Personal Giving Stories

irwin.jpgA College of Medicine alumnus and his wife recently offered a practical yet innovative way to leave a meaningful legacy to the college and a favorite professor, while still reaping the benefits of a charitable gift—including a sizable income-tax deduction.

George S. (Steve) Irwin, M.D., Res ’82, and his wife, Kathy, of Bloomington, Ill., were honored in the fall at the Foundation’s annual meeting in Urbana for their generous gift to the UIC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to complete the Riad Barmada Professorship and to help renovate and rejuvenate the Department’s facilities. Steve Irwin is an orthopaedic surgeon who heads McLean County Orthopedics Ltd. in Bloomington, and Kathy is a registered nurse there.

“We were thinking of ways to create a gift to the University,” says Steve Irwin, “while at the same time we wanted to finish the Barmada Professorship, since he was such an important influence on me and my medical career. We were also interested in helping the College overall and thought this was the best, most sensible way to do both.”

“Strategically, finishing the funding for the Barmada Professorship is important to the department,” says Edward Abraham, M.D., professor and head of orthopaedic surgery. “We plan to use the professorship title to recruit a high-impact faculty member to the department. In addition, the Irwins’ generous gift will help remodel the interior of our four-story administration building. The recently completed renovation plans call for a state-of-the-art facility that will pay particular attention to the needs of our residents. We are most grateful for this much-needed gift.

“Kathy and Steve Irwin’s gift to the Department of Orthopaedics represents the most generous act by any of our orthopaedic alumni or friends,” adds Abraham. “It is hoped that this gift will encourage others to support our Department so it can achieve some of its most vital programs.”

The Irwins’ generosity takes two forms, the first involving a gift of their vacation home in the Cayman Islands. “As we discussed their options, Steve and Kathy were pleased to learn that they could lock in an income-tax deduction in 2003—when it was most needed—yet continue to use their home for as long as they wish,” says Jeff Roley, a planned giving advisor at the U of I Foundation who guided the couple through the technical aspects of their unique gift.

In the end they decided to relinquish their property ownership rights after 2005. This relatively short period of continued occupancy resulted in a tax deduction that was very near the full value of the property, which was over $1 million. The U of I Foundation will then sell the property, and the proceeds will help the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery complete the Riad Barmada Professorship and renovate and rejuvenate its facilities.

The second part of the Irwins’ gift plan is a bequest that will provide significant, unrestricted support that will dramatically impact the entire College of Medicine.

Steve Irwin received his M.D. degree from UIC in 1977. He completed an internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Illinois Hospital. In addition to his work at McLean County Orthopedics in Bloomington, he is president of the Center of Outpatient Medicine, a free-standing multispecialty surgical center in Bloomington.

Kathy Irwin studied anthropology at UIC and received a degree in nursing from Ravenswood School of Nursing in Chicago. She is a registered nurse and the practice manager for McLean County Orthopedics.

The U of I Foundation gift planning staff is pleased to answer your questions and offer assistance at any time. Please contact the Foundation to learn more.



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