As a lifetime asthmatic who has been a patient at National Jewish Health, Roger Gibson gives to the nation’s leading respiratory hospital because he recognizes how important the institution is to those living with lung, heart and immune-related diseases.
“The fact that they’re focused on respiratory problems has been significant for me personally, and I also think it’s been very significant for the community,” said Roger, a retired United Airlines executive who, in addition to being a former patient, has served on the National Jewish Health Board of Directors since 1996. “I think it’s a great institution. I continue to donate to them, because I think they are among the most worthy organizations that you can support.”
Roger was introduced to National Jewish Health in the early 1990s when his pulmonologist moved to the institution from another Denver medical center. He said National Jewish Health doctors understand asthma and its origins, and they helped educate him about how to maintain control of his condition.
United Airlines CEO Gerald Greenwald’s involvement and commitment to National Jewish Health inspired Roger to join the board of directors. At the time, Roger was vice president of United’s Mountain Region, which oversaw operations for numerous airports across the Western United States and Canada.
“I enjoy the mission of National Jewish Health, and I did a lot to try to support them,” explained Roger, who went on to become vice president and chief operating officer of United’s worldwide cargo unit before retiring in 2004.
Thanks to Roger’s leadership, United was among the sponsors for the annual Beaux Arts Ball, the largest Denver fundraising event benefiting National Jewish Health. He also continues to give from a personal perspective.
“I’ve always felt that we have an obligation,” Roger said. “Whether we’re corporations or individuals; it doesn’t matter where we come from. To the extent that we can, we have a human need to give back to our communities.”
Roger gives annual gifts to National Jewish Health from the required minimum distributions from his IRA. He and his lovely wife Patrice, who passed away in 2019, also agreed to name National Jewish Health as a beneficiary in their will. Supporting the hospital through multiple avenues is known as “blended giving.” Roger helps fund the hospital’s current work through his IRA giving, while the legacy gifts from him and Patrice will finance future research and care.
“My wife was equally engaged with me at National Jewish Health,” Roger proudly proclaimed, noting Patrice, who was head of the United Airlines Flight Training Center in Denver for several years, was also a patient for a brief time at the hospital. “She participated in a number of events and board retreats, and she was very mindful of how important the institution is.”
Roger, who continues to have his asthma under control, encourages others with the means to give to National Jewish Health through their IRAs and by leaving a legacy gift from their estate. While donors can reduce their tax burden by giving this way, Roger believes the real reward is in helping others benefit from innovative research and receive the quality care the hospital has provided since opening in 1899.
“The reason they’ve been around as long as they have is because people have been willing to step up and contribute the resources they need to move forward,” Roger said. “And people will continue to support them because of the fine work they do."
"I think it’s a great institution, and I continue to donate to them because I think they are among the most worthy organizations that you can support."
— Roger Gibson
For more information about how you can support National Jewish Health, please contact Gordon P. Smith, MBA, CFRE, at 1.800.423.8891, Ext. 6549, or Smithg@njhealth.org.
After all, there are no greater gifts than life and good health.