July 7, 1973 - A special date for Gene and Kristen Stohs. Gene was on a two-week break after wrapping up his first year of medical school. The two married in Kristen’s hometown of Hastings. Gene joked about the timing of their nuptials.
“After one year of living by myself in medical school, I was ready for married life,” he laughed.
Earlier this year the couple began to discuss how to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Rather than hosting a party or taking a grand vacation, they decided to honor those who were a part of that special day with a donation in each one’s name to a nonprofit that is meaningful for them. From the wedding party to the guest book attendant, they started reaching out.
“We got in touch with everyone from our wedding,” said Kristen. “Even the minister, who is now retired in Iowa. So, we’ve had fun with this endeavor.”
Originally from Grand Island, Gene came to Lincoln to study chemistry at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). While at UNL, he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and starting pitcher and outfielder for the Husker baseball team for all four years.
He and Kristen met at a fraternity-sorority social, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Gene went on to receive his medical degree at University of Nebraska Medical Center, and he completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. When the opportunity arose to join a practice with Dr.’s Russell Gorthey and Palmer Johnson in Lincoln, Gene and Kristen were eager to put down roots.
“We both agreed that Lincoln would be an ideal community for us,” said Gene.
For Gene and Kristen, nonprofit board service was a catalyst for their philanthropy. Kristen is an active community volunteer, particularly within the senior community. In 2022, Kristen received the Keystone Award, reflecting her years of service with the Seniors Foundation, including a stint as president in 2007-2008. She also served as board president of the Friends of Lied from 2004 – 2005.
“The people in the nonprofit sector are so wonderful,” she said. “With board service, you find out how much our nonprofits give back to the city.”
Gene was Chief of Staff at Bryan Health from 2006-2007 and served on the Bryan Medical Center Board from 2004-2018.
“I met many business leaders during those years that expanded my outlook on the day to day lives of the people in Lincoln,” Gene reflected. “You don’t realize that even in a prosperous city like Lincoln, many are struggling.”
Now retired, Gene and Kristen enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and giving back to the city where they have lived since 1979. They are drawn to Lincoln Community Foundation’s Give to Lincoln Day every May.
“Every year we end up supporting more nonprofits because of Give to Lincoln Day,” said Kristen. “Looking through the list is wonderful, as it broadens our giving to nonprofits that are new to us.”
Gene and Kristen have opted to distribute a portion of their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for this year’s giving day, using what is called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).
The federal government requires you to withdraw and pay taxes on a portion of your IRA fund balance when you reach a certain age. However, by using a QCD, those funds may be distributed directly to charitable organizations without paying taxes on the amount transferred.
"We have participated every year and with LCF offering the option of supporting nonprofits through a QCD – it’s an easy route to go,” said Gene.
With their anniversary quickly approaching, the Stohses can enjoy their golden gift to the community, knowing that their contributions go further through the Give to Lincoln Day matching funds.
“We look forward to Give to Lincoln Day because it just makes us feel good,” said Kristen.
“With more than 450 nonprofits participating, just think about what that says,” Gene reflected. “There’s so much need but also so much opportunity to do good together.”
Participate in Give to Lincoln Day via IRA QCDs
When you reach a certain age, the federal government requires you to withdraw or distribute a portion of your IRA investment and consequently pay taxes on the amount withdrawn. By using a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) to support a qualified charity, those funds are transferred directly to that charitable organization, tax-free.
This year’s Give to Lincoln Day is Wednesday, May 24. Join Lincoln’s one big day of giving by using Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from your IRA to support your favorite registered nonprofits.
It is as easy as 1, 2, 3…
For more information and other examples of ways you can use a Qualified Charitable Distribution to achieve your charitable goals, contact Diane Mendenhall at 402-474-2345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.