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Gifts of Gratitude Will Help Sustain the Growth of Rensselaer

George Criss

For many students, college is just a stepping stone to the next stage in their lives, but for George W. Criss III (Bill) '68 and his wife, Judy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been a vital part of their lives for more than four decades. The Criss' legacy will help ensure that Rensselaer continues to be a significant force in the lives of future generations.

While earning degrees in aerospace and aeronautical engineering, Bill was very active on campus, playing football and lacrosse, serving as the president of the student union and enjoying fraternity life. Bill values the critical-thinking skills he gleaned from his rigorous education as well as the camaraderie among faculty, administration and students. "I loved every aspect of RPI," he says. "It shaped my whole life."

Bill's memorable moments at Rensselaer are too numerous to recount, but none were more momentous than meeting Judy, who was a nursing student at nearby Russell Sage. The two married soon after graduation and were "graced" with two children, Michelle and George William IV.

Bill's career in research and development with the Air Force took the family to many different homes throughout the next 20 years. But no matter where they lived, Bill and Judy always ran into and sought out other Rensselaer grads. When they finally settled in Virginia in the 1990s, Bill and Judy helped build up the Washington, D.C., alumni chapter, and they are still hosting and organizing alumni gatherings today. "Our family has many lifelong friends from Rensselaer," Judy notes.

While still awed by the campus's timeless charm, Bill and Judy have watched Rensselaer become a very progressive, diverse school where opportunities for students have grown tremendously. Recognizing the role that alumni support has played in this growth, the Crisses have donated to the Rensselaer Annual Fund for many years. "RPI has become what it is and can offer students what it does because of donors' giving," Judy says.

To ensure that Rensselaer continues to thrive, Bill and Judy have also included a legacy gift for Rensselaer in their estate plans. " RPI not only afforded a fantastic 5 years of academic, athletic and social excitement, it provided cherished life-long friendships for Judy and me – and the rigor of the thought processes imbedded afforded me a chance to contribute to our Nation's security in ways a lesser education could never provide.  For all of these, we are most grateful and wish, as best we can, to help others be so blessed."

If you make regular gifts to Rensselaer, we hope you will consider establishing your own permanent legacy at the Institute. You can do this now without affecting your budget or lifestyle by including a gift in your estate plans.

Request our free guide on the many ways you can create your legacy.

eBrochure Request Form

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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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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