Diabetic complications drained the life out of his father and grandfather. So Raja Shekhar Gangaraju's fight against the chronic disease is personal.
His weapons of choice: a lab coat; a high-tech, sterile workspace; test tubes; and other state-of-the-art tools guide his brilliant mind as a researcher trying to eradicate retinal diseases blinding diabetic patients.
"Advancements in the clinic must begin on the bench," he says.
Gangaraju's bench—a lab, startup costs and research staff at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center—came to fruition at the end of last year because of a collective, multi-million-dollar vote of confidence by philanthropic giants Mickey Coleman, Mack and Jonnie Day and Dorothy Gerwin. While their shared backing unlocked research doors for the ophthalmology program, Gerwin's generosity also gave way to physiology, cancer and Parkinson's disease groundwork, and the Days' legacy also bolsters the Tennessee Athletics golf program.
"Without their gifts, their foresight, Dr. Gangaraju and other gifted scientists would not be here," says Dr. Barrett G. Haik, who serves as Hamilton Professor and founding director of the Hamilton Eye Institute.
In life, they gave abundantly to the Health Science Center, and in death, their selfless giving provides, in perpetuity, a way to attract more faculty and researchers like Gangaraju, who seek to bring life to health miracles.
A worldwide epidemic, diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans— nearly 10 percent of the population. This chronic disease can plague anyone, but it particularly robs the health of those who are of Indian heritage, like Gangaraju, along with blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.
Already encouraged by preliminary research and top-tier, hard-to-come-by federal research funding, Gangaraju and a pediatric ophthalmologist at UCLA are developing stem cell therapies in hopes of eliminating blindness and unlocking a promising treatment for diabetic retinopathy associated with diabetes.
In partnership with a UT physiologist, Gangaraju is also unearthing clues to determine whether a multi-organ treatment can be designed to repair diabetic-ravaged organs.
"We could produce new treatments to present to the FDA for approval," says Gangaraju. "Even negative results could lead to new knowledge, better therapies."
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For information on planning a gift to support future students at UT, contact the Office of Planned Giving at (865) 974-4826 or email@example.com today.
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.
A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The University Of Tennessee a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.
an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan
"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to The University Of Tennessee [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."
able to be changed or cancelled
A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.
cannot be changed or cancelled
tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient
the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation
the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase
the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on
The person receiving the gift annuity payments.
the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid
a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will
the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will
A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to UT or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.
An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.
Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.
Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.
Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.
A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.
You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.
You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to UT as a lump sum.
You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to UT as a lump sum.
A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.
A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and UT where you agree to make a gift to UT and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.