Personalized medicine has transformed health care.  Physicians can now tailor an individual management plan of screening, drug therapy, or immunotherapy based on the genetic roadmap our DNA provides.  No longer is there a “one-size-fits-all” approach to medicine.

Steven L. Meyers, Ph.D., in his book “Personalized Philanthropy”, makes the case that just as medicine has developed personalized approaches to treatment, philanthropy should offer personalized solutions to each individual based on their unique situation and charitable goals.

Meyers describes the essential task of philanthropy as the “meshing of compelling interests with compelling needs.”  Personalized philanthropy, therefore, introduces pathways that enable donors to achieve their goals while addressing the core needs of the charity receiving the gift. 

Complete Your Story through Personalized Philanthropy

Personalized philanthropy can help complete your life story.  A gift given in the right way at the right time and to the right place will allow you to make a meaningful impact with the wealth you have. 

One only has to look at a person’s giving history to see an outline of their story and relationship to Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern. 

A consistent giving history, regardless of the size of the gift, speaks of an affiliation with our organizations and confidence in our ability to fulfill our mission. 

A larger gift may reflect an increase in financial resources or a stronger connection brought about by being impacted by our organization—one can imagine the person or their family touched by a particular disease, receiving compassionate care from our physicians and nurses and responding with a larger than normal gift. 

Finally, to see notification of a planned gift indicates that we have been elevated to the status of family through such a personal gift.

How Can You Direct Your Giving

People are sometimes uncertain how best to direct their gifts to make the most impact.  In my conversations with donors, we discuss various ways in which their interests and our core needs coincide.  I summarize these opportunities by describing how they can support the people who provide the services we offer, e.g. our physicians, nurses, and researchers; the programs we provide; or the people we serve, e.g. medical students, graduate students, residents, and patients. 

The Building Blocks of Personalized Philanthropy

Meyers also discusses in “Personalized Philanthropy” building blocks to help you construct your personalized gift.  Such building blocks may consist of a combination of methods:  family foundation, donor-advised fund, annual support, endowment, or a planned gift such as a bequest or a life-income gift.    

Drs. Robert and Sue Vaughan both had careers in academic medicine with Robert receiving his medical degree and residency training at UT Southwestern.  Their philanthropic passion is developing future leaders in medicine, particularly women and minorities.  Their gift to UT Southwestern focuses on developing leadership skills among residents.  The gift was a creative one that works in the short and long-term and includes an annual gift providing immediate support for resident leadership training, an endowment that generates additional income each year, and a planned gift that will one day significantly increase the size of the endowment.

Give Us a Call to Start the Charitable Planning Conversation

If you would like to know more about how you can personalize your philanthropy and be a part of the family of donors who have remembered Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern in their estate plans, please give us a call.  We would be happy to talk by phone, exchange email or set up a time to have a video chat during this pandemic

This information is not intended as tax, legal or financial advice.  Consult your financial advisor for information specific to your situation.

About the Author

Randal Daugherty headshotSince 2000, Randy has served as Director of Planned Giving for Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center.  He works with donors to suggest bequest language to share with attorneys, establish charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts, utilize beneficiary designations for retirement plan accounts and explore gifts of other non-cash assets like real estate and life insurance.  After receiving a Masters of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University, Randy began a career in development, working in higher education, the arts and in academic medicine.  He received the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy designation (CAP) through the American College of Financial Services.

To contact Randy Daugherty, please call (214) 648-3069 or email him at