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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

A story for the season: Dr. Bilka's final gift

Dr. Bilka

Paul Bilka, MD, in the spring of 2013

To learn more about planned and legacy gifts, contact Rich Meyer by email or at 612-863-4005

Near the end of his life, Paul Bilka, MD, made decisions that will have a lasting impact on Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

"He looked at what was important to him, and that drove his decisions," said Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation President Rich Meyer.

A few years ago, Bilka established several Charitable Gift Annuities that demonstrated his passion for education and his gratitude for the care he had received through Abbott Northwestern's Medicine Clinic.

Yet, he was motivated to do more. Working with his lawyer, he executed a revision to his revocable trust that would gift his Lake Minnetonka home to the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation for the benefit of Abbott Northwestern Hospital and its Medical Education Department.

Then, just five days before he died, he made a surprising announcement. He wanted to make an additional cash gift to the hospital and presented a check for $1 million to Meyer.

While overwhelmed by Dr. Bilka's generosity, Meyer was especially moved by his lesson in giving. "I think Dr. Bilka's lesson is to not leave your legacy to default, but to be purposeful and passionate about your giving," said Meyer. "This is something that almost every one of us is capable of doing in some way."