Marilyn and Gerald Fishbone: A Lifetime of Generosity and Service


Marilyn and Gerald Fishbone know first-hand how incredible research changes the lives of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). For more than 50 years, they have been pillars in the T1D community dedicating their lives to helping advance innovative research.

Marilyn remembers the day their 18-month-old son, Scott, was diagnosed. It was 1969. “I had never heard of diabetes. No one in our family, before Scott, had diabetes,” says Marilyn. She and Gerald became deeply involved with JDRF. Marilyn founded the New Haven Chapter, and Gerald was Chairman of JDRF’s International Board of Directors in the 80s. Gerald recently retired after serving for 42 years on JDRF’s Research Committee.

“We believe in being involved and giving back,” says Marilyn. “Our kids joke that they never ate on a clean dining table because it was always covered in JDRF fundraising envelopes. Most of the time, it was. We worked extremely hard and committed ourselves as a family to giving our time and energy to JDRF and to inspiring others to join us.”

In 2001, the Fishbones then 5-year-old grandson, Harris Wallack, was diagnosed with T1D. “His diagnosis, while still devastating, was so different. The technology available to make it safer and easier to manage T1D was drastically improved from when Scott was diagnosed,” explains Marilyn. “That is all thanks to the strategic leadership of JDRF.”

Marilyn and Gerald named JDRF as a beneficiary of their IRA to provide a generous contribution at the end of their lifetimes. While reviewing an account statement, Marilyn realized they had the means to use their IRA to support JDRF now. The Fishbones decided to take maximum advantage of a provision that allows people ages 70.5 and older to make a tax-efficient charitable contribution directly from their IRAs.

“We see how exciting the research progress is today and we want to make sure that it continues so people can benefit from advances as soon as possible,” says Marilyn. “When I realized that we are fortunate to be able to afford to contribute more now, we decided to put those dollars to work today and not to wait. We hope you will join us in doing the same so that we can continue to drive the research forward towards a world without T1D.”

Learn more about donating through your IRA with a qualified charitable distribution.