Twin Loves Bind Couple to Each Other and to City of Hope


Roberta (“Birdie”) and Bob Feldman share a deep commitment to friends and loved ones. This commitment — along with their mutual love of boating — has been central to their story, which spans more than three decades.

Born in New York and raised in Illinois, Birdie settled in California, where she met Bob, a native Angeleno who was living on a boat just below her apartment in Marina del Rey.

In the years since that first meeting, the two have nurtured their shared love of travel and boating. With Bob as the captain — he’s had his license for more than 35 years — the couple is never happier than when they are at sea. She has always been the “admiral.”

Here on land, the Feldmans have a strong network of friends and family, including loved ones who have battled life-threatening diseases. “A lot of our friends and neighbors have been affected by cancer,” says Birdie.

They learned about City of Hope after a mechanic who works on their boat was referred there. “He went to City of Hope when all other treatments had failed him,” Bob explains. “City of Hope literally turned his life around.”

Now that they are retired, the Feldmans are looking for ways to simplify their life and spend more time on the water — and less time tending to the investments they’ve made over the years. They decided to demonstrate their support for City of Hope, and the lifesaving research and care City of Hope provides, by making a gift of real estate: an apartment building they bought as an investment years ago.

“Forty years of being a landlord is enough,” says Bob. “Even though we have a management company, being a landlord is very demanding.”

And, says Birdie, “We want to be able to go on vacation without having to worry about the property … and spend more time on our boat than we are able to now.”

The Feldmans created a charitable trust, which enabled them to sell the property and avoid incurring capital gains taxes. They invested the proceeds of the sale and receive a 5.5% payout rate which will continue for both their lifetimes, after which, the remainder will become a gift to City of Hope.

“We’d been thinking about doing a charitable trust,” says Bob, “but both of us like to do things thoroughly and understand what we’re doing. We did our due diligence, then had our decision validated by our tax advisor.”

“We were looking for a way to do something with the property that might help other people,” adds Birdie.

They knew they’d picked the right organization when it came time to execute the gift. Every staff member they dealt with was incredibly helpful and accommodating.

“We were able to complete the transaction while we were on vacation on our boat,” says Birdie. “Whatever we needed, they provided and they provided it promptly,” adds Bob.

During the process of making their gift, Birdie and Bob were given a tour of City of Hope. “We met a lot of the doctors and visited the labs,” Bob says. “It deepened our understanding of the depth and breadth of their work.”

“City of Hope is making strides to reducing cancer deaths and the effects of treatment,” adds Birdie. “We believe they’re on the right track and are glad we can play a part in their success.”