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Applying Science to the Common Purposes of Life

Reuben ZielinskiFor more than two decades, Reuben Zielinski '89, has been making a safe, solid living. For the past five years, he's served as senior director at Sanofi, managing 40 contracted pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But that's just his day job.

"I'm always working on something on the side," says Zielinski, who earned a master's in engineering science from Rensselaer.

For example, there was the Trailer-Tracker, an invention that automated the rearview mirror when backing up a trailer. There was the GearDry, a computer-controlled sports-equipment dryer.

His latest idea was borne out of an everyday headache prompted when his neighbor's wife put her cell phone (which was tucked in her jeans pocket) through the spin cycle of her washing machine.

"All her pictures of her kids were in that phone," Zielinski explains. So, he and his neighbor invented a gizmo for drying it out.

As is often the case, one idea led to another.

"When my kids and neighbors got wind that we were drying phones, we had a lot of phones left with us," he says, laughing. "So we created a little meter that measures the humidity inside the phone."

Bingo: Not one, but two inventions that electronics companies—and related investors—would covet. As Zielinski himself puts it, "I'm a pretty innovative guy."

An inventive mind is both scientific and creative, attributes that have always described Zielinski. But he credits his time at Rensselaer with giving him the confidence and know-how to bring his many ideas to fruition.

"It was a great theoretical university, but also very practical and hands-on," he recalls. "The fundamentals I learned there come back to me daily. I use every little bit of my education."

That's why Zielinski has chosen to make Rensselaer a beneficiary of his individual retirement account, in addition to his ongoing support of the annual campaigns.

"That's because my biggest lever right now is my IRA," he says. "I can give $150 or $200 a year [in outright donations], but [that's not a] big deal. Through my IRA, I can give a far more substantial amount in the future, but I don't feel it in the meantime."

It's a creative, forward-thinking, innovative way to give—much like Zielinski himself.

You can help educate future generations of Rensselaer graduates to "apply science to the common purposes of life" by making Rensselaer a beneficiary of your retirement plan. Please contact Arthur T. Tracy at tracya@rpi.edu or 518-276-2561 or visit www.alumni.rpi.edu/giftplan to learn more.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180-3590, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Rensselaer or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Rensselaer as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Rensselaer as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Rensselaer where you agree to make a gift to Rensselaer and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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