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A Charitable Gift Annuity: The Extra Mile

Through a charitable gift annuity, one donor receives payments for life while helping St. Jude kids.

By Zack McMillin

Joe Hollis

Joe Hollis

As a former marathoner who remains an avid runner, Joe Hollis knows something about going the extra mile. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital motivates him to keep a relentless pace of giving.

In 2010, while running with his St. Jude philanthropic adviser, Hollis learned how a charitable gift annuity could benefit him while helping St. Jude kids. He loves the simplicity of this unique giving vehicle, which provides payments for life at a set rate and can provide tax benefits for some donors.

“This is a big plus to me, to have the peace of mind of the additional income and also know that I’m helping the children,” says Hollis, a semi-retired car dealer from Missouri. “I’m trying to increase it as much as I can, every year. I’ve set some big goals.”

Hollis, who is in his late 60s, has put St. Jude in his will. Every spring he tries to attend the Danny Thomas – St. Jude Society event for supporters who have included the hospital in their estate plans.

“I tell everyone, this is an awesome place and you really need to see it to get your head around how big their plans are for saving these children,” Hollis says. “Every time I go, it seems like I pick up something new.”

Ever the salesman, Hollis always sports a St. Jude logo on his hat or shirt.

“It’s a great way to get someone to ask about St. Jude,” he says. “I’ll give them my 10-minute pitch.”

Hollis says he always points out that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

“And I always talk about how the research is shared with everyone in the world,” he says. “Things like that are what sets St. Jude apart.”

A few years ago, Hollis honored his parents by dedicating a plaque in the St. Jude Biomedical Library. The inscription reads: “Attitude is the crayon that colors the world.” He felt the quote, one he’s seen on signs during his runs, captured the hope and resilience of St. Jude patients and families.

 “You hear those stories, and you’ve got to get that box of Kleenex out,” he says. “So inspiring.”

For details about charitable gift annuities or other ways to support St. Jude, call 1-800-910-3188 or email


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