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When Deciding on Giving, Alison and Robert Fanelli said the Hospital's Adoption of Technology, Care Philosophy, and Community Wellness Programs Made the Decision Easy. They Set Up a Charitable Gift Annuity.

Donor Stories - FanelliPublished: The Chester County Hospital Foundation Donor Report FY2014

Alison and Robert Fanelli's relationship with Chester County Hospital goes back to 1959 when they were students at then West Chester State Teachers College. While a junior, Bob had to rush a classmate to the Chester County Hospital emergency room when the fellow thought he was having a heart attack. "I hung around with him for a while and realized how skilled and helpful the medical staff was," says Bob.

He and Alison continued to have a positive experience with Chester County Hospital. In fact, as a salesman for Johnson & Johnson before his retirement, Bob got to know another side of the Hospital -- the business end. Through periodic interactions with the Hospital president and others, "I was impressed."

As the Fanellis felt capable of providing greater philanthropic support, besides donating annually to Chester County Hospital, they established a charitable gift annuity with the Hospital. This planned giving strategy involves a donor transferring cash or property to Chester County Hospital in exchange for an immediate income tax deduction and an income stream for life. When the donor dies, the charity retains what remains of the original gift.

"A charitable gift annuity is a win-win," says Bob. "We benefit and the hospital benefits. In fact when I was first introduced to this vehicle as a method of giving, I was surprised at the tax benefits. We gave appreciated stock to The Chester County Hospital Foundation and not only did we get an immediate tax deduction, but we avoided a significant portion of the capital gains tax with the balance deferred. In addition, a substantial portion of the annuity is tax-exempt income."

The Fanellis, who have volunteered at Chester County Day and at the Hospital's annual cancer bike ride, call the Hospital "a community gem." Alison, a member of the Women's Auxiliary of the Hospital, had their second child at the Hospital, and two years ago, underwent treatment for breast cancer there. "When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was introduced to a nurse navigator who took care of everything for me, my appointments, explaining my care. It made a traumatic situation so much easier." Not long ago, Bob had prostate surgery at Chester County Hospital.

While both laughingly say they are now trying to avoid any association with the Hospital as patients, they noticed how often they met staff who have worked there for years. "The longevity of nurses, doctors, and support staff says a lot about the institution," Bob believes.

"The Hospital has always been a community-minded organization," says Alison. "When we were in the process of deciding where we want to give, we realized how lucky we are to have such a great facility in our area, one that looks after not only the sick but toward wellness through many programs. The partnership is a good move, as is the new Lasko Tower, making it state-of-the-art, modern and convenient. So the decision to include Chester County Hospital in our giving was easy."

By Gail Guterl

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