Skip to content

A Novel Gift From an Endodontic Innovator

Dr. Noah Chivian contributes the Foundation's first charitable gift annuity

Dr. Noah Chivian among other AAE Past Presidents at AAE19.

For Dr. Noah Chivian of West Orange, NJ, a former Foundation and AAE president, giving to the Foundation for Endodontics is a matter of “making sure endodontics continues to be recognized as an important specialty.”  As a volunteer leader, he was instrumental in establishing the Foundation’s Educator Fellowships.

At 87 and still teaching post-doctoral residents part-time at Rutgers, Dr. Chivian has extended his support for the specialty by funding a charitable gift annuity, the first donation of its kind for the Foundation. With a gift of $25,000 or more to join the Jacob B. Freedland Society, the easily arranged annuity contracts provide fixed lifetime income for one or two beneficiaries while leaving a sizeable residual to benefit the charity of choice.  They can be funded with cash, securities, or most any non-cash asset, thanks to the Foundations new partnership with the National Gift Annuity Foundation.  

Dr Chivian’s annuity to benefit the Foundation is his third such gift, following similar donations to his alma mater University of Pennsylvania, and RWJBarnabas Health, where his family has named the Chivian Dental Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in honor of Noah Chivian and his father, the late Jacob Chivian, D.D.S.   

Click to learn more about how you can benefit from a charitable gift annuity. 

The Foundation's Major Gifts Manager, Gary Rejebian, spoke with Dr. Chivian about his giving: 

What was the impetus for your commitment to philanthropy and involvement in organized dentistry? 

My father was a dentist… I grew up with a home office on a residential street in Newark. In our two blocks, whatever medical or dental problem you had, we probably had a specialist for that.  I remember my father getting involved early on with the Community Chest, and a number of causes in the Jewish community…. he emphasized the importance of participating not only with your money but volunteering also… 

Why do you think it’s important to invest in the work of the Foundation? 

There was a time when we didn’t have a lot of people taking the boards.  There was some question if endodontics would be re-certified as a specialty … A stand-up moment of importance for the Foundation was that we wanted pre-doc students to be taught endodontics by endodontists.  I recall when we decided: 40 years ago, I was coming in as president of AAE, and my colleague Dr. Harmon Katz was very active in AAE. He was our representative to the [ADA] Inter Specialty Council.  Dr Katz mentioned that the oral surgeons had set up a program to underwrite residents who then go into teaching and suggested that we do the same…to persuade specialists to teach a firm foundation and the principles of endodontics in dental schools.   

Early on, members may not have seen the reason for the Foundation, but it was to preserve and protect the specialty.  When it came to supporting educators, the Foundation really took off.   

What challenges do you see for the new endodontists you’re training? 

If in five years, you’re still doing things the same way, you’re going to be behind the times.  Technology and research are ever-evolving and you must continue to keep up.  Tomorrow I’ll be at school as the mentor in charge of three-hour literature review session on oral-facial pain.  I’ve read and underlined every one of the 25 articles.  I tell the grad students that I’ve done more hardcore reading and study in the last nine years than I did in the 25 before.  I kept up on technique and all the aspects of endodontics that I continue to lecture on, but to go back to basics is something I enjoy.   

Being in practice and keeping up is extremely difficult.  You have to dedicate yourself.  The education we’re providing to our graduate students continues to evolve and grow with new techniques and new ideas. 

Why do you favor charitable gift annuities as a donation vehicle? 

These gifts work well for my retirement portfolio. They give me the opportunity to give to a project and get a small amount of return.  You get a tax write-off, and a return on the money--a portion of which is tax-free.  And because I made the gift with securities, you’re avoiding capital gains as well.   

What do you remember most fondly about your volunteer involvement in AAE? 

As the president of AAE, I was very interested in a specific area of trauma, the avulsed tooth.  We began developing the routine for how you handle this specific area of trauma.  Equally important, the lifelong friendships that I continue to have.  I relish the time we had together and continue to have…