Gift in Support of Garden a Win-Win

Kitchells designate minimum required distribution to help establish special space on Mary Greeley Medical Center campus

About the Healing Garden

During April, Mary Greeley Medical Center broke ground on the Healing Garden to be located along Duff Avenue on the east side of the medical center. Funded entirely by private gifts, the area is designed to provide patients, families, and staff a peaceful area to relax and enjoy nature.

Several recognition opportunities remain. To learn more about making a gift in support of the Healing Garden, please email gilbertson@mgmc.com or call us at 515-239-2147.

Learn more about the Healing Garden

Michael and Mary Kitchell tending to their garden.There is little that brings Dr. Michael Kitchell more peace than working in his garden. Featuring hundreds of plantings and dozens of varieties over an area that measures more than 1,000 square feet in the backyard of his home, the garden provides a burst of color on the south side of Ada Hayden Heritage Park. It also provides a getaway for the neurologist, who has practiced for more than four decades at McFarland Clinic and Mary Greeley Medical Center.

His time tending to the garden is so meaningful, that when he and his wife, Mary, were presented with an opportunity to provide a significant gift in support of the new Healing Garden at Mary Greeley Medical Center, the couple jumped at the opportunity.

“It was actually [Dr.] Shane Hopkins who initially suggested the project to us,” Dr. Kitchell says. “Shane was one of the driving forces in getting the project going and he also has an interest in gardening. It seemed like a good match. Our only wish is that it could be bigger, but it is in a wonderful spot, and it will provide a great opportunity for people to slow down, reduce their stress and rejuvenate.”

Enhancing High Quality Care

While Mary is happy to leave the bulk of the gardening around the house to Dr. Kitchell, she shares the point of view that healthcare organizations should offer ample opportunities for patients, families, and staff to find peace. As a member of the Mary Greeley Medical Center Board of Trustees, she has played a meaningful role over more than two decades in ensuring the care delivered at the medical center accounts for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of patients. She says the Healing Garden is an important addition to the medical center campus.

“It is just very restorative to be outside, and that goes for patients, but also for families and staff,” Mary says. “The life-changing events that occur in any hospital can foster a range of intense emotions, both positive and negative, that can deplete us. It is important to have spaces that allow people to be able to decompress and move toward equilibrium. Our hope is that the Healing Garden provides a break on challenging days, that it provides an opportunity to get away and get refreshed.”

An Innovative Way to Give

The Kitchells were able to take advantage of a tax-friendly option in making their gift to the project. As they both reached the age where they are required to take a minimum distribution from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), they became aware of an option that would allow them to gift the distribution directly to a charitable cause, commonly called the IRA charitable rollover. They decided to provide the distribution to the Mary Greeley Foundation and designate the gift to the Healing Garden.

“By making this gift through our IRAs directly to the Mary Greeley Foundation, it reduces our tax burden for the year,” Dr. Kitchell says. “It turned out to be a great time to be able to take advantage of this option because we used it to support a project that resonated for both of us.”

“This is a win-win option – especially for those who are still working,” Mary says. “With some thoughtful tax planning, this can reduce tax liability, while making a significant impact for a charity you are passionate about.”

A Space to Decompress

Tax benefits or not, the Kitchells are delighted to play a role in establishing a place that promotes peace and is so easily accessible to patients, families, and staff.

“For me, this gift is all about establishing the garden that will help people get their minds off things and give them a little time to refresh,” Dr. Kitchell says. “Everyone can use a space like this.”

Mary agrees and says that as a member of the board, it is all about providing a meaningful experience.

“A big part of delivering quality care is providing consideration for experiences that enhance treatment,” Mary adds. “You can be the very best technically at what you do, but to truly impact patient outcomes, you must include opportunities to nurture the psychological aspect of the patient experience. We can’t always cure, but we can comfort, and we can help people through tough times.”

Learn more about making a gift from your IRA.

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MGMC Foundation
1111 Duff Ave.
Ames, IA 50010
515-239-2147
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