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A Gift With Heart for Medicine at Stanford

Len and Julie Herberth

Len and Julie Herberth

Len and Julie Herberth's relationship with Stanford began in 1995 when their son, Benjamin, graduated from high school in Pleasanton. His dream of playing football for a premier program led him to the University of Notre Dame, where he planned to join the team as a "walk-on."

A month before departing for Indiana, Julie randomly—but intuitively—scheduled a complete physical exam for Ben. It was discovered that Ben had cardiomyopathy, a heart condition characterized by thickening of the heart muscle, reduced cardiac output, and increased risk of cardiac death. There would be no football, no physical activity whatsoever. Attending Notre Dame was out of the question.

They were referred to a Stanford cardiologist, who took great care of Ben. In addition, and fortunately for Ben, he was also admitted to Stanford as an undergraduate.

Remarkably, Ben's heart condition resolved late in his freshman year at Stanford, and he was cleared to participate in sports. He played both football and baseball for the Cardinal and graduated in 1999 with a degree in bio-mechanical engineering.

Five years later, it was Len who required a Stanford medical specialist, and he found a renowned cancer researcher thanks to Ben's familiarity with the university.

"Our faith in this Stanford doctor resulted in my complete recovery. It was another rewarding connection with Stanford," says Len.

When Len, a retired CPA, and Julie, who ran an executive recruiting agency, began planning for their retirement, the first thing they did was call Stanford.

"I was familiar with charitable remainder trusts," says Len. "We met with the Office of Planned Giving and Stanford Management Company to discuss the possibilities."

For many years, the couple had owned a vineyard in Livermore—20 acres of cabernet sauvignon—and now wanted to sell it.

"You have to be careful in transferring buildings or property, but Stanford provides excellent guidance in that area," says Len. "We were very impressed by the staff at the Office of Planned Giving. They gave us good information and we had a lot of time to think it over."

After further consideration and discussion, the couple decided to form a charitable remainder trust, supporting Stanford's exceptional progress in cancer research. Once the trust was formed, title to their real property was transferred to it. The property was then sold by the trust.

"We avoided huge capital gains taxes and we received a sizeable charitable income tax deduction as well. Stanford will receive all proceeds at our deaths. In the meantime, we receive periodic payments from the trust's investments. How can it get better than that?" asks Len.

In fact, it was such a good idea that Len and Julie formed a second trust, this time to fund undergraduate scholarships at Stanford.

"We wanted other kids, who didn't have Benjamin's financial opportunities, to be able to take advantage of Stanford," says Julie. "We like to support organizations that give back to the community by promoting diversity and inclusion. Stanford is one of those places."

You can make a gift to support medicine at Stanford just like the Herberths did. Contactthe Office of Planned Giving at 650.723.6560 or pgmed@stanford.edu to learn how.

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