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Leadership in Philanthropy: The Department Chair Who Left a Legacy

Dr. Gladys E. Wadsworth Physical Therapy Research Fund

In 1956, Gladys Wadsworth, PT, PhD (in glasses in the photo to the right), who was the first chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science (PTRS), saw a need. Even in those early years, she recognized the importance of continuing the acceleration of research to advance the body of knowledge of physical therapy.

So in 1992, when she moved from her home in Baltimore to a retirement community, Dr. Wadsworth decided to support this critical need in a big way. She wanted to establish an endowment, The Dr. Gladys E. Wadsworth Physical Therapy Research Fund, through a gift from her estate.

She recalled how much she appreciated the funding that she was awarded for her own research as a junior faculty member, which was made possible by a similar endowment established at the School of Medicine.

"That was an important factor in my work," said Dr. Wadsworth. "So I decided that my gifts will provide research grants to promising faculty who create and develop programs in the field of physical therapy."

But at the time, she was concerned for the health of two of her closest relatives. Specifically she wanted to find a way to ensure that her family members were provided for as long as possible during their lifetimes. How could she make this very significant gift to support future physical therapy research while also providing for her family?

For Dr. Wadsworth the answer came in the form of two gift annuity arrangements with our foundation. With part of her estate, she arranged for these annuities to provide lifetime distribution payments to her, and then to her relatives for the rest of their lives. By doing so, she assured financial support for her family without materially affecting her charitable plans for the department. Plus, she was able to claim an income tax deduction for a substantial amount of her gifts.

In addition, Dr. Wadsworth named the department as the last beneficiary in her will. By leaving the balance of her estate to the department, she would make certain that her endowment would continue to grow long after she was gone.

Today the principal of this endowment is over $568,000. This fund will produce critical income each year to seed promising new research that could eventually draw NIH grants or provide bridge funding for research-related expenses not covered by existing grants.

"Our research program is greatly bolstered by gifts like Dr. Wadsworth's," comments Mark W. Rogers, PT, PhD, FAPTA, vice chair for research and director of the PhD program in rehabilitation science. "They make it possible for us to pursue pioneering new avenues of discovery and maximize already meritorious projects with high potential to advance societal health."

Through her gifts, Dr. Wadsworth was not only able to provide lifetime income for herself and her family, she was able to nurture a more vibrant and robust research effort. Moreover, she will be remembered in a lasting and meaningful way through the enduring endowment created in her name.

For more information on how you can leave a legacy through your estate plans contact Karen McGuire at 410-706-8688 or kmcguire@som.umaryland.edu.

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