In a way, donor Doug Smith actually helped build Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center – literally. Doug and his wife, Mary Templeman-Smith, first got to know the organization when Doug was chief financial officer for University Mechanical Contractors (now known as UMC), a firm that helped plan and build the Hutch’s state-of-the-art Seattle campus. Over time, he became familiar with the Hutch’s research, and impressed by the integrity of its scientists and staff.
“We got to meet a lot of the doctors,” shared Doug. “We got to hear about the passion for the cures and the patients.” The couple’s connection with Fred Hutch “evolved through watching really, really good people talk about the things that we can do better,” he said. “And it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t do what they can do, but I can give dollars.’ And that helps.”
Making a difference
“Cancer has and will touch all of us,” shared Doug. “My sister lost her fight at 61. She didn’t get the benefit of the Hutch. … We just want to be part of making that expertise as available as we can.”
“We’ve also had friends that have gone through treatments for lymphoma and multiple myeloma. … So, we have that connection,” added Mary. “We have been very blessed with success in our life, with our family and business, so we want to share.”
For Doug and Mary, writing checks at fundraising events gave way to a desire for a more intentional giving approach. A donor advised fund made that possible.
Donor Advised Funds at Work
Donor advised funds allow an individual to set aside cash, property, stock, or other assets, receive a tax credit immediately, and then recommend grant money to nonprofits over time.
For the Smiths, setting up a donor advised fund was “intentional, methodical, and practical.” It was also powerful — giving them a new way to simplify their philanthropic giving and deepen their impact on lifesaving cancer research. In fact, Doug and Mary are not only making gifts to the Hutch from their fund during their lifetime, but have included the Hutch as a beneficiary of the fund as part of their estate planning.
“The [fund] is so flexible,” said Doug. “You can keep your financial advisor, have them manage the money, or you can choose funds managed by the donor advised fund.” He added that it also simplifies tax reporting – turning sheafs of receipts into “one little piece of paper.”
A family relationship
Now, the Smiths are planning to continue what has become a family relationship with Fred Hutch. One of their daughters, Lauren Smith, and her fiancé, Cam Lamarche, are part of the Hutch’s Innovator’s Network, which welcomes young professionals to build community and support cancer research. For their part, Doug and Mary are inspired not only by the Hutch’s established researchers, but by the passion of early career scientists. “It’s about making a difference,” said Doug. “And who doesn’t want to support their kid’s careers, their friends’ children’s careers, and the early career scientists setting out to change our world?’
“You know, it just makes me humbled to hear researchers talk about what they do,” he added. “Donating is the part I can do.”
Want to learn more about donor advised funds and how this giving option can work for you? Feel free to contact PlannedGiving@fredhutch.org for more information.