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Abraham Verghese at the Founding Grant Society Luncheon

Abraham Verghese, the noted Stanford physician and author of best-selling books Cutting for Stone and My Own Country, talks about medicine in a technological age at the Founding Grant Society Luncheon in 2016.

A Community that Gives Back

When Doug Brown, '59, MBA '61, joined the Founding Grant Society, he became a part of a welcoming community of alumni and friends who share a love for Stanford.

As chairman of the Founding Grant Society board for the last 15 years, he has watched the community grow to 3,478 members, with 149 people joining just in this past year.

Brown explains what it means to be part of the Founding Grant Society.

What is the Founding Grant Society?

The Founding Grant Society is a community of extraordinary people who are making future gifts to Stanford through bequests, charitable remainder trusts, and other life income gifts. There are no dues to join, and as a member you are invited to special events. The university publicly recognizes Founding Grant Society members who have expressly given permission to list their names. Of course, you can also choose to remain anonymous, if you prefer.

Why be a part of the Founding Grant Society?

Members of the Founding Grant Society are the most wonderful and supportive group of individuals. They all love Stanford—they care so much. The event is always popular and each year there is a feeling of great enthusiasm at our gatherings. For me, Stanford has been an important part of my life since I attended as an undergraduate student and later to earn my MBA. I’ve stayed involved throughout the years, attending and helping to organize reunion events and being a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees. In the Graduate School of Business, I support students through a fellowship in honor of my late brother, Ken. Making a planned gift is another way that I can provide lasting support for Stanford. It is wonderful to know that my gift will help the university for many years in the future.

Doug Brown

"What inspires me the most is the good that comes from gifts to Stanford, and the university's commitment to educating future leaders, making a difference in people's lives, and benefiting humanity and the world."

—Doug Brown, '59, MBA '61

What happens at the Founding Grant Society events?

Members are invited to luncheons or special events that feature talks by Stanford professors. In April, we heard from Frank Longo, the George E. and Lucy Becker Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, and Sigrid Close, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics.

In the past, we’ve heard from other notable faculty such as Abraham Verghese, the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor of Medicine. We've enjoyed fascinating presentations from professors from all over campus covering everything from Stanford athletics to stem cell research. There have also been performances by student musical groups and the incredible St. Lawrence String Quartet. It's a terrific way to connect with friends old and new.

How does the Founding Grant Society honor the original mission of Jane and Leland Stanford?

We have a philosophical tie to the original founding grant. The university was founded as a memorial gift from the Stanford family honoring their son, Leland. The idea that we're perpetuating their founding grant and keeping alive the Stanfords' legacy is a powerful part of being a member of the Founding Grant Society.

Why make a planned gift to Stanford?

People may ask, does Stanford really need my contribution? My answer is yes, because at Stanford, you know every dollar will support students and programs of excellence, programs that are innovative and pathbreaking. What inspires me the most is the good that comes from gifts to Stanford, and the university's commitment to educating future leaders, making a difference in people's lives, and benefiting humanity and the world. Of course, it also can be a wonderful financial arrangement for many people. You can make sure to take care of yourself during your life and know that you’re also taking care of Stanford in the future.

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