A Passion for the Arts, a Passion for Service

<p>Read how Robb and Mary Jane Swaney were able to make a huge impact on the lives of children with and without developmental disabilities</p>

Through her support of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's art program, Mary Jane Swaney is sharing her passion for art with people with disabilities of all ages.

Mary Jane Swaney has a special appreciation for the old saying, “To give is to receive.” Mary Jane’s late husband Robb, an architect and committed philanthropist, was instrumental in the design and construction of a special playground for Vanderbilt’s Susan Gray School. Inspired in the wake of tragedy, Robb took to his life’s passion to make a difference in the lives of young children with and without disabilities. Dedicating his time, energy and resources, Robb oversaw every aspect of this special project, even as he was coping with his own devastating illness. Although he passed away before the playground’s dedication, he was able to see children at play there during the final weeks of his life, the greatest thanks he could receive.

Mary Jane, a talented artist, also recognized the importance of utilizing her passion in her efforts to give back. Over the years, she has given thousands of dollars to support art workshops at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, nurturing budding artists with developmental disabilities. Her support has opened doors for our workshop participants and allowed her to share her own personal passion and talent for art. As Mary Jane says, “The reason I continue to give is because I have experienced these workshops and it is such a joy to see the participants respond and just blossom. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing to see.”

In addition to these generous gifts, Mary Jane recently established a charitable gift annuity to benefit the growing arts program at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Not only does the annuity offer tax benefits, it also provides guaranteed income for life in the form of quarterly payments. All while allowing Mary Jane to support a program that is near and dear to her heart.

To learn more about opportunities to support the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s arts program, please contact Jan Rosemergy at jan.rosemergy@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 322-8238.

Last Updated: 10/1/2009 2:41:15 PM

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