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Seeds of Hope

Posted By MPGC, Thursday, December 11, 2014

The ability to grow replacements for failing body parts is rapidly approaching reality at the University of Minnesota’s new Stem Cell Institute.

It was probably the best surprise Catherine Verfaillie, M.D., has ever had.

A professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, Verfaillie has seen plenty of unusual things in the dozen or so years she’s spent exploring the spongy marrow that fills our bones. But none beats what she and graduate student Morayma Reyes found growing in a culture dish one day in 1997.

Where they had a “planted” mesenchymal stem cells – cells found in marrow that typically give rise to bone – the researchers found not just bone cells, but cells that make up the lining of blood vessels as well. Curious, they began modifying the growing conditions – and soon found they could coax the culture into producing cartilage, heart, muscle, brain, and liver cells as well. It was as though they had stumbled upon a packet of magic seeds that, depending on where they were planted, could grow into carrots, broccoli, corn, or cabbage.

“We didn’t think it would be possible,” Verfaillie says. “Then, when it turned out what we didn’t think would be possible seemed like it actually might have been happening – then the University of Minnesota – to the forefront of one of the hottest arenas in medical research today: stem cell biology. Focused on cells that have the power to differentiate into a variety of specialized tissues, this field holds promise for developing treatments or cures for an incredible array of ills, including diabetes, heart failures, Parkinson’s disease, and paralysis.

Trip Through Time To understand stem cells, let’s take a trip back through time to when you were young – so young you were still a tiny ball of cells floating inside your mother. The cells that made up the core of that ball were stem cells. Each had the capacity to give rise to skin, kidney, lung, blood, or any of the more than 200 types of cells found in your body today.

As the stem cells divided, they began to produce specialized cells, like so many high school graduates going off to make their way in the world. Some made blood cells, others, brain cells; yet others, cells that went on to become nerves, heart, intestines, or bones.

At the same time, the stem cells lost some of their versatility. Instead of being pluripotent – able to make any kind of cell – they became multipotent – able to differentiate into a few, but not all, kinds of specialty cells. The older and more developed you got, the proportion of cells that could be just about anything became smaller.

Today, most of your cells have lost the ability to give rise to any kind of cell but the kind they are. But not all.

Bone Marrow Bonanze The first hint that adults still harbor some multipotent cells came in the 1960s, when scientists discovered that bone marrow contained something that made white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. That “something” turned out to be hematopoietic (“blood-forming”) stem cells.

Source: U of M Medical School

Medical Bulletin

MN Medical Foundation

Picture below:

Catherine Verfaillie, M.D., a professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the Stem Cell Institute, is at the forefront of one of the hottest arenas in medical research today: stem cell biology

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Inga Johnson: Her Generosity Lives On

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 10, 2014
inga johnson

A life filled with enjoyment and caring

Inga was born in 1902 on a farmstead in Elizabeth Township. She was the youngest of eight children of Oscar and Kari (Jensen) Johnson. After completing grade school in Elizabeth, Inga went on to Park Region College in Fergus Falls and Dakota Business College in Fargo.

Early in her work life, Inga was employed as a cashier and stenographer at DeLendrecie’s Department Store in Fargo, and at the First National Banks in Mayville and McIntosh, North Dakota. Later, as a cook at Two Medicine Chalet in Glacier National Park, Inga began to enjoy photography and hiking in the mountains.

A commitment to community

Her travels took her as far as the Pacific Ocean. While in California, she learned that her brother Charles had purchased the Lake Alice Grocery in Fergus Falls. Inga soon joined him to help out in the neighborhood grocery business. She worked for 50 years at the store—into her 80s—and some 10 years after her brother had died.

Inga also was active in her church—singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School and working with the church women’s organizations. She continued her love for climbing mountains and tending flowers. With her interest in photography, Inga was a charter member of Heart O’Lakes Camera Club. During the Second World War, she was a member of the Red Cross Blood Mobile Canteen.

When Inga reached 90 years of age—and having been in and out of nursing homes several times—she knew it was time to begin planning her estate.

Establishing an estate plan

With legal counsel, Inga established a living trust to manage her assets and contain her estate plan. She provided management of her assets for the years she expected to be in a nursing home. Inga planned to make appropriate gifts to relatives (nine nieces and nephews), local friends and associates, and charities – as the success of her investments permitted. Inga also decided to establish a permanent endowment fund to provide benefits in perpetuity, for people living in and around the Fergus Falls area. The plan considers her investments, insurance, trusts and annuities.

Inga also made a will, which was designed to reduce or eliminate income tax and death taxes and to provide maximum benefits for her friends, family and chosen charities.

West Central Initiative was selected

A Living Trust and Endowment Fund with West Central Initiative (WCI) were the means Inga chose to accomplish her goals.

For many years, Inga had contributed to a number of charitable non-profitorganizations in the Fergus Falls area. And, for the rest of her days – and beyond – she continues that support. The Inga M. Johnson Endowment Fund, at WCI, was a key instrument in fulfillingher wishes.

A gift of love lives on in Fergus Falls

Inga died in October 1998 at the age of 96. Before her death, she had contributed $130,000 over seven years to the Endowment Fund.

Inga received an income tax deduction for the amount of the gift that she was able to make each year from the annual earnings of her investments.

These gifts gradually and steadily increased the size of the Endowment. Inga reduced her income tax liability by the deductible charitable gifts she made to WCI and other charities.

An added-value to Inga’s gift

Upon her death, Inga also left a residuary portion of her estate, further increasing the size of the Inga M. Johnson Endowment Fund to more than three-quarters of a million dollars. By doing so, she accomplished another goal – to eliminate all death taxes on her estate.

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Philanthropy Matters Column for the Autumn Issue of Momentum

Posted By MPGC, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gillette Children’s Hospital Foundation to Receive Its Largest Gift

We’ve recently learned that sometime later this year Gillette Children’s Foundation will receive the largest single gift in its history. The gift comes as a part of the estate of Margaret and Leonard Anton of Sarasota, Florida.

Leonard (Tony) Anton came to the Gillette Children’s Hospital (Then called the State Hospital for Indigent Crippled and Deformed Children) in 1912 as a 6-year-old on the train from Duluth by an agent of the Humane Soceity (an important social service agency at the time). He was an only child. He was treated at our Lake Phalen facility over the next eight and one-half months for Osteomyelitis, (a bone infection). His father died the next year. While we don’t know much about his mother, Leonard’s wife has described his situation as that of a crippled orphan. Tony returned as a 9-year-old and remained at Gillette for another three years an two months. Mary Kelleher, a family friend, reports that Tony met a man while at Gillette who took an interest in him and was instrumental in getting an education at Harvard University where he took an undergraduate degree.
Peggy grew up less than a mile from Gillette’s Children Hospital in what was then known as the Rice neighborhood. She was an only child. Her dad was a salesman for Griggs and Cooper, then a wholesale grocer. She attended St. Joseph’s Academy (a Catholic girls’ school) in St. Paul. She then attended the College of St. Catherine (also in St. Paul) for a couple of years before going to work for her uncle at Midway National Bank. Tony and Peggy met when they both worked for the State of Minnesota, we suspect in the mid-1930’s. We believe that Peggy worked for the University of Minnesota at one time.

What little we’ve been able to learn about Margaret and Leonard is the result of conversations with long-time neighbor and friend Dorothy Johnston, of Sarasota Florida. Mrs. Johnson tells us that Leonard worked for the State of Minnesota, where he met his future wife, Margaret. He then worked for the Social Security Administration. After WWII he entered the State Department and served in the Foreign Service, where he was posted in Japan to help create a Social Security system in that country. Margaret traveled with Leonard when he was posted in Japan and Taiwan among other places before ending his career in Washington DC. Leonard retired in 1973 and he and Martha moved to Sarasota Florida.
Long-time friend and neighbor Dorothy Johnson describes Leonard as a quiet, mild mannered man. “He was very astute and a skillful investor who did all of his own investing. He and Dorothy were avid golfer, despite Tony’s severe limp”. Mrs. Johnson said Leonard had received many awards as a result of his work, and had been instrumental in the development of a museum of Taiwanese cultural artifact in Taipei. In the late 80’s when he could no longer manage their own affairs, he set up a trust to manage their investments and take care of their needs. Mrs. Johnson describes here friend Margaret as petite with red hair when she was younger. “Peggy began her own career working at her uncle’s a bank (Midway National Bank) in the Twin Cities.

“Tony developed Alzheimer’s in the late 80’s and Peggy took care of him at home for some time. When she was no longer able to manage, Peggy had Tony placed into nursing care, where she was still very faithful and attentive. Tony died in 1995. Margaret died December 26th, 2000.

Estate plans written by Tony and Peggy leave almost all of the remaining assets to charity. Gillette Children’s Hospital Foundation will receive 50% or roughly $800,000. The University of Minnesota and Harvard University will each receive roughly $400,000 for their student loan funds

Last printed 06/27/2001

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Two New Minnesota Orchestra Laureates Tell Their Story

Posted By MPGC, Monday, November 24, 2014

This month we take the pleasure in introducing two Minnesota Orchestra Laureate Society members, Truman and Leila Jeffers, who have attended Orchestra concerts for 50 years. We thank them and their fellow supporters, who make excellence possible through their generosity.


Truman “Jeff” and Leila Jeffers were students at Macalester College in St. Paul when they first became acquainted with the Minnesota Orchestra (then called the Minneapolis Symphony). “We were members of the concert choir,” Leila recalls, “and we sang with the Minneapolis Symphony under the direction of Antal Dorati. When we began going to concerts as audience members, we attended at Northrop Auditorium. We followed the Orchestra from Northrop to Orchestra Hall, and from St. Catherine’s to the Ordway.”


Today, the Jeffers still sing (as members of the senior choir at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton) and still attend concerts. They have raised three daughters and enjoyed their careers – Jeff in the business and banking world for 40 years and as CEO of the Minnesota Bankers Association for 25 years, and Leila as a teacher, and then a homemaker and mother. When Jeff and Leila sat down to do some retirement and estate planning, they focused on the people and organizations that have given them the great joy for many years.

Jeff explains, “We have arranged to provide financially for our wonderful daughters and their families, and we want to make ongoing contributions to our church, college and other charitable interests important to us. One prominent interest is the Minnesota Orchestra. Working with The Saint Paul Foundation, we have structured a family fund that will receive the balance of our retirement accounts after we’re gone. The fund will then continue to support the Orchestra and other organizations indefinitely with annual contributions, with our daughters serving as advisors to the fund.”


“We chose the family fund idea,” he continues, “and it works. The remainder of our assets over what we give to our children will become part of the family fund and will then go to our heirs, the foundation, and other organizations without any tax consequences. We just think it makes eminent good sense. We have spent some time working on this. If you have charitable intent and you want to leave funds to charitable causes that you care about, you begin asking yourself, how to we do that?

“One thing becomes clear: If you don’t have a will, you clearly create problems for yourself that you don’t need. So you create a will. Then you begin to investigate the possibility of trusts to go along with the will. We both have revocable trusts. Our next step was to create the family fund. If the residual of our invested funds did not go to charity, they would presumably run over to our children and be subject to inheritance and income taxes.


The Jeffers feel good knowing that they have taken care of their daughters, as well as the organizations that have played a significant part in their life together. Today, Jeff and Leila, who recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, enjoy church activities, volunteering, travel, golf, and spending time with children and grandchildren. And, of course, they manage to find time to attend Minnesota Orchestra Concerts.

“We have a strong interest in utilizing the assets we have accumulated for the benefit of important organizations in our community, and through them, benefiting the people and community of which we have been a part.” – Truman and Leila Jeffers, Minnesota Orchestra Laureates

Deborah Brown
Director of Planned and Major Gifts
The Minnesota Orchestra

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George and Shirley Torrey

Posted By MPGC, Tuesday, November 18, 2014

George was born in Eldridge, N.D. and grew up in Alexandria, MN. Shirley was born in Tracy, MN and also grew up in Alexandria. They met in 1957 and were married in Minneapolis in 1961. Shirley graduated from the Northwestern Hospital School of Nursing. George graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

George and Shirley have lived in St. Cloud since 1971. It was important to them to have a thriving community in which to live and raise their children.

George was first introduced to the Central Minnesota Community Foundation in January 1993 when, as president of G.R Herberger’s Inc., he signed an agreement establishing the G.R. Herberger’s Foundation Fund.

George was very successful in his business career and retired as President and COO of G.R Herberger’s Inc. in 1994. George has served on the Board of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation and as Chairman of the Board.

In 1996, they decided to establish an endowed scholarship fund in honor of Shirley’s career as a nurse. The fund provides a scholarship for a career in nursing. Each year, a student pursuing a degree in nursing will benefit from their generosity.

George and Shirley have been extremely active in the community over the years. They decided to plan how their giving to the community could continue even after they are gone.

George and Shirley have made provisions in their Will to establish an endowed Torrey Family Fund at the CMCF which will continue to support charities that were important to them during their lifetime. The important role they played in the community will be remembered and their giving will impact future generations.

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Advancing Bequest into a Charitable Remainder Trust

Posted By Jeryn A Konezny , Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Untitled Document

detroit lakes high schoolThe idea of a scholarship fund first came to Bob Paulson more than 60 years ago, when he was graduating Detroit Lakes High School. Although he himself enjoyed all the advantages of living in a city, in his words, “Not a single rural kid from our school could afford to go to college.”

Inspired by his mother’s commitment to the community, and education, Bob put himself through college and devoted his life to teaching in rural high schools. He and his wife, June, also spent time renovating houses and running a small antique shop.

After retiring, Bob and June began spending winters in Arizona, where they collected antiques to bring back to their shop and started a new business. At a time when Arizona banks refused to finance houses for out-of-towners, the Paulsons offered mortgage financing to snowbirds like themselves. Both these enterprises brought the Paulsons to a point of financial security where they began thinking about making their long-time dream of a scholarship fund a reality.

 In 1994, they created the Robert and June Paulson Scholarship Fund, which will receive $1 million under Bob’s will. “I never thought to do the scholarship anywhere else but The Minneapolis Foundation,” he says. Even in Detroit Lakes, they had heard about the Foundation’s work.

Recently, the Paulsons decided to advance their bequest and create the Robert and June Paulson Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust. The $1 million earmarked for the scholarship fund was transferred to the trust, for which the Foundation is trustee. Bob will receive a fixed annual income from the trust during his life. Upon his death, the trust will terminate and the assets will pass to the Robert and June Paulson Scholarship Fund. This future charitable gift not only provides the Paulsons with lifetime income, it also entitles them to an income tax charitable deduction in the year the trust is created. Bob and June have the best of both worlds: they continue to receive income from assets they had already benefit from a charitable deduction on their income tax return.

In Bob’s view, the annuity trust made “great financial sense given the Foundation’s longevity in the community and solid investment expertise.” As a result, years from now, rural young people from Detroit Lakes High School will have Bob’s longstanding dream to thank for their opportunity to go to college.

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Sharing a Legacy: A Legacy for Education

Posted By MPGC, Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Leave a Legacy MN - Share Your Story

“I like to plan ahead, it makes life more enjoyable to be practical.”

“St. Ben’s is my place, she said. “It’s a very important part of my life. The Sisters reinforced the values I learned from my parents.” One of the values, Barbara learned from her father was good financial management. “He taught me about investing,” she remembered. When Barbara’s husband died while the couple’s five children were still young, Barbara made sure her family’s money was spent wisely. “I had to become of aware of good money management,” she said.

As she was sending her children to college – including daughters Cate and Claire to the College of Saint Benedict – Barbara was working at the University of Minnesota, Morris as the reference librarian. While there, she read some literature about charitable gift annuities and decided to help her alma mater. “It seemed like a good way to benefit CSB,” she said.

With a charitable gift annuity, a donor makes a gift to the College; in return the College guarantees a fixed income to the donor for life. The income is based on the donor’s age at the time the gift is made, and part of the yearly income from the gift is tax-free

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Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Posted By Susan Hommes, Planned Giving Officer , Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Leave a Legacy MN - Share Your Story

Catholic Charities will receive an undesignated bequest gift of approximately $500,000 in 2001 from the estate of Hugh R. Marron, a man whose average gift over the past 15 years was $50.00 – and whose legacy gift was unknown to us until we received notification from the trust officer that we would be the 75% remainder beneficiary. His gift will be a lasting testament to his hard work and his desire to help others – we only wish we would have been able to share our gratitude with him during his life.

Hugh R. Marron was born on June 24, 1925 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of five children. His older brother, Gerald, is the only surviving sibling, and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. I called Gerald to thank him for his brother’s gift and to ask him about his life. He shared the following information with me.

Gerald was 11 years older than his brother. There were four boys and one girl in the family. Currently, in addition to Gerald, two of Hugh’s sister-in-laws survive with him, in addition to 9 nieces and nephews.

Hugh served in the Navy in WWII, and is buried at Arlington Cemetery. He reached Lieutenant JG level in the Navy during his years of service. Prior to his service in the war, but during the war years, Hugh attended Northwestern University in Chicago. He was trained as an electrical engineer. He spent time in Pittsburg, Chicago, and finally Minneapolis – moving first to the Midwest for school, and then for his job. He worked for a variety of companies during his life, including General Electric, and later in life he worked in sales selling parking lot lighting.

He was never married, and his brother says that he was very frugal. He saved his money and invested it well. He didn’t spend much of his money, even though his brother encouraged him to do so, especially towards the end of this life. He used to visit his brother in Virginia at least once per year – he drove out to see him – he always had a nice car. He also spent several winters in Tucson, Arizona with another brother. Again, he drove there to visit.

He attended Good Shepherd parish in Golden Valley. Gerald says that may of his friends has moved South after they retired, so he didn’t have many close friends in the area. I asked what his hobbies were, and right away Gerald answered: golf. He loved to golf. And, he loved to go out for nice dinners.

His brother was pleased that we called, and was very glad to know that his brother’s gift would be used to help so many people in the community that Hugh had chosen for his home, for many years to come. He was thinking that someone would call to talk about his generosity, and was glad we did. So am I.

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Spotlight on Annette K. Levine

Posted By Annette K. Levine, Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Untitled Document

“On the go,” “upbeat,” “energetic,” “committed and caring” with a sense of humor– all of these phrases aptly describe Annette K. Levine

Annette is one of those people whose verve and joy literally “light up a room” when she walks into it. And fortunately for our community, she’s channeled that joy and enthusiasm into numerous social, educational, political and community activities over the years. From bringing the first Montessori school to the Twin Cities, to spearheading the drive to create camps for handicapped children, to being the first woman on the state Barber’s Board. Annette has been an idea person and an innovator. And those talents were also invaluable when she and her late husband build and operated Fridley Convalescent for ten years. As Activities Director, Annette was constantly seeking out and offering new activities for the residents.

Annette’s zest for learning and natural curiosity has led her to explore many cultures and lands, but she found Pompeii the most exciting. “Those people were amazing – they even had bumps built into the roads to slow down their carriages!” But with all her travelling, Annette has found that “people are people are people.” “If I smile, they smile –so much of life is attitude.”

It’s Annette’s love of learning that draws her regularly to Channel 2. She’s an avid viewer of biographies and travel programs – and has recently included Channel 2 in her will. When asked what made her decide to leave a bequest to Channel 2, she replied: “I was watching an absolutely delightful program and thought these people have to be funded so they can carry on these programs.” Annette also recalls that when her father was dying of cancer fifty years ago, television was relatively new. But she’ll never forget the words of her father after he watched a concert on the television they’d brought to his hospital room: “You have no idea how helpful this is to me.”

When asked what activities and accomplishments have brought her the greatest satisfaction, she states without hesitation: “that I was able to help.” And without a doubt, she’s certainly done that – in spades!

The insider, issue #1, February 1999

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