worked as it should.

Discovering such defects early is critical, said Levi's cardiologist, William Drake, MD, as is getting treatment at the proper facility. Otherwise, Dr. Drake explains, Levi could have been delivered and discharged before any problem was recognized.

"If that had happened, Levi would have become very sick, and he probably would have showed up in an emergency room," Dr. Drake says. "He could have had brain damage, organ damage—if he even survived at all."

Anticipating such an outcome, doctors recommended Traci deliver her baby at Children's Mercy's Fetal Health Center. That choice allowed doctors to immediately set up an arterial infusion of prostaglandins into Levi's veins soon after birth. This procedure kept his ductus arteriosus from closing and gave James O'Brien, MD, Levi's surgeon, the time needed to repair his "missing" aorta.

Eight days later, Levi headed home with his family. Today, the toddler is doing so well that doctors recently switched him from six-month check-ups to annual ones—just like any healthy baby.

Looking back, Traci has no hesitation recommending Children's Mercy to other parents. "In my opinion, Children's Mercy is the place to be for a sick child that needs any type of care," she says. "Even if you took them to regular facilities, chances are they are going to be referred to Children's Mercy. So, in my opinion, you might as well start with the best and end up with the best results."

You Can Make a Difference
To learn how you can support Children's Mercy and lifesaving care for kids like Levi, please contact Phil Watson at (816) 701-4339 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Children's Mercy a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Children's Mercy, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Kansas City, MO, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Children's Mercy or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Children's Mercy as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Children's Mercy as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Children's Mercy where you agree to make a gift to Children's Mercy and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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