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Building a Future

Harvey Berg"I was the class artist, and at the age of 11, I stepped into a plane geometry class and fell in love," Harvey Berg, Class of 1954, says. "When you put those two together, you get architecture."

Unfortunately, Harvey's parents had other plans for his life and discouraged him from attending college, but a pivotal conversation during Harvey's senior year with a classmate known as Kiki changed everything.

"I was getting obsessed with the idea of being an architect, and needed advice," Harvey says. "I spoke with Kiki, and she inspired me to follow my dreams. After a conversation with her, I began to fill out college applications."

Shortly before his high school graduation, Harvey discovered that he had not only been accepted to three colleges, but was also offered a full scholarship at Rensselaer. He wanted to thank Kiki at graduation, but she wasn't there.

Harvey went on to earn a degree in architecture from Rensselaer that set him up for a successful career, which includes owning his own firm.

"A degree in architecture qualifies you for licensure, gives you the technical knowledge, and the ideals and principles about design and dedication," Harvey says.

Forty-three years after his high school graduation, Harvey discovered how he could get back in touch with Kiki after she was made the page one headline in The New York Times for her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Harvey later reached out to finally thank Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—nicknamed Kiki as a child—for her encouragement to get the education that prepared him for a wonderful life.

"My life was changed by Rensselaer and the good advice of a now famous high school classmate," Harvey says.

In gratitude, Harvey has planned a gift to the Institute through his estate so that others could enjoy the benefits of a Rensselaer education.

You Can Help
By planning a gift through your estate, you too can partner with Rensselaer in making a better future. Your gift will help provide a Rensselaer education to future generations who will "apply science to the common purposes of life."

Contact Art Tracy '92 MS at 518-276-2561 or to learn more.

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.