undergraduate years at Penn, Ferdinand G. Weisbrod, M.D., G.M.,
remembers reading about the life of the industrialist/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. He never forgot Carnegie’s
personal philosophy about wealth: Give money to your
children but “don’t overdo it — too much money can
make them soft and nonproductive.” Instead, Carnegie
advised, leave most of your wealth to philanthropy.
“I decided then that if ever I achieved some sort of
wealth that I would present it to the University — the
place that was so important to me in finding my place in
the world,” says Dr. Weisbrod.
During the next six decades, Dr. Weisbrod married,
had three children, and embarked on careers in medicine
and real estate. A combination of timing and talent
led to his switch to real estate. In the early
1970s, problems with the family real estate holdings led
Weisbrod to try his hand at the field. He figured he could
do a better job of managing the properties than the professionals.
He was right. What began as a side job eventually
became an all-consuming second career. Taking
advantage of a booming real estate market, he eventually
acquired 35 properties. Then, he created
two charitable remainder unitrusts that ultimately will fund a
professorship in the School of Medicine’s Division of
Gastroenterology, his original field of interest.
“There are so many exciting things happening in
medicine today,” he says. “The pace of discovery is
accelerating all the time.”
Dr. Weisbrod’s generous gift also serves him well. In addition to obtaining a sizable current income tax deduction, he will receive a lifetime income stream.
In his philanthropy, Dr. Weisbrod also hopes to impart
the lesson he learned from Carnegie. “I think it’s important
to steer all Penn graduates toward a policy of giving
gifts to the University, rather than to Uncle Sam — and
also to avoid giving too much to your children,” he says.
“Money can create more problems than it solves. But
the gifts to the University are going to solve problems.”
Dr. Weisbrod’s charitable remainder unitrusts are among the many creative gift opportunities that can benefit both the School of Medicine and its alumni.