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Using a gift annuity to give back

Laurence Gersky is a retired auto worker in Michigan. In addition to the hours he spends each week volunteering at a local hospital and serving as a court-appointed special advocate for foster children, Mr. Gersky has a special place in his heart for the children of St. Jude.

St. Jude supporter Laurence Gersky

St. Jude donor Laurence Gersky

How did you first become involved with St. Jude?

I used to make contributions to a variety of children’s causes. I found I was deluged with solicitations, and I wanted to zero in and have a greater impact. I checked out many charities and found that at St. Jude, a high percentage of every dollar goes directly to help the kids.

What prompted your decision to create a St. Jude charitable gift annuity?

I was invited to visit, and I toured the hospital and went to dinner with a St. Jude representative. She mentioned a gift annuity, and I filed the information away. Time went by and my wife passed away. I was getting all my ducks in a row, and I figured ‘what the heck.’ So I did a $10,000 gift annuity with St. Jude. Since then, I’ve been coming almost every year to visit St. Jude.

Have you discussed your support of St. Jude with your family?

I have a large family and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I try to bring a child with me when I come, so they can see what I’m doing here and understand it.

What does giving to St. Jude mean to you?

My basic philosophy is our main job is to take care of our children. That dominates our existence and supporting St. Jude is part of that. It has to be the top priority. St. Jude is doing an excellent job, and it only makes sense to get on board. St. Jude makes all the sense in the world.

What has impressed you most about St. Jude in all your visits to the campus?

The people that work here and all the people involved. There is so much energy. It’s not hard to believe they do so much, with so many wonderful, committed people. I enjoy and appreciate the personal connection with individuals from St. Jude, like my local representative, Julie. There is good and bad in everything in the world, but at St. Jude, I see only good.

What would you say to someone considering a St. Jude gift annuity?

I would definitely encourage it. If you don’t have beneficiaries, seriously consider St. Jude. It’s nice to be able to have a real effect on our society.