The Office of Planned Giving at Massachusetts General Hospital recently sat down with Grant Hudson Whitney, senior director of planned giving, who recently joined the team, to hear his thoughts on gift planning and philanthropy. His 28-year career in development and background in law make him an exceptional resource for Mass General donors interested in estate giving.
What do you want donors to know about you?
Growing up I never wanted to be a gift planner or even knew what it was. My goal was to go to law school to become a neutral arbitrator and mediator. While working in that space, I was tapped to help lead a small capital facility effort at my alma mater. As I connected with peers, I saw how my mediation skills could transfer to this space. I asked the major gifts project lead if there was a place for someone like me in this work and she replied, “You’re a lawyer — what about planned giving?” I responded, “What’s planned giving?” So, you could say philanthropy called to me 28 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Why should someone make a planned gift to support Mass General?
Health care affects all of us regardless of wealth or station in life. For those who have been cured of disease or helped by empathetic doctors and nurses, a planned gift honors that connection. For those interested in supporting research, a planned gift is a statement of faith in the future of what Mass General will be — for our children’s children. All three can be powerful motivators for support.
Why should a Mass General supporter make sure their estate plans are in order?
All too often, a longtime supporter has assured me that their plans are in place, structured to fulfill their philanthropic goals, but in the end, the plan is never executed. That’s a gut punch for the organization, and often for the family, too, who recognized and supported their loved one’s passion. Yet, institutionally, we are bound by the legal language we have or don’t have. For this reason, I always encourage donors to work with the Office of Planned Giving to ensure they have the proper language for their estate plan so Mass General can carry out their legacy as intended.
Any giving advice for donors?
I started this work as the 21st century began. In addition to traditional planned giving tools associated with the last century, wealth today is held in far more numerous forms — for example, non-cash assets. Donors who recognize this and work collaboratively with advisors and knowledgeable professional staff will be positioned to make the largest impact at Mass General.
The Mass General Legacy Challenge
For more information about how you can join the Mass General Legacy Challenge, or if you would like to discuss additional planning ideas, contact us today at email@example.com or 617.643.2220.