Fueling health and hope

Alan Selby and Sandra Martensen

Alan Selby and Sandra Martensen

Alan Selby and Sandra Martensen

Alan Selby and his wife Sandra Martensen knew they had a very special classic car: a 1956 Aston Martin DB 3/S. But even they were surprised when a collector offered them a large sum of money for it.

Now, the Bay-area couple had to decide what to do with their windfall. A charitable gift annuity was the perfect vehicle: It will provide fixed payments at good rates for Alan and Sandra's lifetime. "We could make the donation and count on the income in case of an emergency," says Alan.

When Alan and Sandra bought the two-seater race car, they knew only 31 of that particular model were built. Alan worked on the car for close to 25 years, cleaning or replacing every part. It was an enjoyable hobby, but he never expected to receive many, many times what he had originally paid for the car.

The couple was retired from productive careers—Alan had been a researcher at the Stanford Research Institute and Sandra a technical writer—and philanthropy had always been a part of their lives. "We don't have children and always intended to give our estate to charity," Alan says. "We were glad to be able to find good causes we could also use as a tax advantage."

When looking for relief charities, the 2010 Haiti earthquake was on top of their minds for the couple: Their niece was working in Haiti at the time of the disaster and survived only when a desk sheltered her from falling debris.

"We saw that Americares was working in Haiti, was very efficient and offered charitable gift annuities so we established one," says Sandra. Now their race car is fueling health and hope around the world!

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