Skip to Content

Building a Foundation

Dorothy Underwood

Dorothy Underwood

Donor's Generosity Opens Doors to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

When searching for a college in the northeast that offered an accredited program in architecture, Dorothy Underwood was surprised when the campus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the "big city" of Troy reminded her of her small rural hometown of Otego in upstate New York. Thanks to the generosity of donors who endowed scholarships, Dorothy was able to join the Rensselaer community, where she feels right at home.

After graduating from Rensselaer's five-year Bachelor of Architecture program in 2014, Dorothy plans to pursue a career in sustainable design. She credits Rensselaer with providing her with the foundation necessary to acquire a job with a top architectural firm. "Going to RPI opens doors [for graduates]," she says, "because its reputation is well-known."

While at Rensselaer, Dorothy has taken advantage of the wide array of opportunities available to her: studio courses that provide practice solving real-life design problems; a semester abroad to study architecture in Italy; and participation in the EcoEd Research Group, through which she provides environmental sustainability workshops for children in the community.

Dorothy recognizes that the remarkable experiences she's had at Rensselaer would not have been possible without people like Mildred and Donald Edwards '26. A gift through their will in 1992 created a permanent scholarship fund at Rensselaer that supports students who demonstrate financial need, academic excellence and other criteria the Institute deems of value.

Dorothy is grateful to have been selected as a beneficiary of the Edwards Scholarship.

"If I could speak with them, I would tell them how fantastic RPI is and thank them for making it possible for me to go here," she says.

To show her gratitude for donors like the Edwards, Dorothy attends the annual Celebration of Support at Rensselaer so that donors can meet scholarship recipients and see the impact of their giving. "It's important for me to go because I wouldn't be here without the support of people like them, so I want to thank them," Dorothy says. "My life would be totally different without them."

Since 1824, Rensselaer has educated students in applying science to the common purposes of life. We invite you to partner with us in this noble endeavor by making a gift through your will. Your gift, regardless of the amount, will strengthen the Rensselaer endowment and benefit future generations of students.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.