The Perfect Solution

Sun Health Foundation donor gives back through IRA distributions

By Susie Steckner

Chuck Cassada enjoyed a long and successful career in the field of finance. So when he retired, it only made sense for him to give back using his extensive experience and know-how.

He first served as a community volunteer focused on financial issues, and then decided to support Sun Health Foundation using distributions from his Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

The plan allowed Chuck to make generous donations to organizations in the Sun Cities area and, as important, kept his adjusted gross income down to avoid paying more taxes.

“It worked perfectly,” says Chuck.

Chuck has been supporting the Foundation using this financial tool for years. Today, it is easy for him to see the benefits of his giving throughout the community, from the groundbreaking work at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute targeting a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, to the unique education programs at The Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing.

Chuck has also seen the benefits firsthand as a patient at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center.

“The care was very professional. The doctors and the nurses are very competent,” he says. “I was impressed.” 

At age 84, Chuck has called Sun City West his home for nearly 20 years. But before trading in Michigan’s cold for Arizona’s sunshine, Chuck and his late wife Mary enjoyed a full life together.

An Army veteran, Chuck used the G.I. bill to attend college and study business. That led to a career as a certified public accountant, controller and ultimately a finance executive. Along the way, he and Mary raised three children.

Early retirement brought the couple West, and they settled into a new desert life. For years, Chuck didn’t have much time for volunteering in the community. His first commitment was taking care of Mary, who had multiple sclerosis.

“It was a matter of love,” says Chuck about caring for his wife during the 54 years of their married life.

The couple’s children encouraged him to get help with the caregiving, freeing him up for volunteering. Chuck spent about five years serving on the Sun City West Foundation board, helping make financial and operational decisions.

Then he took giving back a step further.

“After I retired from the board, I decided the best I could do was to do something financially,” he says.

Through a financial adviser, Chuck set up a plan to transfer annual required minimum distributions from his IRA to eligible charities, including Sun Health Foundation. Because Chuck does not need the distributions for income at this time, he said it is an easy way for him to make charitable contributions.

“Chuck is not alone,” says Pamela Gralton Kohnen, the Foundation’s senior development director. “Other residents in the community appreciate the simplicity of charitable giving through IRA distributions.”

Pamela notes that Chuck has given back in so many ways, from volunteering to attending fundraising galas to making generous monetary donations.

For Chuck, supporting Sun Health Foundation is an obvious choice given its wide range of programs and services in the community.

“I’m impressed with the work they do,” he says.

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