Endow Maryland: A Donor's Perspective
April 09, 2015
“For many years, I was on the Johns Hopkins Admissions Committee for the medical school,” says Dr. Georgia B. Vogelsang. “About once a year, you would see a kid who had come through incredible odds—didn’t know their dad, mom was in jail, came up through foster care or had been passed from one relative to another—but they had made it, and it just takes your breath away. They had broken the cycle because something had happened that gave them a chance.” Dr. Georgia Vogelsang's gift to BCF's Civic Leadership Endowment qualifies for a state Endow Maryland tax credit--an arrangement she calls "brilliant."
That is how she sees the Endow Maryland program, which since January 2015 magnifies gifts to permanent charitable funds at qualified community foundations in the state. Donors who give between $500 and $2,500 may qualify for a 25 percent state tax credit on their 2015 tax return—or could turn a $1,000 gift into a donation that costs them only $430.
Dr. Vogelsang has directed her gift to the Civic Leadership Endowment at the Baltimore Community Foundation and says she hopes Endow Maryland “is a raging success.” Her interest was piqued, she says, when she listened to a BCF “20-Minute Update” call and thought, “This is brilliant.”
She is a firm believer in the benefits of good government. “Partnering with government to achieve goals makes sense to me,” she says. “BCF partners with City Schools to push education forward, and it seemed a good match with my interests.”
Vogelsang inherited a rich family legacy of civic engagement from her grandfather. “He was a county commissioner in rural North Carolina for about 40 years,” she recalls. “He was a rare Roosevelt Democrat who believed in equality in a profoundly racist, reactionary time and place. He made huge progress because he stood up for what he believed—and I saw what good government could do for the people.”
Her passion for education and philanthropy came directly from her grandmother, whose parents refused her wish to attend college. “She worked her way through,” Vogelsang says, “scrubbing floors and cleaning the outhouse to pay her tuition. She became a teacher and saw kids who were smart but dirt poor and had no chance to go to college during the Depression. So even though she and my grandfather were not wealthy, she sent checks anonymously to pay for their tuition.”
Vogelsang looks at Baltimore City children who are living in difficult circumstances and wants them to have that chance to make it past the odds. “If you expose them to another version of the world, they light up and take off,” she says. “Figuring out how to do that is what the Civic Leadership Fund is about.”
She first learned about BCF from her financial advisor after expressing frustration that her philanthropic efforts had no direction. “He said, ‘Have I got an organization for you!’ and explained how BCF works,” she remembers. “I said, ‘It sounds perfect.’”
So in 2006, she opened a BCF donor-advised fund. Now “quasi-retired” as a doctor specializing in stem cell research, she helps edit the hematology medical journal, Blood, and directs the income to her fund, as well as royalties from her textbook on graft vs. host disease.
“You don’t make a lot of money doing what I do,” she says, “but I think it’s important to give back—and BCF provides good mechanisms by which you can give back. They maximize what you give; your money goes farther. It seems like a win-win for everyone.”
Find out more about Endow Maryland tax credits. Available tax credits are limited, so we encourage anyone who is interested to contact BCF promptly.Email Jennifer Walen or call 410-332-4171.