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Miracle Maker Spotlight: T. Michael Ford

Miracle Maker Spotlight: T. Michael Ford

Long-time COTA Board Member

For more than two decades T. Michael Ford has served on the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) Board of Directors and its President's Advisory Council. During that time he has served as Treasurer, Chair and Vice Chair and has participated in various committees. Michael embodies the title of Miracle Maker.

Michael was recruited to serve on COTA's Board of Directors by then COTA Board Chair, George Taliaferro. Michael was impressed by the passion that George expressed for the mission of COTA and very much appreciated being invited to learn more about the organization and its nationwide outreach to assist transplant families in crisis.

"It was some time ago when George approached me, but I do remember having some knowledge about COTA -- and the little bit I knew made me want to learn more," Michael said. "I have always been drawn to helping organizations that are of service, and value, to families with young children. I have been very blessed that my children have always been healthy. An organization's mission is critical to me, in terms of volunteering and contributing financially. My credo is if I can help somebody, then my living shall not have been in vain. COTA was an outlet for me to help others and not just focus my time and talents on my family. COTA has been an organization that I felt needed, and drew upon, the professional skills I possess. COTA keeps its mission at the center of every decision it makes."

Two decades is a long time for an individual to stay committed to an organization's mission, to support it financially and to serve in a leadership role or on its Board of Directors. This level of commitment speaks directly to Michael's character. One reason for Michael's long tenure of assisting transplant families nationwide is that he has been repeatedly touched by meeting with COTA families and hearing their stories … their unique journeys … their individual needs … their recurring gratitude … their consistent confirmation that COTA is a lifeline of hope and assistance. He was hooked many years ago, but his passion for the organization's work continually intensified each time he had a chance to hear a COTA family's unique story.

"I cannot point to an individual COTA family that specifically touched my heart because there have been so many over the years," Michael explained. "Each meeting I attended where a COTA family would expound upon exactly how COTA helped, whether it was lodging at transplant, transportation assistance to get to appointments, monthly prescription medications bills, transplant housing so they could be close to their critically ill children, and the myriad of ways COTA assists transplant families, touched me deeply. Those real-life stories strengthened my resolve to see how else I could use my skills and contacts to help." He has been instrumental in recruiting a number of members to the COTA Board to support and diversify the organization.

Through the years of his service to COTA, Michael has appreciated the dedication and commitment of its staff – which is very important to this professional who works in academia financial management. "COTA staff members are outstanding people who do God's work," Michael said. "COTA's team of professionals individualize their approach to working with each COTA family; they truly meet them where they are in their journey. Many staff members have had to talk a parent down from a precipice. It is not just about helping with COTA families' transplant-related expenses, it is about making sure the families are holistically OK or at least hanging in there as they traverse the transplant journey of their loved one. COTA staff members impact lives every single day."

Michael's commitment has also been rooted in diversity and ethnicity. African American families face specific challenges with various genetic diseases. According to Michael, his extended family has had to face these types of challenges as well. "Another reason I have been involved with COTA for all of these years is the organization's commitment to raise awareness about the need for everyone to become registered organ and tissue donors. This is especially important for African Americans and I am proud to support an organization that is cognizant of and is raising this life-saving awareness within specific ethnic communities."

"At the end of the day, we are all human, we are all one," Michael said.

Michael has made a generous provision in his estate plan to help COTA families well into the future. When asked why he made this decision, Michael said. "I believe you have to walk the talk. I think we all need to give of our treasures as we are able, especially to an organization like COTA because the children indeed are our future. Also when you take the time to learn exactly what COTA does and how it does it, this decision is a no-brainer for me and hopefully will be for so many others."

Michael has three adult children, Mudiwa, Noni and Gyasi -- who was a COTA Intern working with the organization's information technology staff while in college. Michael's decades of service and commitment to COTA's mission has been instrumental in growing the 501(c)3 charity and moving it forward. His guidance and expertise have been an administrative lifeline; his commitment to COTA kids and families has been inspirational.

If you would like information about how to make an estate gift to further COTA's mission like Michael has, please contact Rick Lofgren, COTA's President, at [email protected] or call him at 800.366.2682.

Planned Gifts: Gifts That Generate Income for You

Planned Gifts
A planned gift is a gift that you establish today with benefits coming at some point later. There are several different ways for you to make a planned gift to help the children and young adults we serve at the Children's Organ Transplant Association.

Charitable Bequests
Next to writing a check, perhaps the best known vehicle for philanthropy is the bequest. A bequest is a gift that is made through your will or trust and can establish your wishes today without relinquishing needed assets during your lifetime.

For more information on bequest giving options or to request our FREE Guide to Planning Your Will, please contact us. We can also refer you to a qualified estate planning attorney if you are looking for someone to draft your plan.

Charitable Remainder Trust
The most versatile charitable giving tool, the charitable remainder trust (CRT), can help you avoid capital gains tax on the sale of your appreciated assets, generate regular increased income, provide you with a charitable income tax deduction and fulfill your philanthropic objectives.

Your CRT will be invested to produce income and take advantage of investment growth opportunities.

To consider various planned gift opportunities that support transplant kids and their families, please contact Rick Lofgren, COTA President, at 800.366.2682 or [email protected].

Find helpful wills and estate planning information on COTA's website: