IRA Charitable Rollover is Back

Individuals 70 1/2 and older may once again donate up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRA) directly to charitable nonprofits, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH) was signed by the president Dec. 18.

The summary from the US Senate Finance Committee:

Section 112. Extension of tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes. The provision permanently extends the ability of individuals at least 70½ years of age to exclude from gross income qualified charitable distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The exclusion may not exceed $100,000 per taxpayer in any tax year.


The donation is tax-free, but must be made from an IRA, according to Nathan Stetler, Vice President of Business Development, The Stetler Company. The donor must also not receive goods or services in return for the rollover gift in order to qualify for tax-free treatment.

Reinstating the rollover benefits Americans nationwide, according to the National Council of Nonprofits. It’s an invaluable avenue for funding social, religious, artistic and academic programs.

SUNY Downstate alumni donate thousands annually to help Downstate med students pay for their education, travel to conferences, gain hands-on experience in Brooklyn and around the globe, among other programs.

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Arts and Science: The Brooklyn Stories journal

Elizaveta photo

Elizaveta Efuni is a SUNY Downstate third-year medical student, with plans to go into internal medicine and a special interest in neurology. She’s also an artist, poet and president of Brooklyn Stories, an annual collection of visual art and writing by the Downstate community.

Downstate medical alumni donated $6,000 this year to give students and staff the creative avenue for expression. Submissions are accepted from students, faculty and staff until Dec. 30, and published in April or May.

The arts and sciences dovetail naturally, Elizaveta said.

“Many physicians are also writers because they see so much life and death,” Elizaveta said, noting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Anton Chekhov, two famed doctor-authors.

People tell doctors their stories, she said. Doctors are eyewitnesses to life and death, and art offers an opportunity to respond, reflect and learn. Literature is full of psychology, history and philosophy. Paintings and visual art offer glimpses into how a disease or injury affected daily life – and how disease was perceived – throughout history.

A love of medicine and painting, writing and poetry inspired Elizaveta to volunteer with the journal three years ago. Now, in addition to her medical education, she’s responsible for club promotion, funding and operation. She oversees editing, design and distribution involving 40 Downstate volunteers.

“Art is a wonderful outlet for reflection,” Elizaveta said.

For more information, write

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Downstate Alumni: Supporting a Legacy of Scholarship and Research


A #GivingTuesday look at programs supported by SUNY Downstate medical alumni, and their effect on the lives of medical students.

Alumni donations cover eight weeks of full-time research for Downstate students in the summer between their first and second years. Another alumni-funded program supports an MD/PhD summer research program, and another a $28,000, full-year research scholarship.

Sun Mei Lui was the 2015-2016 full-year recipient. Her research encompassed, “Targeting complementing C3 to inhibit heart ischemia/reperfusion injury.”

“The Downstate Alumni Research Scholarship allowed me to not only explore a cutting edge field of research, but also to apply the medical knowledge I have to a practical setting to solve a real life problem in medicine, outside the context of a textbook,” Sun Mei Lui said.

The alumni scholarships align with Downstate’s past and future – from research to discovery, tightening ties with the Brooklyn community, New York affiliates and the world.

Eli Friedman, MD, Downstate ’57, famously established the first federally funded dialysis program in 1964, and invented the portable dialysis machine in 1973.  Raymond Damadian, MD, produced the first human images using magnetic resonance imaging with a machine he built at Downstate in 1977.

In the 1880s, Brooklyn’s sole medical college supported George Sternberg, MD, the first immunologist to demonstrate the bacillus of typhoid fever.

The tradition will continue, said Carlos N. Pato, MD, PhD, Dean of the College of Medicine, in a recent address to school leaders. “From basic research to our patients, and their families’ lives.”

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