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For the Love of Children


Tom and Kathleen Elam

Tom and Kathleen Elam grew up during the Great Depression, and like most of their generation, it made a profound influence on them for the rest of their lives.

Married for more than 50 years, the Elams, of Union City, Tennessee, believed that education and good health care were key to influencing a positive outcome for all children and they spent the majority of their lives giving to causes and organizations in which they believed, among them the University of Tennessee and Le Bonheur Children's.

Tom died in 1998, one month shy of his 89th birthday, and Kathleen, 94, died just last year. Yet more than 15 years ago, the couple prepared their wills and established a significant bequest, making provisions for Le Bonheur as part of their commitment to the future well-being of all children. The Elams considered Le Bonheur to be among the best children's hospitals in the country and their planned gift reflected their belief in the importance of quality pediatric health care.

"Years ago Kathleen became aware of an ill child who had been denied treatment at an area hospital because of the family's inability to pay for care," recalls the Elams' niece Betty Smith. "When Kathleen learned that Le Bonheur had opened its doors to take care of this child when other hospitals wouldn't, she became a Le Bonheur donor."

Known throughout West Tennessee as Colonel Tom in recognition of his military rank in the United States Army in which he served during World War II, Elam attended the University of Tennessee and went on to law school at UT. He was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1934 and practiced in Union City for more than 60 years. He often referred to himself as a "country lawyer." He served on the UT Athletic Board for 43 years.

Kathleen Elam was an avid gardener, a member of the City Beautiful Commission in Union City and active in her church. She was also a major contributor to help build the Obion County Public Library. Kathleen and Tom met and married during the war and never had children of their own.

"Col. Tom was very much concerned about his fellow man," recalls Jack Parker, a longtime family friend and executor of both Tom's and Kathleen's estates. "Both of them were active in the community. Tom realized a lot of less fortunate young people would not get a college education without scholarships, so he established scholarships at UT and through the Rotary Club in Union City."

Smith adds: "They were very humble people who understood the importance of making a contribution and how their gifts influenced others to give."

In addition to their significant planned gift which will help future generations of children, Kathleen Elam also made generous annual gifts to Le Bonheur during her lifetime. She loved children and loved knowing that her gifts were making a difference in so many lives.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 850 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital where you agree to make a gift to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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