Inspired by Einstein: Giving Through Retirement Assets

Mara Braverman

Mara Braverman

Albert Einstein was the spark that ignited Mara Braverman's passion for the work of the International Rescue Committee. In the early 1990s, Mara learned about the IRC's founding by Einstein in 1933 to help refugees displaced by Hitler. She had never heard of the IRC before, but was intrigued by its rich history and prestigious founder. She has been a dedicated donor ever since.

The plight of refugees has always resonated with Mara because, under slightly different circumstances, her family could have been among the millions uprooted in Europe. "All of my grandparents left Eastern Europe for the United States before the worst horrors of the 20th century. Their courage and perseverance gave their descendants tremendous advantages."

After giving to the IRC at a modest level for many years, Mara reached a transition period in her life that allowed her to consider new ways to further her philanthropic goals. Her children had grown into successful, independent adults, and she was comfortable with her pension. At the time, her estate was divided among her family, but she came to the conclusion that a portion of her estate could do more good if left to a charitable cause that she deeply valued.

Upon careful consideration, she decided to make a gift to the IRC through her retirement account, while retaining the assets in her will for her children. One reason behind her decision was that retirement assets are often subject to burdensome income and estate taxes and can be a large administrative inconvenience. On the contrary, every dollar left to charity is tax-free. "It felt good that the IRC and the vulnerable families they serve would benefit from the IRAs I worked hard to build."

Mara says her commitment to help future generations of refugees is not hers alone. "The money I have designated for the IRC was built up over the many years of my professional life. But in a sense, it is also a gift from my entire family, including my children who support my decision and the family members who taught me the values of compassion and social justice. It truly is a legacy gift."