"Gratitude" Prompts Generous Gift
William "Bill" Poland is a thankful man. He's been happily married for almost 60 years. His three adult children and his grandchildren are doing well. And, he had a successful career in the computer industry.
Bill and his wife, Ethel, both U.S. Naval Intelligence veterans, met in the Navy during World War II. At war's end, he attended Rensselaer on the GI Bill, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.
After earning his master's degree, Bill entered the fledgling computer industry. In those days, a computer filled an entire room. By the time he retired in 1985 as a vice president at Control Data, personal computers were on the scene.
Bill credits his business success to the "solid foundation" he received at Rensselaer. He and Ethel have made modest gifts to the Rensselaer Annual Fund for many years.
In 2003, the Polands created a charitable remainder trust, funding it with highly appreciated land appraised at several hundred thousand dollars. The trust allows the Polands to make this gift without incurring substantial capital gains and at the same time experiencing tax reductions as a result of the gift. Acting as initial trustee, Bill was able to sell the land, saving money for the trust. After the sale, Rensselaer agreed to assume the duties of trustee.
The Polands created a reliable source of income from their land and have earmarked the remainder of the trust for an endowed scholarship fund in their name. "The timing was finally right," said Bill, who first contacted Rensselaer about charitable remainder trusts back in 1991.
"I have a lot of gratitude for what I got out of going to RPI," he continued. "I had the GI Bill and a Rensselaerwyck home, but a lot of young people don't have those advantages now. It's our turn to help students in financial need."