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Survivor Makes Meaningful Gifts to Museum

Joann Greenbaum

Joann Greenbaum, who fled the Nazi occupation of Germany, has included gifts to Holocaust Museum Houston in her estate plan as a way to give back. You may have seen her greeting visitors as a volunteer at the front desk of the museum.

If you ever visit Holocaust Museum Houston on a Monday morning, Joann Greenbaum is one of the first friendly faces you'll see, greeting you from her perch at the front desk. A native of Manheim, Germany, she has been working at the museum for over four years, "after someone at a Hadassah meeting learned I was from Germany and had escaped the Nazi occupation. They asked me if I'd consider volunteering, and I've been working here weekly, ever since."

"I was asked to attend a survivor's meeting even though I was not in a camp," Joann recalls. "I am considered a survivor, because I came here in 1938 with my parents and sisters. I was only two, and we sailed on the Queen Mary and settled in New York, where my father was a grocer. After a time, we moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where I earned my B.S. and my teaching certificate and taught third through fifth grade students for over 20 years. In my spare time, I taught English to refugees."

Joann's mother was very entrepreneurial and rented out part of their duplex. This gave Joanne an early insight into real estate and working on her own. She interviewed for a teaching post in Houston and moved here in 1961, where she again taught at the elementary school level. She took real estate classes in the summer and before long became a broker, selling houses and rental properties for Century 21 and eventually on her own. She worked in the field for almost 30 years, and "was fairly successful, if I do say so myself."

In her free time, she taught Sunday school at Congregation Emanu El, was an active member of Congregation Beth Yeshurun and a local leader with Hadassah, traveling to conventions around the country and Israel.

"I have been to Israel many times, and I go to family events around the country for Bar Mitzvahs and weddings," adds Joann. "Our family lives throughout the world, and now that I'm retired, it gives me many opportunities to travel, even back to Germany."

In her early 20s, Joann took her first trip back to Manheim, where she saw her old home and spent several weeks enjoying her native country. Years later, she and one of her sisters traveled to Germany at the invitation of the German government, which hosted a group of survivors from across the U.S.

"We were treated like royalty, and I was able to see the Jewish cemetery where my grandmother is buried," she recalls. "I'm grateful my family escaped Germany when we did, so we didn't have to witness the Holocaust. It was a miracle."

In response to her unique life, Joann, who has already established a gift annuity at HMH, decided to include a provision in her estate plan to give her home to the Museum since her family "already has plenty of possessions."

"I am an active supporter of Hadassah and St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, but this is the gift that is most meaningful to me," she claims.

Ultimately, Joann's name will be prominently displayed outside the HMH store, right near the spot she sits every Monday morning.

"I am very fortunate to be able to do this, and it feels very good. It means everything to give back," she says.

Make a Gift to Support What Matters Most
Like Joann, you can make a gift to support our work at HMH for years to come. Contact Stephanie Dugan, CAP® or or 713-527-1629 to learn more.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Holocaust Museum Houston 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 give to Holocaust Museum Houston, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004, or its successor thereto, ______________* [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 HMH 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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 HMH as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 HMH 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 HMH where you agree to make a gift to HMH 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.

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