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Giving to Rensselaer's Endowment Fund Has a Lasting Impact

Stephen Goodman

Stephen Goodman with his wife, Hope.

Stephen Leonard Goodman, who earned his bachelor's degree in economics, paid his first visit to Rensselaer's campus last year since graduating in 1977 as part of a Renaissance Weekend. "I was really impressed," Stephen says, "with what is going on on campus.

"This was the first time I had been back in almost 30 years and there was so much excitement and activity—so many changes. Rensselaer has moved to the forefront in many areas and all of this seems to have flowed down from President (Shirley Ann) Jackson," Stephen says.

"There is a dynamism that wasn't present in my day."

Stephen is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Tighe Patton Armstrong Teasdale. He says he has always appreciated Rensselaer's excellent academics and notes that both the technical and economic understanding he received at Rensselaer have served him well as a specialist in telecommunications law.

The quality of his education, combined with his appreciation for Rensselaer's ongoing progress, inspired Stephen and his wife, Hope I. Dobrow, to leave 15% of their estate to an unrestricted endowment at Rensselaer.

"We don't have kids, so we asked ourselves what are the significant institutions that have affected our lives," Stephen says. "Rensselaer is one."

Gifts to the endowment are a great way for donors to make an impact in perpetuity, as these gifts are invested and only a portion of the accrued income is used. The endowment is literally the foundation for all that the university can do, providing an enduring source of funds to support faculty, maintain facilities and programs, and, most important, to provide scholarships and financial aid to students who cannot meet all of the costs of their education.

"A bequest is an easy way to make a contribution," Stephen says. "It is an easy way to give back to Rensselaer."

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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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