Estate Gift: Our Way to Keep Giving

A story from Mary H. Smart, Brain Research Foundation Honorary Trustee

The hope of cures for brain-related illnesses has been of interest to my husband Brad and me for many reasons. Brad has a Ph.D. in psychology, and as a speech pathologist, I also worked with autistic and delayed language children. But our interest is also very personal as one of our siblings was treated for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia before ultimately committing suicide.

So, we have witnessed the complexity and mysteries of how the mind works and felt the sadness and despair of not always being able to help. Almost everyone we know has some family member or close friend who has suffered from neurologic disorders—Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, or other neurological challenges impacted by the BRF’s investment in research.

As a volunteer working with a mental health organization in the 1980s, I became aware of the Brain Research Foundation and Brad and I have been involved ever since. The mission of the Foundation to support cutting-edge neuroscience is important. But our ongoing financial support is due to BRF’s record of achievement—research which will lead to novel treatments for and prevention of neurological disorders. We are also impressed with the BRF’s educational programs for researchers and the general public. The fact that the Brain Research Foundation provides research funding to the best and brightest neuroscientists in greater Chicago, and now throughout the U.S., is unique and fantastic. We are excited to share this information with everyone in our lives. 

Meeting brilliant research grant recipients and learning of their accomplishments has been inspiring to us, and many times we’ve felt that the least we can do is leave part of our estate to the BRF. Our continuing financial support and planned giving gives us comfort that in a small way we might contribute to future breakthroughs.

“Almost everyone we know has some family member or close friend who has suffered from neurologic disorders.”

Other Stories

The Vandermel Family’s Story
By supporting the BRF Julia, Justine, and Kelly are able to honor their father’s memory and also honor other family members and friends affected by neurological disorders, including Kelly’s mother.
Matt Rahn’s Story
True innovation doesn’t come from thinking linearly, innovation comes from very smart, passionate people thinking creatively. I tell my friends, ad nausea, that the BRF is going after innovative ideas.
The Anderson Family’s Story
The opportunity to shed light on more than one brain disorder played a large part in our choosing the BRF. Everybody knows somebody who can benefit from future discoveries.
Andrew Swigart
My Passion for the Foundation
I am grateful for the BRF for the opportunity to help support the advancement of research that will one day prevent other families from experiencing the trauma that affected mine.