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Inspired by her daughter, Kneen gift makes a difference at Dana-Farber and benefits family

Emily Kneen

Emily Kneen with daughter,
Julie Kneen Brown

Establishing a Charitable Lead Trust is a powerful way to make a planned gift to Dana-Farber now while also providing financial support to your family into the future. A Charitable Lead Trust (CLT) can be used to transfer assets such as cash or stocks to loved ones at a significantly reduced gift and estate tax liability. For a specified term, the trust makes annual payments to Dana-Farber, at the end of which the assets are passed on to loved ones. This type of gift requires foresight and commitment, and no one embodied these characteristics more than the late Emily Kneen.

Kneen was a savvy businesswoman and a strong-willed, single mother from Galva, Ill., who worked six days a week at the small department store she owned until she was 95 years old. Julie Kneen Brown, Emily's only daughter, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her early 40s, and being her mother's daughter, she fought and beat it. Unfortunately, that was not the last time she would face cancer. A few years later, Brown was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated at Dana-Farber, and though she battled every day, this time she was unable to overcome the disease. Brown used the little strength she had left at the end of her life to make her "rounds" and say goodbye and thank you to the staff she had come to know at Dana-Farber.

"My mother was so appreciative of the special work of the Dana-Farber team," explained Brown's daughter, Samantha. "The wonderful staff and the care they provided meant so much to her."

While Kneen was devastated by the loss of her daughter, she was also determined to honor her memory and make something positive out of her incredible fight against cancer. Kneen set the wheels in motion to make a lifetime commitment to Dana-Farber by contributing to the Julie K. Brown Memorial Fund, which Brown's husband established to support breast cancer research. Kneen vowed to make a gift to the fund at Dana-Farber every year to honor her daughter's life and the great work of the physicians and staff who took care of her.

As time went on, Kneen decided she wanted to continue supporting Dana-Farber after her death, but she also wanted to ensure she provided support for her family, so she met with her trusted lawyer, R. Lee Allen of Springfield, Ill. to discuss and plan her estate.

"Emily knew any bequest of funds made to Dana-Farber would be assets that would not pass to her family, and despite the estate tax benefit of such an outright charitable gift, she wanted to hear about other planned giving options that might better balance her goals of supporting both Dana-Farber and her grandchildren," said Allen. "I presented the concept of a testamentary Charitable Lead Trust to her, which would provide an annual payment to Dana-Farber to be continued well after Emily's passing, while allowing an eventual transfer of assets to the grandchildren following the term of the trust."

After her discussion with Allen, Kneen decided that a Charitable Lead Trust was the right giving vehicle for her. It would allow her to accomplish her philanthropic goals as well as her personal goals.

"A Charitable Lead Trust is a great estate planning tool," explained Kneen's granddaughters, Samantha and Eliana. "It allows someone the opportunity to support Dana-Farber and provide for their family at the same time."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

Bequest Language


"I bequeath to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts [ _____ dollars or _____ percent of my total or residual estate."]

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund where you agree to make a gift to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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