For young doctors, finding the funds to finance a first research project can be a struggle. But for those training at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Neurology, the path is a little easier thanks to Beverly ‘Bev’ Mahfuz.
Bev never had children of her own and often referred to the department’s young trainees as ‘her children.’
Created by her co-workers’ philanthropy, an endowment fund in Bev’s name provides such seed money today – while her own planned gift will grow those resources later. It’s a fitting legacy for a colleague who truly cared for her Mass General family.
A Seat At The Table
In 1992, Bev became executive assistant to Anne Young, MD, PhD, then the new chief of Neurology at Mass General. It was an important development in both of their lives.
Bev dove into the world of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, Dr. Young’s clinical specialties, and quickly learned to assert herself at work with Dr. Young’s encouragement. “Anne taught me to take a seat at the table,” Bev says with gratitude.
Likewise, Dr. Young grew to rely on Bev for her talents, honest advice and unwavering support. Personally and professionally, their loyalty to each other and to their program forged a special bond.
Caring for Neurology Trainees
Bev never had children of her own and often referred to the department’s young trainees as ‘her children.’ As a surrogate mother to a generation of residents and fellows, she recognized the rigorous demands of their programs and the challenges to get initial funding for research.
“We hire only the best here,” Bev states. So even in residency, the trainees pursue advanced research projects that are “mind blowing.” The trick, she continues, is to secure initial funding “because once you get that first grant, other grants follow.”
Giving Back to the Family
In January, Bev retired after 24 years. Given her impact on the Neurology department, it’s no surprise that, at the celebration, Bev’s legacy was enshrined. Led by Dr. Young, current department staff and alumni launched an endowment fund that will exist forever in Bev’s name. The principal is now permanent, while distributions will allow Neurology residents to conduct preliminary research.
“Why not give it to the kids?” Bev asks. “They became my family here.”
Meanwhile, in 2010, Bev and her husband quietly made their own long-term philanthropic plans that further ensure her support of Neurology trainees will live on. With their charitable bequest, a gift arranged in their will, she joined the Phillips Society, Mass General’s community of donors who leave a legacy. “Why not give it to the kids?” Bev asks. “They became my family here.”
Like the fund established in her honor, this estate gift will assist another generation of Neurology trainees seeking their first grant. The bequest directs a significant portion of her estate to that cause. But Bev appreciates that she retains flexibility and financial security throughout her life.
To learn more about how you can remember the hospital in your estate plan and create a legacy to advance medicine, please contact us.