Francis Rasmus – The Fun of Giving
Francis Rasmus, 69, continues to work "very part-time" in the insurance industry, a career he began more than 45 years ago. Although he never made more than $45,000 a year in salary, he saved and invested his money very wisely. As a result, Mr. Rasmus now devotes most of his time to his passions – visiting museums, attending concerts and plays and supporting the causes dear to his heart.
"Making a difference while you are alive is more rewarding than waiting until you are gone," he explains. "I'm having the time of my life giving my money away."
Mr. Rasmus favors charitable gift annuities (CGAs) because "you can put your money to work now. You get a tax deduction, and some of the money is tax free." In addition, he says, CGAs provide "you or someone you care about with a regular income for life, and you help a charity . . . It's a fun thing to do."
In fact, Mr. Rasmus likes CGAs so much he has more than 100 of them with a wide variety of charities, including one he established with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The many charities he supports include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Orchestra, in his hometown, as well as The Smithsonian, The National Gallery of Art, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Father Flanagan's Boys' Home, the National Parks Conservation Association, and The Archdiocese of Baltimore, to name a few.
While his biggest interests are the arts and the environment, he gives to St. Jude because, "as a result of your work, kids are alive today who wouldn't have survived (catastrophic illnesses) just a few years ago. As important as preserving art is, it isn't the same as saving a child's life."
Helping others is something Mr. Rasmus learned to do as a young child. "I can remember my grandmother telling me, 'It's time to send money to Father Flanagan again.' If people involve their children in giving when they are very young, it teaches values they will have the rest of their lives."
Although he has no children of his own, Mr. Rasmus believes he can set an example for others to follow. The story of what he was able to achieve with a middle-income salary, he says "is not about me, but about what I can do for others. I'm only the messenger." And the message, he says, is that you don't have to make a big salary to make a big difference.
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