Giving and Receiving

Verona Lynam and Susan Tolle, MD

Verona Lynam and Susan Tolle, MD

Verona Lynam is a woman of many passions, a woman determined to make the world a better place. Through her lauded career at the American Red Cross where she had management responsibilities for 25 chapters to her work with Easter Seals, Verona has remained steadfast to her vision of helping others, alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life for all. It is because of these values and deep positive personal experience with OHSU that she was attracted to the work of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care and the Program in Compassionate Communication.

The Program in Compassionate Communication has once again put OHSU in the national spotlight by prioritizing the essential role of skillful, compassionate communication in the healing relationship. Many medical schools throughout the country now include communications training in their curricula, but OHSU is the first both to develop standards for testing these communication skills and to require that these standards be met before students graduate.

Verona has volunteered for the Center for Ethics as a member of the Advisory Council and a facilitator of the annual Ethics luncheon. But she decided to do even more to assure the future of the Program in Compassionate Communication. In the past Verona supported the causes she loved—women’s education and advancement; health care; and the Boy Scouts (providing a Scout camp experience for an entire troop annually to honor her late husband’s wishes)—by establishing a number of charitable gift annuities at organizations promoting these missions. Pleased with the results of these gifts, Verona wondered if it would be possible to support the Center for Ethics in Health Care in a similar fashion through the OHSU Foundation.

Verona contacted OHSUF director of gift planning Ann Barden for assistance. After completing some very simple paperwork, Verona was the happy recipient of an annuity paying well over 8.0% for the rest of her life, a good portion of it as tax-free income. She also received an attractive charitable tax deduction. And she took great satisfaction in knowing that when she no longer needs the payments, the residuum of the annuity will go to the Center for Ethics in Health Care, providing support for the Program in Compassionate Communication far into the future.

“To start with, the charitable gift annuity is a win/win for the donor and the charity,” stated Verona. “Many of us, particularly women in our later years, have concerns about outliving our assets, about recession and investment losses and about the cost of living outpacing our annual income. And, therefore, we are reluctant to make major gifts to the organizations we have supported. With a charitable gift annuity you can continue to support both yourself and your cause.”

“Just as the Program in Compassionate Communication will influence the future of health care for generations to come, Verona’s charitable gift annuity will mature over time to guarantee the future of this vital program. We are deeply grateful for this generous gift, and applaud Verona’s wisdom in choosing a method of giving that allows her a steady income stream during her lifetime,” said Susan Tolle, MD, Cornelia Hayes Stevens Chair and Director of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care.

For more information about charitable gift annuities, please call or email Ann Barden, 503-412-6355,; Pete Sommerfeld, 503-220-8328,; Tim Coffey, 503-552-0750,; or Liz Arrington, 503-552-0716,

To learn more about the Center for Ethics in Health Care, please visit or call 503-494-4466.